Tom Ross: Yampa Valley lifestyle makes New Year's resolutions easy

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Tom Ross

Tom Ross' column appears in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4205 or tross@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by Tom here.

— Making New Year’s resolutions in Steamboat Springs is almost like cheating. Even if one is unwise enough to make those resolutions in public, it’s still ridiculously easy to impress your relatives with all the grand things you plan to do in 2013.

We live in a remarkable place where we can learn a new adventure sport after work, ski and golf in the same day, or climb a mountain and attend a special concert before the clock strikes midnight. It’s crazy what a good life we enjoy in the Yampa Valley, so don’t let me ever catch you taking it for granted.

In 2013 I will return to the summit of Mount Zirkel, but only as part of my preparation for climbing a fourteener again after a few years off. I have my eye on Huron Peak because it is a relatively easy hike (although the trail climbs 550 feet in the last quarter-mile) that affords climbers a great view of Ice Mountain and the rest of the Three Apostles. I have no intention of climbing Ice Mountain because the rock is purported to be rotten. I don’t need that.

Sometime this year, I will, for the first time, attempt to make a fire by rubbing two sticks together. Or more precisely, I will make fire using a bow drill. You can’t be a real mountain man if you can’t make a fire without matches.

Once I make that fire, I will use it to sauté a stir fry of vegetables I’ve grown or foraged for in Steamboat’s ridiculously short growing season. The radishes I grew last summer were cute, and I expect my strawberries to bounce back this year, but that doesn’t exactly make me a locovore. Onions and peapods are achievable even for someone who is organically challenged, as I am.

We’re going to have a decent spring runoff this season and after the rivers come down, I’m going to head for Wyoming (I don’t know where just yet) and catch trout from a river I’ve never set eyes on before. Make that two rivers I’ve never set eyes on before.

When the rivers drop even lower, I hope to get involved once again in a habitat improvement project on a local river.

This year will be the year that I make a good start on writing a nonfiction book. But while I struggle to find the time to write more than I already write in my working life, I’m going to use one of the online self-publishing services like Blurb to make a one-off photographic book comprising my past adventures in the desert Southwest. The challenge will be to develop a worthy theme that will allow me to give meaning to the images.

I’m up for a challenge in 2013, and I hope you are, too.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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