Hoooowee! Beltane was a crazy season this year! Which, I’ve found, it tends to be every year. But, anyway, thought I’d share some pictures of where I’ve been all this time.

So, here they are, stoners. Settle in with a nice fat bowl of a hybrid, or maybe a light Indica, and experience Springtime in the Rockies:

May 1, 2015. 11.000 ft.

May 1, 2015. 11.000 ft.

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May 1, 2015

May 2, 2015

May 2, 2015, 8,200 ft

May 2, 2015

May 2, 2015

May 2, 2015

May 2, 2015

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Mid-May, 9,700 ft

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Mid-May

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Mid-May, 10,000 ft

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May 30, 2015

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June 2, 12,000 ft

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June 2

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Early June

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Early June

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Double Rainbow

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Early June

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Sunset Reflection, early June

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Early June.

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This is real.

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So is this.

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Mid-June.

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Mid-June

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Mid-June

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This is also real.

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Grandmother Moon and the Mountain

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Alberta Falls

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Up close

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In the morning light

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Summer, finally. Solstice sunrise, June 21st, 11,000 ft.

 

 

Where I’ve Been

4/21 – Basking in the Afterglow

Just wanted to share this.

Two to three thousand people in Veterans Memorial Park yesterday, all burning one down! 160 tickets for public consumption over the whole weekend, which doesn’t seem like very many to me in relation to how many thousands of people were there. But, again, that’s still 160 too many.

Ah, yes! Freedom, justice, acceptance, love, and resistance against oppression!

Happy 4/20!!!

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This picture was taken yesterday, 4/19, when I went down to the free event at Civic Center Park in Denver.

What started as a protest has become yet another opportunity for people to sell stuff. Not that that is all bad, necessarily.

I had never gone to the thing at Civic Center before. Last year, I was on the street in front of Cervantes listening to Salmon play. Before that, I had like an actual career-type job where I had to work most 4/20’s, and where I had to pretend I didn’t smoke weed and pretend I didn’t condone smoking weed. Glad those days are over! (And, before that, 4/20 was not an organized, generally-known-about thing, and my 4/20’s were spent smoking bowl after bowl after bowl at some friend or other’s very private 4/20 party.)

But legalization means regulation.

Here is what greeted us upon entry:

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I arrived at about 10:53 am and was the fourth or fifth person in line at the entrance. The gates opened at 11, or they were supposed to open at 11. We were not actually allowed in until closer to 11:30.

We were searched at the gate. You were not supposed to bring in any food or drink, any glass, any weapons (obviously), or basically anything else that could be deemed dangerous or destructive. The “no food or drink” thing I didn’t really get. To me this seemed like the usual ploy to get you to buy all food and drink inside the venue.

I did bring in my vape pen, and once inside, it was really not hard at all to “use marijuana in public.” I heard, though, that on Saturday, police issued 60 tickets for public consumption, which doesn’t seem like very many to me, although it is too many. 60 too many, when you consider that we should just be allowed to consume in “public.”

And, witness the very “public” beer garden:

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But, I had decided to go early because I was not particularly interested in the music. It was all Hip Hop. (In other words, to go ahead and sound blindingly white, Rap.) I don’t dislike Hip Hop, I’m just very picky about it. And it’s not really my scene. Ya know? I’m a hippie.

Speaking of which, the crowd was an interesting mix. Nothing brings together Latinos, African-Americans, and hippies like weed. And, yes, I am implying “white” with the word “hippie.” I apologize if this offends anyone, but when you hear the word “hippie,” what do you think of?

But, there were also plenty of preppy-looking college-aged kids as well as some people who looked like tourists who came in to check out the freak show. I can just imagine a middle-aged couple from the Midwest, taking a Sunday stroll down Colfax and being like, “What’s going on over there, honey? Let’s go see!”

My purpose in going this year was basically to wander around and see if I could find anything interesting.

Most of the preppy-looking college kids I saw were centered around this huge, not even a booth, it was more of like a big, scaffold-ed tent for Mass Roots, a cannabis infused social media site.

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This was the most prominent “booth,” if you will, in the entire complex.

