For The Love of Lake County
Under The Heart-Shaped Crater of Mt. Elbert
It’s Valentine’s Day and President’s Day Weekend. Traditionally seen as a mid-season, high-country wham-bam good time, with COVID restrictions in place, the 3-day extravaganza will likely play out with a little less passion. At least when it comes to large gatherings and over-the-top-displays of public affection.
However, the love of the mountains and getting outdoors does not hold a special day or season in Lake County. With plenty of fresh snow to play in, there’s no reason why sweethearts can’t strap on the skis or snowshoes or hop in the saddle to not only enjoy the day together but also show support for local organizations and businesses! There are presently several virtual races happening this month that support local trails, so show them some love! And there are plenty of Lake County businesses that you can show your affection towards by spending some of those “dead presidents” with them this three-day weekend.
So put a lovie smile on your face, then cover it up with your mask. Grab your sweetheart by the hand and go have some fun while keeping your social distance from others. It might be a strange new world, but love still rules in Lake County under the shadow of Mt. Elbert with its heart-shaped crater! Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy President’s Day!
Show Some LOVE for the MBT
If you and your sweetheart are considering getting outdoors and taking a spin on Leadville’s Mineral Belt Trail (MBT) then consider combining your affections along with a donation to the beloved non-motorized trail. Or better yet, support the fundraising efforts and sign up for The Leadville Loppet, held virtually and all throughout the month of February.
From February 1 through February 28, 2021, Leadville Loppet competitors will log their skied (classic and skate) kilometers in RunSignUp from wherever you are racing. Once a milestone distance is reached, you will receive a fun Leadville-themed digital badge via email. Register to participate and donate an additional $25 to receive a Melanzana Leadville Loppet hat.
In January the race organizers determined “In the interest of the health and safety of our community, we are going virtual this year.” While the favorite awards ceremony and soup-fest will not take place this year, please note that 100% of the proceeds will go towards winter grooming of the Mineral Belt Trail.
“We hope that you’ll join us in celebrating the beauty of Leadville and cross-country skiing from wherever you are in the world!” the group stated. DONATE HERE.
Double Your LOVE at Twin Lakes
Once you’ve taken in your share of fresh air, snow sports and sunshine plan to top it off with some great food from the Twin Lakes Inn. Andy Wald and his crew are ready to serve up some special dishes this weekend. While dine-in options are still limited and reservations are highly recommended, you can also take one of their gourmet dishes to-go!
“Business has been up a bit from last year, so that’s good news,” Wald reported in a recent visit with Leadville Today. It’s the second season that the lodging and dining establishment has been open throughout the winter. It’s a testament to the Twin Lakes Inn crew as well as the Freinds and neighbors in the Village who have adamantly support a major business anchor in the southern end of Lake County. “We appreciate our locals, come and see us soon!”
The kitchen and dining staff have the to-go options down by now, offering fresh hot meals either out-the-door or to your door with local delivery services by trained, professionals. And remember, they also offer a wide range of adult beverages and cocktails to compliment your meal, for dine-in, to-go or delivery!
For the LOVE of The Bike
The Leadville Winter Mountain Bike Series continues virtually in 2021 with a couple of races already in the books! Between the sweet giveaways and prizes, organizers are doing a great job keeping the fat-wheels spinning through the winter trails! Results and info on upcoming races can be found on the The Cloud City Wheelers website.
“The Pandemic might have changed things around a bit, but not enough to stop us from doing what we love,” stated Wheelers Director Sterling Mudge. The Leadville Winter Mountain Bike Series is typically their largest fundraising event with 100% of the proceeds being put directly back into the Lake County trails community. So please support them through this virtual season. All the details and registration HERE.
For the LOVE of The Elks
Submitted on behalf of The Leadville Elks Lodge #236
Leadville Elks Lodge #236 has a ton of local support from their local members and townsfolk but the Elks span more than locally, we are located all over the country. Thanks to the help of the Elks National Foundation we were able to apply for and take advantage of several grants this past December, one of which was the $2000 Gratitude Grant. When I submitted the application, I had no idea how it would be received, but to my surprise, the ENF decided that our cause was worthy of such an honor.
The Leadville Elks Trustees and Members decided that we wanted to support, in whatever way we could, our local first responders. That included the Lake County Sheriff, the Leadville Police Department, the Fire Department, and the Ambulance District. We decided during this time, that the thing we wanted to provide them was personal protective equipment, which to us meant face masks, shields, and gloves. By protecting them, they protect us.
With the help of Mabel Bogeart from the Lake County Public Works, we were able to accomplish this mission. She contacted the right people and was able to not only order the PPE’s, she also was gracious enough to organize the socially distant event to get all of us together. The Elks thru the Elks National Fund was able to provide the first responders of Lake County with $2000 worth of PPE’s.
This community is like no other and that is proven every day by the work done to get things like this accomplished.
“That’s Amore!” Dinner For Two
When it comes to the hot passion of LOVE in The Cloud City, perhaps it’s old State Street that has the most burning reputation. Leadville’s former red-light district was once the home to 137 “entertainment” establishments lining the old wooden boardwalks from east to west. While a tragic fire left most of the gambling halls and houses of ill-repute in a pile of ashes, some managed to survive.
