To say that Don Ellis is a throwback would not be completely fair. The long-time Westsider does just fine in the present, having been one of the main instigators of the successful Save White Acres advocacy/ fundraising effort last year and continuing to serve as a volunteer leader of the Friends of Red Rock Canyon. But in talking to him about his AdAmAn adventures - both 1959 and 2009 - as well as about various outdoor activities in between, I got a sense of a long-ago Colorado Springs, when trekking into open country was more the rule than the exception. Based on scattered articles and books I've read, talks I've attended and interviews I've conducted, an image has grown of a far less populated, far more natural Pikes Peak region. In those days, exploring the hills, valleys, streams, forests and even large undeveloped lots was an undeniable part of growing up for boys and girls. And when they became adults, they didn't just lapse into a sedentary state, they kept right on with that get-out-in-it way of life. Not because they wanted to prove anything or make a some political statement. But because it felt good. And that's why they stayed here... or came here, in many cases. Nowadays we have many more people, plus infill projects that make local explorations problematic. Careful of those backyards! But getting out in it is still possible. The mountains are right there, and most of them are on public land. Anyway, thanks Don, for sharing a bit of your outdoorsy life this issue. I hope I did the story justice.
       With the remaining space here this week, I'd like to put in a plug for the Westside Celebrates event at the Old Colorado City History Center Sunday, Jan. 10 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Pretty much on his own, Dave Rasmussen has lined up a who's-who of people who help make the Westside tick. I'm honored that the Westside Pioneer was one of those on his list. I'll try not to blab too long.

- K.J.