But, tucked away in a corner, very unobtrusively, were, in my opinion, the two most interesting booths in the complex. The booths for Occupy Denver and for DAM Collective (Direct Autonomous Media.)

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Yes, Occupy Denver is still around, still feeding the homeless and advocating for economic and social justice. I gave them $5 and took one of their groovy buttons with a pot leaf on it. Then, there was DAM Collective, which I had not heard of before, but I was intrigued. They basically collect photos, videos, audio, and writing from whoever has witnessed something or has a story to tell. Same basic idea as Cop Watch, more or less. Their flyer states that they are “dedicated to exposing un-censored truth about police brutality, social change, and earth’s defense.” They are on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. I fully intend to check this all out shortly.

But, see, this is the sort of thing I am way more interested in than people selling stuff, which is what the rest of the event was.

booths3use There were t-shirt booths, paraphernalia booths, art booths, food booths, booths for all kinds of marijuana-related services, including one for a weed oriented online radio station and one for a dispensary discount club.

I really wanted to buy a t-shirt, but nothing was jumping out at me. The one thing I did buy is this cool little multi-tool for cleaning, poking, and tamping down bowls. It’s called a Tazz. But, it’s made of copper and has these pretty beads on the top part. It came in handy a couple of times today already.

And, of course, in front of the main stage and on the steps in front of the Greek stage, there were groups of people smoking up, un-hassled and un-ticketed by the cops. Police presence was light while I was there. When I first arrived, there was a group of about five cops conferring on the field in front of the main stage. Then, they dispersed, and I did not see them again.

When I was leaving, around 2 pm, the event security were busying themselves with walking the fence line to make sure no one jumped the fence to get in.

But, I’m guessing that probably most of the tickets for public consumption were given on the other side of the fence, outside the event. Inside, perhaps on the periphery you would’ve been vulnerable, but, for the most part, people were left alone and not an eyelash was batted. As it should be.

There was not much of a crowd when I was there. It seemed to be picking up a bit just as I was leaving. If I’m not into the music, I really don’t mind avoiding the crowd.

But, this year, for the first time ever, you could actually buy “VIP” tickets to this thing. I think they were $25, and they got you into after-parties, and in here:

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I’m not sure what went on inside the McNichols building because I didn’t buy the VIP tickets, but there you have it. Honestly, I thought it was pretty absurd that they were selling any kind of tickets to this thing at all.

One of the main lessons I think we are learning here in Colorado is that not only does legalization mean regulation, but it also means commercialization, which again, I don’t think is necessarily all bad or all good. It’s just boring. At its best, it can help promote a worthy and meaningful cause. At its worst, it becomes exploitative. And I guess that is what I felt on a gut level about the whole event. It seemed very exploitative and very hollow. It was just a bunch of people selling shit and a bunch of people getting high.

So, today, on 4/20, at 4:20, I have heard tell that there will be a much less official gathering at Civic Center, for which there is no permit, and for which there will be no stages and no vendors, but just people smoking weed in public and in protest of Federal prohibition. I hope that it’s also in protest of the excessive regulation and the exploitative commercialism that has developed around our legal weed over the past couple of years.

I hope that today, after all the weekend hype, we can smoke with more of a purpose. I hope we can smoke to the true meaning of 4/20 (which I’m pretty much just making up right now): freedom, justice, acceptance, love, and resistance against oppression.

Peace, stoners! And may the spirit of 4/20 be with you throughout the year!

 

Crazy Astrological Shit, Revisited.

New moon in Aries today.

For me, personally, all of these blood moons and whatnot have been part of at least two years of gradual, but deep, almost geologic, emotional change within me. There has been a lot of conflict and pain involved, and much of it I’ve felt I cannot share with anyone.

But a new moon in Aries, two weeks out from Beltane, I’m hoping that these influences will help me in gaining confidence, optimism, motivation, and strength to face the challenges that are roiling ever closer to the surface. I’m certain that the next and final blood moon in September will bring with it some sort of resolution.

No matter how trite and cliché it sounds, it never ceases to be true, old things must crumble and decay for new things to take root.

