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Making the Outdoors Accessible to All

Published in the Durango Herald on October 23, 2012

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald

Why should the able-bodied have all the outdoor fun?

The folks at the Durango Adaptive Sports Association answer that question with a resounding, “They shouldn’t!”

During both the summer and the winter, the group provides a wide array of recreational opportunities to those with physical and cognitive disabilities, and the result is more than just a good time. It’s a world-expander, “I-can-have-an-active-life” and “I-can-do-more-than-I-thought” kind of experience.

On Thursday, the ASA held its 12th annual Harvest Gala Dinner & Auction at the Strater Hotel. The evening began with some noshing and shopping in the Henry Strater Theatre, with Strater Catering and Events serving duck-confit bruschetta, homemade spanakopita and miniature beef Wellingtons.

As always, the silent auction items at this event were astounding. There were wonderful pieces of art – Dave Sipe’s quizzical carved vulture inspired some spirited bidding – as well as jewelry and all kinds of sporting equipment and adventures.

Among the items that most sparked some conversation (pun intended) was La Plata Electric Association’s energy-efficiency basket.

And the one that caught my eye was Barry and Robin Mason’s donation of a cornucopia of goodies from Trader Joe’s.

The group moved into the Mahogany Grille for a delicious dinner created by sous chef Rob Blythe and his crew. After a green salad, guests chose between a New York strip with a mushroom demi-glace or salmon with a parsley beurre blanc (delish).

ASA has discovered a sure-fire way to get people back to the theater for the live auction: serve dessert there. The Strater served a plate of goodies at each table, which included lemon bars, chocolate-covered strawberries and a scrumptious white chocolate-raspberry cake…

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