Colorado Experience: Million Dollar Highway ~ Rocky Mountain PBS


It’s been dubbed The Road to Hell, but it’s also called the most beautiful drive in Colorado. The Million Dollar Highway is magnificent, death-defying, and it should have been impossible to build. It nearly was. And at a terrible human cost to the Ute people as well as to the men who blasted, dug and drilled a path through the steepest, hardest, roughest of mountain passes.

~~~ WATCH ~~~

our storm on the way


The American GFS model simulates snow over the western United States. (WeatherBell) (WeatherBell)


The American GFS model simulates a strong jet stream disturbance arriving in the western United States. (WeatherBell) (WeatherBell)



Regular visits to nature could be a prescription for well-being.

A male bluethroat calls from a cattail.Getty Images

This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.  

One swallow may not make a summer but seeing or hearing birds does improve mental wellbeing, researchers have found.

The study, led by academics from King’s College London, also found that everyday encounters with birds boosted the mood of people with depression, as well as the wider population.

The researchers said the findings suggested that visits to places with a wealth of birdlife, such as parks and canals, could be prescribed by doctors to treat mental health conditions. They added that their findings also highlighted the need to better protect the environment and improve biodiversity in urban, suburban and rural areas in order to preserve bird habitats.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, tracked 1,292 participants’ everyday encounters with birds last year via a smartphone app called Urban Mind.

Over the course of two weeks, the participants, from the UK, Europe, the US, China and Australia, were prompted at random intervals to record how they were feeling, including whether they were happy or stressed, whether they could see trees, and whether they could see or hear birds.

The researchers found that participants’ average mental wellbeing scores increased when they saw or heard birds, including among those who disclosed they had been diagnosed with depression. This beneficial effect also lasted beyond the moment of encountering birds, with higher levels of mental wellbeing noted by participants who did not see or hear birds the next time they recorded their mood.“Birdsong would have once been the natural soundtrack to all human lives…embedded somewhere deep within our psyches.”

However, this positive effect did not persist if the participants did not encounter birds during the subsequent assessment of their mood, which the researchers said indicated “a possible causal link effect of birdlife on mental wellbeing.”



 by jerry roberts, posted in art ~ film ~ pop cultureenvironment & scienceliterature ~ poetrymountain ~ desert ~ ocean ~ news & stories ~tall tales & stories of the san juans

Crédito total, rŌbert

Tim Lane relaxing in the Official INSTAAR Car (Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research) & also known as The Golden Calf, on Red Mountain Pass, December 18, 1980.  Not enough snow for skiing so we drove the passes recklessly in the Dodge Coronet 440 stolen from Richard & Betsy Armstrong during the drought winter of 1980-81. …. note the bald tires.

“The photo of the INSTAAR Dodge is
truely priceless !!   Alpine Scientific Bohemianism
from the road. Japhy Ryder weeps !” Burnie Arndt 

How sneaky of you & Tim to have taken the project vehicle without permission.. Betsy Armstrong

Betsy, Mark Udall.

A few years later I didn’t give Jerry and Tim permission to take/borrow an Outward Bound van for a night in Leadville. Somehow the van ended up in a snow bank in the middle of a lodgepole forest near the OB base camp…I reluctantly had to place Jerry and Tim on the “No Hire list”(eg i fired them) for awhile. We have laughed about it a number of times since. And early on in my OB when I wasn’t The Man (in the OB management team), I committed my share of possible No Hire offenses. Oh, youth. Happy Holidays. And I love that Jerry Roberts. Mark Udall 

Great photo.  Throughout the west the driest winter on record was 76-77.  Chris George called  me and said “Don’t cancel the course on RMP.  There is collapsing everywhere.”  The second driest year was 80-81.  Rod Newcomb

Jerry, that car should be gilded and put on display in Silverton’s town square.   Great photo!  Peter Lev


The early ’70’s were the Age of Enlightenment for a certain crowd of seekers and pilgrims.

Stir in a shot of Chogyam Trungpa  Rinpoche’s  Tibetan  Pisco and stand back ……!

Abuelo Wells wrote of another Right of Passage; Frank Buckley’s Eskimo Ski Club 

Winter Park Ski train….”sex, crime, fun, psychic trauma, it was all there”!

There were many paths taken back then.  All lead to Mountains…

Who said “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom” ?


The Golden Calf is forever patrolling the grades and curves of Red Mountain Pass in my mind.

Whoever wrote “Phantom 309” for Red Sovine and Tom Waits should have written a “Golden Calf” song as well….

Wally Berg