In Leadville Today, one of those businesses still keeps the love-light burning. The Pastime Bar and Cafe at 120 West 2nd Street (formerly State Street) is the last continuously operating business from those old Pioneer Days. The best-burger-in-town joint continues to ride out the highs-and-lows, the gos-and-nos of a global pandemic that has most notably impacted the restaurant and bar business.
This Sunday, Feb. 14 the love can be shared as the staff offers a special spaghetti and meatball dinner for two, includes garlic bread. Of course, they also have adult beverages to compliment your lovers feast. Take your sweetheart down to the old red-light district. You never know where things could go from there!
For the LOVE of a Mountain & Man
There’s myriad of ways to demonstrate one’s affections, even in these COVID-times Cupid is not dead. Perhaps you just have to get more creative than dinner reservations, roses and a greeting card made from recycled materials. Here’s an example of a snow-laden wide-open space that brought two people very close together under the heart-shaped carter of Mt. Elbert. May you be inspired – and take pictures!
CMC’s Author: ‘Love for a Whole Nation’
By Carrie Click, Colorado Mountain College
This past pandemic year has been hard on us all – often isolated at home, not seeing friends and family, missing important milestones, under the threat of serious illness or even death. Now imagine 30 years of that. In a five- by seven-foot prison cell. Incarcerated on death row for a crime you didn’t commit.
Meet Anthony Ray Hinton. In 1985, he was falsely convicted of two counts of capital murder and sentenced to die by the electric chair at Holman State Prison in Alabama. In 2015, he was finally exonerated and freed. Hinton’s memoir, “The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row,” written with Lara Love Hardin, is Colorado Mountain College’s 2021 Common Reader.
NY Bestseller, Oprah Book Club
In addition to writing, Hinton is a speaker and a community educator at the Equal Justice Initiative based in Montgomery, Alabama. There, he works with attorney and EJI Executive Director Bryan Stevenson, author of the acclaimed memoir “Just Mercy.” Stevenson spent years on Hinton’s case and was responsible for his conviction being overturned.
Every year since 2007, a committee of CMC employees has selected a book to read together, the Common Reader. Community members from throughout the college’s district are also encouraged to participate in this “group read,” and the book’s author is invited to visit CMC campuses for live presentations.
Because of COVID-19 health precautions, this year’s Common Reader author appearances will be held in a virtual format on Feb. 24-25. The talks are free, though registration is required (see below).
A Book for Our Time
“The Sun Does Shine” focuses on unjust incarceration, societal unrest, the difficulties of confinement and racial inequality.
Just six days after the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol in early January, Hinton shared his take on how these issues are reflected in today’s headlines.
“People are raised around lies and they believe those lies,” he said. “They are programmed to hate. Those guys at the Capitol, they were crying out for help. I see guys like that and I feel really sorry that they have been misled. In hating, you’re allowing someone to dictate your joy.”
Hinton also has insights about being confined in prison, which is immeasurably harder than COVID-19 distancing restrictions. Besides becoming skilled at creating a rich imaginary world as an escape mechanism, he gained other insights.
“Being in a five-by-seven prison cell, I had a pity party for three years and wouldn’t talk to anyone,” he said. “Then I learned about a woman with stage 5 breast cancer, and a man with colon cancer. Here I was, healthy, I had a place to lay down. People were going through way worse things than I was. It puts life in perspective.”
In “The Sun Does Shine,” Hinton describes Henry Hays, a Ku Klux Klansman who was on death row and was ultimately executed for stabbing and lynching a 19-year-old Black man. Eventually, Hinton and Hays developed a friendship that lasted until Hays died.
“Henry was taught all his life to hate,” said Hinton. “Parents program their children. I asked him, ‘What have I ever done to you? You believe you hate all Black people. You don’t even know me to hate me.’ You need to talk with someone who thinks they hate you.”
‘Love for a Whole Nation’
Hinton said parents have tremendous influence over their children’s views.
“I had the best mother that God created,” Hinton said. “She taught me respect, concern, love and understanding. My mother gave me love for a whole nation. Upbringing is key. We were poor but I had the best upbringing money can buy. There’s no price on that.”
Hinton said he’ll miss visiting Colorado Mountain College in person, though he’s looking forward to his online talks.
“Before the virus, I visited universities and I’d sit down and invite all types of people to open conversations,” Hinton said. “Whether Black, White, Hispanic, let’s learn from each other before we destroy each other. We need to learn why we think and act like we do.’
For more information, visit https://coloradomtn.edu/commonreader.
COVID Guidelines, Virtual Registration
Colorado Mountain College presents Anthony Ray Hinton, author of ‘The Sun Does Shine’
As with most in-person events during the past year, because of COVID-19 health precautions, the Common Reader’s author talks are moving to a virtual format.
- Wednesday, Feb. 24 – 7 p.m.
- Thursday, Feb. 25 – 7 p.m.
Hinton’s talks will be livestreamed through Zoom. The talks are free, though advance registration is required. Visit CMC’s Common Reader webpage for information about books and registration, at https://coloradomtn.edu/commonreader.
For the LOVE of St. Valentine