From My Window: Rio Blanco mountains, U.S. Olympic teams in great shape

Took a drive up to and past Trappers Lake on Sunday and chose a gorgeous day to do so. The skies were clear and blue, the forests were dark green and the higher one got, the more colorful the native wildflowers became.

Had a great cheeseburger with the ladies at the lodge, where 100 percent of the lunch clientele was from Meeker, then drove on up to the Trappers Lake Overlook, where a small hike brought my wife, Cris, and I in close contact with all kinds of wild flowers, starting with the oranges of the Indian Paintbrush, which is the state flower of Wyoming, and filled in with white, yellow, purple, pinks and a few reds.
Due to the lack of rain down here in the Rangely and Meeker areas, one might figure that County Road 8 and the Flat Tops would also be fairly dry, but the reality was that the forests and grasslands were dark green, there still seemed to be pretty good flow in the White River fairly high and the high-mountain creeks still had decent flows to the point I don’t see where any measure of dry will really hurt the hunting season that is rapidly approaching.
There was really no sign of fall yet anywhere up on the mountains that we saw. Certainly there were spots in some pine trees that didn’t look very good due to some pest, I am sure. There were a few of the aspens with very little lightening in the leaves and even a handful of the aspen leaves that were yellowing, but that can happen anywhere without much meaning.
The mountains are looking good as we head into fall, and Sunday’s drive made for a fun, scenic and relaxing day with a good but simple meal at Trappers Lodge.
I am really bummed, however. When we got to Trappers Lake, Cris and I were talking to a couple of the Meeker ladies who said they had seen a mother bear and two cubs on the way up—just a short time before we got there.
In the three and a half years I have lived here—and I head up into the mountains fairly often—I have yet to photograph a bear in this area of the state. I saw one way up on Nine Mile Hill two years ago but wasn’t able to get a photo at the time. I’m still hoping one of these days soon to capture that photo.

I was once called “The Great Indoorsman,” and there is some pride I take with that title.
But I must admit that description has fit the past two weeks with the 30th Summer Olympics from Rio de Janeiro on TV.
I have always enjoyed the Olympic games, both summer and winter, and this year, disregarding the mess involving Ryan Lochte and the other three U.S. swimmers, was no exception.
It was particularly enjoyable to watch golf as part of the Olympics for the first time in roughly 112 years.
I became particularly interested in the Olympics over all in the late 1960s as my father was president of the Denver Olympic Committee. It was an intense indoctrination into the international politics called the Olympics, which Denver did win for the 1976 bicentennial anniversary of the state only to vote down behind the power of the environmentalists.
Anyway, the politics are brutal, apparently in cases the payoffs have been staggering, but the games are always terrific. This year was no exception as the United States pulled in 121 medals, followed by the Chinese, way back at 70.
The women’s gymnastics team was amazing.
The swimming was more than impressive.
The track and field men and women picked up gold, silver and bronze where not expected.
United States basketball is always outstanding and the U.S. volleyball women were incredible in every game but the one against Brazil.
The shapes of the sports programs and the U.S. Olympic Committee are without a doubt the top sports organization on this globe. Great programs turn out great programs and it would be mighty tough to come up with any major weaknesses in the programs.
We took a bunch of medals in sports we had never won a medal in, including shooting and distance running; what a pleasant surprise.
The United States should be very proud of its athletes and all that they accomplished.
Sometimes, the best thing we can do is just sit back and think about everything some of these summer athletes had to go through to earn those gold, silver and bronze medals.
Yet it was also many, many times—more than 40 times I heard—that the United States took fourth place in events, just a few hundreds of a second or a few inches away from winning many more medals.
The summer Olympic games in Rio were certainly a success for the United States. Let’s hope for more of the same in 18 months at the winter Olympics in 2018 at Pyeongchang, South Korea.

We have this coming weekend off as far as major local events taking place, but this weekend is followed by three straight weeks of major events on both ends of the Rio Blanco County.
On Labor Day weekend, the community of Rangely will be hosting the fun times of their biggest event of the year—Septemberfest.
Activities are planned for Saturday, Sunday and Labor Day all over town.
The event kicks off early Saturday with the annual 5-kilometer (nearly four-mile) run. Other Saturday events include: The Dotson Memorial golf scramble, the Wagon Wheel UTV ride, a bike rally, tours of The TANK, inflatables at Elks Park, a bench press contest and the annual Rock ‘N’ Bull rodeo at Columbine Park.
Sunday’s events include another UTV ride, the vastly popular and tasty ice cream social and ice-cream making contest at the Rangely Museum, a chili cookoff, the Muddy Dip & Dash up by the old Parkview Elementary site and the annual Sunday evening worship service and barbecue.
Monday is action packed as well, starting with the traditional Fireman’s Pancake Breakfast with sausage, eggs and pancakes in addition to juice and coffee followed at 10 a.m. with the town’s annual Star-Spangled Parade.
After the parade the entire town heads to Elks Park for the annual crafts fair, which will surround the park this year with at least 45 vendors. That runs along side the annual car show, which rivals many of the car shows held around Colorado. A large selection of autos, trucks, motorcycles, classics and antiques seem to keep showing up.
Then there is the large community barbecue put on by the Rangely Elks Club, where more than 2,000 people were fed last year.
In the afternoon is the annual duck race and this year at 6:30 p.m. on the Elks Park Softball Field will be a country music concert performed by Caleb Austin that will wrap up the weekend’s action and fun.

The weekend after Labor Day, actually beginning its five-day run starting Wednesday after Labor Day, is the annual Meeker Classic Championship Sheepdog Trials held in Ute Park just outside the west city limits of Meeker.
While the Meeker Classic is no newcomer to Meeker, if you haven’t seen this event at least once, you have cheated yourself out of some interesting action and entertainment.
There will be 140 special dogs and their handlers competing for many thousands of dollars in prizes
In addition to the dog competitions, there is a lamb cookoff, an art show, a crafts exhibition and show, all kinds of vendors, two country music concerts, an educational tent for local children and many from around Northwest Colorado, good food available and just about every type of activity and game to keep everyone happily occupied.

To wrap up the summer of major events is the Fall Festival, sponsored by Mountain Valley Bank and held on the bank premises as well as across the street on the Rio Blanco County Courthouse lawn.
This is an actual opportunity for Meeker-area non-profit organizations to raise money before being befallen by winter.
A wide variety of top-notch non-profit food vendors join in the fun and several other non-profits offer games and activities to keep each and all occupied.
All attendees receive $5 to be used toward playing the games and if you bring canned food for the Meeker Food Bank, you can receive extra fun dollars to be used during the event.
In the end, the tickets are then turned in for prizes. More tickets can be won by winning at the individual contests.
The event only lasts from Saturday morning until mid-afternoon on Saturday, Sept. 17, and this works as a great family day to wind down the summer and settle into a more sedate fall and winter.

Unless you have a hunting license. If you do, it may not quite be the time yet to settle back in your easy chair and watch the Broncos play on Sundays.

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