But, I will be going to Denver tomorrow to check out the 4/20-weekend festivities at Civic Center Park. And, of course, you will get a full report upon my return. I’m going to go early in the day, as I am not particularly interested in their musical selections this year.   I’ve never gone to the free event at Civic Center before. Last year was pretty epic seeing Salmon play for $4.20 in front of Cervantes. This year, it’s Methodman.

As a long-time stoner, I can’t help but feel a little weary with all of this new hype surrounding 4/20. I think it’s great as a national day of action against Federal prohibition. But as just a day to smoke a whole bunch, I’m kind of over it. More on this in the coming days.

Peace.

Return to Ridgway

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So, last week, I was fortunate enough to get to return to lovely, little Ridgway, Colorado for an early Spring, almost-off-season vacation. But, this time, we did it right.

We stayed overnight at Orvis Hot Springs.

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We visited Orvis in the Fall, but did not stay overnight. I’m not sure why.

They have six rooms upstairs and room for 24 people to camp out back. We got one of the hotel rooms, which are cozy in the very best sense of the word. So cozy, in fact, that this little guy came into our room in the morning and settled right in:

orviscat2use There are two cats who wander around Orvis. There’s thing guy above, whose name I did not catch, and then there’s a black cat named Wayne.

Rooms are $129/night, but that includes two days of soaking for two people, which costs $64 all by itself, so staying overnight is definitely the way to go! Camping is $37/person/night. Also, if you stay overnight, you get twenty-four hour access to the hot springs. Day-soakers have to be out by 10 pm, and cannot come in until 9 am.

So, last time we were there, we were not sure what the marijuana consumption situation would be. We had an edible, but didn’t eat quite enough of it. And we didn’t have vape pens, yet. When we got there, there were, and still are, signs hanging up around the place that highlight the fact that it is illegal to consume “in public.” So, unfortunately, we did not get as stoned as we wanted to be.

We fixed that, though, this time.

In the very small town of Ridgway, there are three dispensaries all in sight of one another.

There’s Rocky Mountain Cannabis, which is the one we went to this time:

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There’s Fiddler’s Green, which is a medical only dispensary:

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And then there’s Acme, which is where we went last time. I think it may have been the only one open at the time. But, it’s a chain, and we were not super impressed with this particular location:

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All three of these pictures were taken while I was standing in virtually the same exact spot in the parking lot of Rocky Mountain Cannabis.

But, we went in, and a young woman with long, light brown hair greeted us through the little window, checked our IDs, etc. We bought two edibles, an Incredibles Mile High Mint chocolate bar and a jar of Edipure Watermelon Tarts, which are actually like gummy things. These were each about $24.

Pretty much all edibles are broken up into 10 mg doses now. So each watermelon tart is 10 mgs, and each little square of the chocolate bar is 10 mgs. I think it might be some sort of rule now that budtenders have to tell everyone who buys an edible to eat 10 mgs and then wait two hours before eating any more. But, our budtender was friendly and helpful, as usual. On our way out, we said we’d be back tomorrow to maybe get a vape pen cartridge.

Now, armed with edibles and vape pens, we hit the hot springs. We got there at about 1:30 or 2, checked in, unloaded the car, ate a watermelon tart right quick, disrobed, and plunged into warm, wet heaven. We went naked, of course. Again, there were a number of people there wearing bathing suits, which is fine, whatever, but I just don’t get it. I mean, there are old people, with wrinkly, saggy skin all over the place who go naked in the hot spring, but it always seems to be the younger people who feel a need to wear a bikini or some shit. You really think you look better that way? I guess however you feel comfortable, but I just think everyone should get over themselves and get naked. It’s just a human body, for chrissake. Everybody’s got one. Mine’s nowhere near perfect, but I don’t give a fuck!

At 4 pm, it was time for my hour and a half massage, which I needed more than desperately. My job this winter has been kind of physically demanding and has definitely fucked up my neck and my shoulders even more than they were before. My massage therapist’s name was Michelle, and she was awesome! My back is so full of rocks that I need rather deep pressure, and I’ve had many massage therapists who just could not deliver. Not Michelle, though. For a very small woman, she administered a consistently deep and deeply relaxing massage. I felt months of pent-up tension flow out of my body. It was perfect!

