Peter Shelton

Hunt or Be Hunted

Posted in Animal Dreams, Watch columns by pshelton on February 12, 2011


I know which way a mind wended this morning, what horizon it faced, by the setting of these tracks . . .

– Henry David Thoreau


Last week on a long, slow chairlift ride at Powderhorn my eye fixed on a meandering set of animal tracks. (more…)

Surfing the avalanche

Posted in Confessions of a Grandpa, Road Trips West, Watch columns by pshelton on January 7, 2011

Ellen thinks maybe the second avalanche was still moving when we drove through it. (more…)

A Bear Creek Chess Game

Posted in How the West was Lost, Ski history, Watch columns by pshelton on December 24, 2010

OK, let us review.

A year ago, the setup seemed, to a casual observer, pretty simple. The Telluride Ski and Golf Company introduced the idea of expanding the ski area into upper Bear Creek. The resort operator needed to update its master plan with the U.S. Forest Service anyway and began a process which included surveying local skiers on how they imagined their ski area of the future. Telski had already gained USFS permission to do snow and avalanche studies off the back side of Gold Hill and had secured a Forest Service permit to guide skiers into the terrain in question.

Telski CEO Dave Riley assumed an ostensibly neutral position on expansion; he was just asking for input. Though it was also perhaps clear from Riley’s enthusiastic spearheading of a new, Euro-style off-piste persona for Telluride – including the opening of steep terrain within the existing boundaries and new exit gates into public lands beyond – that his heart’s desire, most likely, was an expansion into the alpine cirques of upper Bear Creek. (more…)

A country boy in the big city

Posted in Watch columns by pshelton on September 16, 2010

Boston Common, September 11. The woman striding along the path in the sun has just a little bit of a hitch in her gittyup. Or maybe it’s hip, city-girl attitude; there’s plenty of that on display this brilliant fall day on Boston’s historic greensward. Her purse swings insouciantly. She’s saucing her walk in a tight black skirt and heels, and a blousy t-shirt. But wait. (more…)

The irresistible pull of fire

Posted in Watch columns by pshelton on August 19, 2010

We woke up Thursday morning to the bang of thunder.

It was that kind of shock-wave crack that commands your full attention. Not a distant rumble, the lightning had obviously found ground close by. (more…)

Back on the Bike Again

Posted in More Sport, Watch columns by pshelton on July 29, 2010

It’s so good to be back on the bike again. Breathing hard. Dripping sweat onto the top tube. Seeing the world come up and go by in a blur utterly unlike either walking or driving. (more…)

An old man rewrote my Wiki page

Posted in How the West was Lost, Watch columns by pshelton on July 22, 2010

I, Scott McInnis, have been accused recently of going in and altering my Wikipedia profile. This is a non-issue. If I weren’t running for Governor of Colorado, nobody would have even noticed. I mean, nobody would have even bothered to look and thought that they saw some things that, you know, might not have been actually original thinking. (more…)

What if you couldn’t see?

Posted in Animal Dreams, Watch columns by pshelton on July 15, 2010

I was moving through an aspen jungle. It was a jungle. White columbine and waist-high bluebells hid the ground while a fluttering canopy closed off much of the sky.

Most exotic were the bird songs. Back-and-forth flute-like calls seemed magnified in the super-acoustics of reflecting leaves. What kind of bird were they? And where exactly? I struggled to catch a glimpse of them, but failed. I’d sit still. I’d move. Either way the singers remained camouflaged overhead.

What if, I wondered, I couldn’t see anything? What if, on my walks up the hill, I could only listen? (more…)

Schön, The Beautiful Game

Posted in More Sport, Watch columns by pshelton on July 8, 2010

(Well, Paul the prognosticating octopus picked Spain to defeat Germany in their semifinal, and he was right. Again! As he has been predicting every Mannshaft match in this World Cup. So, take the following with a grain of. . . sauerkraut.)

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Germany will win the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. (more…)

Bentley Boys Do Skyway Loop

Posted in Road Trips West, Watch columns by pshelton on June 30, 2010

What do Queen Elizabeth II and your humble reporter have in common? We both drive Bentleys.

Well, actually the Queen is driven around London in her claret-colored Royal Bentley limousine. And I drove a Bentley for the first and probably last time in my life last week on a bit of a total lark. (more…)