Grand Lake, Hunter S. Thompson and Other Happenings That Have Moved Me to Tears

So much happens in a month. Especially after being gone 75 percent of January. I traveled. A lot. Now I’m back. Does anybody want to go snowshoeing with me?

Upon my many adventures, aside from my spree in Vegas with Marcus the Intern, I had the pleasure of visiting Grand Lake, Colo., for the first time. Such a lovely small-town, delicately placed in a small nook just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park.

The day was gorgeous. Perfect for snowshoeing. As I discovered more about the festival, this was a “first” for Grand Lake. The concept (snowshoeing) of attracting more people to its small town essence was brilliant. The snowshoe festival included a weekend’s worth of races, full-moon snowshoe touring, backcountry tours, obstacle courses, kids snowshoe games, an old-fashioned parade, free chili and beer, snowshoe presentations given by Tom Sobal (guru to the sport), free live music, and much more.

My wife and I arrived in Grand Lake somewhat late for the festivities. According to the townspeople, we were just in time for some good fun among Grand Lakers and those in town for the festival. Once I was allowed to hang my Snowshoe Magazine banner – in all its glory – we parked ourselves behind a booth desk in the town hall. As we watched attendees of the festival pass by with bowls of chili and cups of beer, we met everybody in the township.

Grand Lake is one of the friendliest places in this country.

After a day of watching obstacle course racing and kids lumbering around bales of hay, we said goodbye to Grand Lake and we would be back for the 2nd Annual Grand Lake Snowshoe Festival. Visit http://www.grandlakesnowshoefestival.com for more information.

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The Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series held its third race on Feb. 12. Of course, we would like to congratulate Katie Klehr – Snowshoe Magazine’s very own – for placing 22nd in the women’s 5K race and 6th in her age group. Way to go Katie!

And, winners all the same, Snowshoe Magazine would like to congratulate Pedal Power’s Josiah Middaugh of Vail who brought home his third win in the four-event series, followed closely by Atlas and Bikesource’s Greg Krause of Denver.

In the women’s 10K, Atlas’ Lindsay Krause of Denver nabbed her second win of the series. Atlas teammate Katie Mazzia of Eagle claimed second place, while Kelly Smith of Eagle took third.

And, the 8th Annual Hawley Kiln Klassic on Feb. 19 in Hawley, Mass., brought in the masses on behalf of the Western Mass Athletic Club. Snowshoe Magazine would like to congratulate the winners of the 4.5-Mile “Notch” Snowshoe Race: 1) Richard Bolt, 2) Paul Low, 3)Leigh Schmitt, 4) Ben Nephew, and 5) Elijah Barrett.

Stay tuned to Snowshoemag.com for coverage of the 2004 Nike ACG United States National Snowshoe Championships in Anchorage, Alaska; the Jeremy Wright North American Snowshoe Championships in Beaver Creek, Colo.; the Wild Hare Snowshoe Race and Trek at Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Fraser, Colo.; and many other snowshoe events around the world.

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In a recent and unfortunate string of events, Hunter S. Thompson – my favorite writer and all-around mentor – died from an apparent suicide (which is difficult to believe).

Snowshoe Magazine would like to extend its deepest sympathies and condolences to the Thompson family.

During my formative years (which wasn’t long ago) in college, I was introduced to Hunter’s writing through a close and good friend. To sum it up, we tried our hand at writing like Hunter, quoting him frequently, singing his praises often, and eventually discovering we were amateurs compared to his eloquence.

Of course, I always thought Hunter was a good icon to emulate and eventually try to interview someday. However, the recent news has saddened me and it ultimately represents a new era in my life. Hunter Thompson attracted many a fan with his Gonzo journalism, right down to his regular columns on ESPN’s Page 2.

During an interview to discuss his recent book, “Kingdom of Fear,” Hunter said something I will never forget in response to a question regarding his obsession with the word “fear.”

“I don’t think fear is a very effective way of dealing with things – of responding to reality,” he said. “Fear is just another word for ignorance.”

When I was a self-proclaimed poet – right around the age of 21 – I penned this poem to quantify my allegiance to Hunter:

“Ode to Hunter S. Thompson”

In the mire and muck of the world,
The dubious pen on paper
Fights off the dreamers and the sleepers.
Exactly what are you a doctor of?

A person could learn so much
From somebody who cared so little.
It’s all Fear and Loathing and
Just a bunch of Gonzo writing.
His cigarettes, his briefcase…
Is he victimized,
By the mainstream generation?

Dear Dr. Hunter S. Thompson:
Puerto Rico for two.
Political envy and voting booths.
Clinton and Gore campaign.
Tropical bliss,
Pina Coladas,
Tropicana,
Palm trees,
Coconuts,
Blue water,
A San Juan dream.
Arriving at the edge of humanity.

Better than sex.

I have my ticket. I’m going for the ride.

About the author

Ryan Alford