An hour and a half massage was $105 and absolutely worth it! They also do one hour for $75, a half hour for $40, and two hours for $150.

Then, it was back to soaking for a bit. This was around the time of day, though, when it starts to get a little busy. People come in after work or after skiing, and the pools suddenly become much more crowded. So, it seemed like as good a time as any to eat.

They have a communal kitchen down by the locker rooms. We heated up leftover Asian food we brought with us, but the kitchen is fully outfitted, so you could cook an actual meal in there, if you wanted to. This makes staying at Orvis even more economical, what with not having to go out to eat and all.

Alcohol and hot springs don’t really mix well. You’re not allowed to have alcohol while you are actually soaking, but it is recommended that you do not consume any while you are there at all, in the hot spring or not. Still, we had a glass of wine after dinner.

The watermelon tart did take about two hours to really kick in. My tolerance is not as high as it once was, but it’s not low either. But, one 10 mg watermelon tart was the perfect light buzz for engaging in other activities that turn you into a marshmallow, such as massage and hot spring soaking. We contemplated eating a square of the chocolate bar, but decided against it. We didn’t want to pass out, yet.

By this point, the sun was setting and people were heading home. So, we headed back out and sat with vape pens at the ready, all blissed out, watching the little sliver of moon duck behind clouds and then re-emerge. It’s pretty easy to hit the vape pen out in the Smoker’s Pool after dark. If we had stayed out there even later, it probably would have been pretty easy to smoke a big, fat bowl out there, but between the massage and the soaking and the ganja food and the wine and everything, we still ended up going to bed pretty early, party animals that we are!

It’s also, by the way, really easy to hit a vape pen in a non-smoking hotel room, or pretty much anywhere. They do have one smoking room at Orvis, so I’m guessing one could probably get away with just toking up in there, if one were so inclined.

First thing we did the next morning at 7 am was go back out and soak. Check out time is 11, but you can stay and soak past that time, if you want. But, we awoke to sunshine peaking through clouds and then watched as the clouds thickened, and a crisp breeze picked up, and by the time we were packing up the car to leave, it was snowing.

We did stop at Rocky Mountain Cannabis again on the way out of town. First, we were just going to get one 500 mg cartridge and one 250, but then we also wanted to get an O.pen battery for a friend. So then, the budtender (same girl as yesterday) said that we could get a free battery if we got two 500 mg cartridges, and that was that. Easiest decision of the day.

But the budtender woman said to me that I looked very familiar, and we said that we were just in there yesterday. But she said that no, she’d seen me somewhere else. And I said that we had just been to Orvis, and she said that was it. That was where she had seen me. She works at Orvis too, and had been there the night before and that morning.

And that’s Ridgway for ya.

Next time, we’re staying for two nights. Orvis Hot Springs is a magical place, and Ridgway is one of Colorado’s greatest local secrets. (So, shhhhhh!, keep your mouths shut about it!)

The only thing about it that sucks is leaving.

Crazy Astrological Shit, addendum.

So, this Saturday morning is the next Blood Moon, and it’s actually the second to last one. The last one will be at the end of September.

But, if anyone knows anything about astrology, you’ll understand how crazy this is. Like I said, I’m not an expert, but I probably know more than the average person.

Anyway, get this: The lunar eclipse happens at 14 degrees Libra. Guess what’s at 15 degrees Libra? My mid-heaven. Guess what’s at 16 degrees Libra in my chart? Uranus. (Please, no “your anus” jokes.) So, yeah, these are all conjunct. Guess what is in opposition to the eclipse at 16 degrees Aries? Uranus. And the Sun at 14 degrees Aries. But, guess what else is at 16 degrees Aries? My Mars. And my IC is at 15 degrees Aries, of course. So, these are also all conjunct, and therefore all opposing the eclipse, my mid-heaven, and my Uranus. (Ha ha ha! You’re a fucking comedian with your stupid “your anus – my anus” joke!)

I won’t go into detail about all of the other crazy astrological shit that goes along with this eclipse, but I will say that I’m actually a little bit scared of what’s gonna go down this weekend. It might be really good, or it might be really bad.

