Mike Butler, the author of this website, has lived in Colorado and New Mexico for over 40 years, and has traveled extensively throughout the Southwest. This has enabled Mike to write five books about Colorado: Exploring Denver Mountain Parks; Around the Spanish Peaks; Great Sand Dunes National Park; Southern Colorado- O.T. Davis Collection; and Littleton. He has also written three books about New Mexico: High Road To Taos; Taos- A Pictorial Guide For Travelers; and Tracking The Chili Line Railroad To Santa Fe
Mike Butler grew up in Nebraska, attending the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, and obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Education degree. Mike always yearned to be in the mountains though, so he and his wife Mary Jane moved to Durango, Colorado and established the Avalanche Bookstore. Their bookstore specialized in books about Durango and the Southwest, particularly the Four Corners states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona. They were fortunate to meet western fiction author Louis L'Amour who had a summer home in the Durango area. L'Amour autographed his books in their bookstore several times. Upon selling their bookstore after four years, they moved to Denver where Mary Jane enjoyed a long career as manager of the Denver Art Museum Shop, and Mike was the administrative manager for the parks division of the Denver Parks and Recreation Department. After retirement, the Butlers moved to La Veta in southern Colorado, and then to Taos and Santa Fe in New Mexico.
Sunset over the Spanish Peaks near La Veta, Colorado.
Having grown up on camping trips with his parents and with his Boy Scout troop, Mike Butler was well-prepared to continue camping outings on his meager bookseller earnings in Durango. Trips to fancy hotels and resorts were never in his budget. He and Mary Jane have always traveled with a pop-up camper, a travel trailer, and finally with a motor home. Their motor home is fondly named "Nellie" as in "Whoa Nellie!" uttered many a time with brakes squealing and smoking on some downhill plunge. Durango offered great skiing opportunities at Purgatory, just 20 miles north of town. And future skiing excursions to Telluride and Wolf Creek cemented Mike's love for exploration and adventure in the mountains of southwest Colorado. In the summertime there was always jeeping and hiking trails to explore. Moving to La Veta, Colorado and then to Taos and Santa Fe in their retirement, the Butlers continued their explorations of this vast area of the Southwest. Their years of travels form the basis for guides to the best campsites, hikes, skiing, hot springs, railroad trips, and heritage sites given in Mike's website www.xplorethesouthwest.com. Why "xplore?" Simply because "explore" was already taken!
The author, Mike Butler, trekking in the Colorado mountains.