For those of you who don’t know much about astrology, Uranus is the planet of revolutionary change. Mars is the planet of motivation, creative energy, aggression, and war. The mid-heaven is the point in the sky that was directly above you at birth, and it represents your goals, aspirations, what you admire and strive for, and your career. The IC is the point that was directly below you at birth and it represents hearth, home, deep emotions, childhood, and family. The Moon represents deep, often hidden, emotions and changing moods. Libra is balance, harmony, peace, beauty, and relationships. Aries is the individual, “me first!”, competition, motivation, conflict, and war.

So, for me, on Saturday, all that shit is getting thrown in the cosmic blender, and I have no idea what is going to come out. It could be really good, or it could be really bad. Whatever is going to happen might happen suddenly, or it might take a while to manifest. I don’t know.

Either way, I’m glad I got a bunch of weed, because I’ll probably need it!

Crazy Astrological Shit (or Happy Vernal Equinox, Everybody!)

Yup. There’s been a lot of that going on lately, and I am sure I’ve been feeling the effects.

Today . . . actually, yesterday was the Spring Equinox, known in Pagan circles as Ostara. It was also the new moon, which is even more important if you’re Pagan, and it was also a solar eclipse! We couldn’t see it here, of course, but it still happened.

Yesterday was also the day when the sun (and moon, since they were conjunct) moved from the last degree of the sign of Pisces to the first degree of Aries. Since Pisces is considered the last sign of the zodiac and Aries the first, it was essentially the zodiac New Year.

I’m no expert in astrology or Paganism or anything else, but the theme of newness in all these things is unavoidable. Newness. Fertility. Optimism. Hope.

So why have I felt like dog shit lately, emotionally?

Perhaps it is because all beginnings are also necessarily endings. Old things must crumble for new things to grow.

Old bull shit gets tiresome and needs to be tilled into the ground already so we can get on with, literally or metaphorically, planting seeds for new growth.

And, I believe, the next full moon is another one of those “Blood Moons.” The last one, I think.

Change. Growth. Transformation.

It ain’t always pretty, and it’s even less often fun. But the only real way to survive it is to dive in and surf the wave.

Think I’ll go smoke a bowl and ponder this for a while.

 

 

If you are going up to The Stanley Hotel for Leftover Salmon and Sam Bush this weekend . . .

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#1) I am rabidly, insanely, manically jealous of you!!! For reasons that are way too maddening and sad to go into much detail about, I cannot go, even though I live very, very close to Estes and The Stanley. It sucks big hairy donkey dick! And probably the less I say about it, the better.

#2) Beware! Not of the ghosts that supposedly haunt The Stanley, but of Estes Park cops and Stanley Hotel security. The town of Estes Park and The Stanley Hotel are NOT weed-friendly places! I suggest bringing your vape pen and/or edibles, and then still, be careful! Estes Park has banned both medical dispensaries and recreational stores. There are many locals who do not support legalization and basically think of cannabis users as worthless druggy scum. I am fairly certain that there will be a police presence at or near The Stanley, and I am sure that they will not hesitate to hand out tickets for public consumption. And it would not surprise me if The Stanley ejected people from the show (and possibly even the hotel, if you have a room) for smoking. Caution is highly advised.

#3) Please, if you are planning on entering Rocky Mountain National Park, see my post entitled “Covert Action.” And, again, be careful!

#4) Have an amazing, awesome, fabulous, wonderful time!! DON’T have a bad time.

Covert Action

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I’m lucky enough to live somewhat close to Rocky Mountain National Park, so a week or so ago I went there, and I consumed marijuana on federal land.

Not to encourage or condone this, but just to state a fact. That’s what I did.

Consuming marijuana on federal land is illegal, of course, and always has been, but nonetheless, in the circles I’ve traveled in, has always been SOP.

I went to a quiet, less frequented corner of the park, and I brought my vape pen, although there were so few people there that I probably could have gotten away with smoking a big, stanky bowl. Winter is not the busy tourist season at Rocky, and I only saw six vehicles and two bicyclists (naughty bicyclists! riding on the trail!) for the entire mile or so I walked. Only one of those vehicles was a Park Service vehicle, and it was a fire crew vehicle, not law enforcement.

Had I been caught, I could have received a $1000 fine plus jail time.

But, I wasn’t caught, because I was covert. I went to a secluded area during the off-season, and I vaped.

I have camped, hiked, and skied on federal lands for almost as long as I have smoked weed, and I have always  gotten stoned while doing so. With the advent of legalization, it has become both easier and more dangerous, in a way, to accomplish this.

Back in the olden days, I would have taken the standard precautions: hiked off the trail a little ways, into the trees; listened for a minute to make sure I didn’t hear any voices in the vicinity; taken care of business quickly and been on my way.

Last week, all I did was walk down the closed, snow-covered road hitting the vape and, occasionally, looking over my shoulder to make sure no one was around.

But, when something is illegal, it is almost non-existent for those straight-laced folks who do not partake. It’s like, “What are those people doing over there, honey? Certainly, they can’t be smoking marijuana! That’s illegal!”

People turn a blind eye to it. They don’t want to see it, so they don’t. They want to be able to deny any knowledge of any illegal goings on.

Once it’s legal, though, all of a sudden, it exists. People are aware of it. They know it’s around. They’re looking for it. They may not like that it’s legal, and they may be waiting for an opportunity to narc someone out. Who knows? But this increased awareness includes the po po.

I don’t think it was much of a coincidence that vape pens were perfected just in time for weed to be legal.

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Living so close to a national park, I have had occasion to meet some park rangers. Some of them are very cool. Some of them smoke weed, themselves. Others are federal Robot Rangers who cling to The Law with an iron-clad death grip. And even if they are not Law Enforcement Rangers (LE’s), someone who is is just a phone call away.

And they are starting to catch on to the vape pen thing, too, slowly. I know of one such Robot Ranger who will call in anyone who goes through her line at the entrance gate with an e-cig, because she knows that vape pens exist, but she can’t tell the difference between a vape pen and an e-cig, which is getting harder and harder to do anyway as the technology evolves.

A national park is probably one of the easier places to get busted smoking weed, if you’re not careful. Especially in a campground. National parks are more heavily staffed than other federal areas. There’s typically an entrance fee, multiple visitor’s centers, rangers everywhere. This also goes for national monuments and recreation areas.

National forests are a different thing entirely. Whole different department, actually. National parks are under the Department of the Interior, and national forests are the Department of Agriculture, if that makes any sense. It’s much easier to get away with smoking on Forest Service land than Park Service land, except maybe when the Forest Service land you’re on is a ski area.

I remember smoking joints on the chair lift, puffing bowls on the decks of on-mountain restaurants – things that really were not very covert at all. I have not been skiing in years, but I’ve heard that it’s not nearly as easy to get away with these things today. Of course the person you are most likely to get busted by would be a ski patroller, who is not a cop, so again, it’s luck of the draw. Get a cool ski patroller, maybe he’ll let you go with a warning. Get an uncool ski patroller, well, then you’re gonna have a bad time.

Yet again, though, this is another situation where a vape pen makes things so much easier!

And camping? Are you kidding me? I used to smoke bowls in my tent and exhale into my pillow. I used to wait until I had a fire going before I smoked so that I cold blow it out into the campfire smoke, thus disguising it. Now, with a vape pen, I might still go into the tent if I’m in a campground that’s crowded, but there is so little aroma associated with it that it is much less likely that other campers will be like “Honey, what’s that funny smell?”

But, do not be lulled into a false sense of security in a campground. Other campers will narc you out if they know what you are doing and disapprove. Especially in a national park campground where there are rangers all over the place. Forest Service campgrounds are much less frequently patrolled.

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So, again, I cannot recommend that anyone try to smoke on federal land in Colorado. All I can say is that I do. And, if you should choose to do so on your own with no provocation from me whatsoever, please, be covert. Don’t just do it out in the open thinking “Oh, well, it’s Colorado! It’s legal, right?” It is still as illegal as it ever was if you are on federal land.

Of course, I do envision a situation where maybe someone might not want to be covert about it. Maybe, someone, or maybe a whole big group of people, might want to join together in protesting the ridiculous federal prohibition of marijuana by staging a mass “smoke-in” on federal land? I could see it happening. Maybe. Just thinking out loud.