The Mountain Way

Spring                                                                                 Recovery Moon

Kate, BJ, Ruth, solar eclipse 2017 at BJs Idaho house
Kate, BJ, Ruth, solar eclipse 2017 at BJs Idaho house

Kate’s sister BJ comes tomorrow for the weekend. She and her s.o. Schecky were out here in September, a planned visit to see our house, but they came the day Kate went into the hospital. They took me to a Japanese restaurant for sushi the night Kate had her hemicolectomy. It was a kind thing to do. I needed the break. Look forward to seeing her.

Had lunch with Alan Rubin yesterday. He’s auditioning for a part in Cabaret, another Ovation West production. You might recall he was in “Funny Girl” which Kate and I saw last fall. He’s taken to retirement by becoming a performer. Taking voice lessons, learning music theory, and this year becoming President of the Ovation West board. He and I were teaching the religious school class until I had to quit due to too much stuff going on at home. A good friend.

John came by and fixed my john. Apparently I blew the seal plunging out a clog. Geez. Water under pressure is powerful. Just ask all those folks in Nebraska. Interesting article about the one guy who manages all the Army Corps of Engineers dams on the Missouri River. He chooses whether to let dams fail or send more water downstream to already flooded farms and towns. Another one the next day wrote about the 25 states under risk for extreme flooding as this winter’s cold begins to loosen, melt snow and ice. When a severe winter like this last one thaws, if it comes too soon, the water hits frozen land. No buffer in the land, just like flooding a parking lot.

Walking and Hiking in Bear Country   Your neighborhood is bear country, too!
Walking and Hiking in Bear Country Your neighborhood is bear country, too!

Up here getting a tradesperson out to the house, really tradesmen since I’ve not yet encountered a female plumber, electrician, handyman (though I’m sure they exist somewhere), often depends on a personal relationship. Herb, of H2O plumbing, ignored my phone message. He didn’t remember that I was the guy who lived in Andover when he lived in Nowthen. When I got him on the phone, he remembered and got a guy over here in two hours. Like living in a small town.

The mountain way. Had to take the garbage and recycling bins back inside the garage. The bears are awake. Bears can smell food, the Colorado Dept. of Natural Resources says, from five miles away. I still don’t let the dogs out at dawn or dusk because of mountain lion predation. All the critters are hungry as the snow melts, food’s been a scarce resource for a while now, just like every winter.

Toward Evergreen
Toward Evergreen

Another interesting part of the mountain way, driving up here. Roads in the mountains, except for I-70 are neither straight nor multiple lanes. Hwy 285, a divided four lane now past Conifer, devolves into a curvy up and down two lane (with the occasional passing lane) as it heads toward Bailey and Park County. The rest are two lane, no passing, winding. No sight lines beyond the next curve up and down.

It took a while to learn, but there is a code. Leave the person in front of you a healthy distance since deer or elk might be standing in the road around the next bend. Don’t go too fast or too slow. Stay alert. If somethings ahead, either wildlife or Jeffco sheriff’s deputies, blink your lights at oncoming traffic. This confused me at first since it was the signal you had left your lights on back in the old days before car lights turned off by themselves.

Two sorts of drivers violate this unspoken code. The first, most of us grant license, are tourists. We have two spots on Black Mountain Drive/Brook Forest Drive (same road), Upper and Lower Maxwell Creek, that draw crowds from the Denver area each nice day. There are also folks staying in Evergreen in one of the many cabins or motels who wander out of town for a drive in the mountains. Many of these drivers brake at every curve, even going uphill, which is silly since the mountain will brake for you if you let up on the gas.

Guanella Pass, 2015
Guanella Pass, 2015

The second type are residents who have to get down the mountain thirty seconds faster than you do. They’re the ones who’ll put you in danger. I haven’t seen it, but others write of people who pass them. Passing on these roads is like spinning a roulette wheel with your life and somebody else’s. Others will crowd up on your bumper. As if that changes the physical reality we both face. Flick their lights in your mirror. You know.

Mostly driving here is sedate since the roads don’t really offer a safe alternative. I like that since it gives me a chance to savor the rocks, the trees, the peaks and valleys while moving at a speed safe enough even if I encounter a bouncy young fawn or calf or a whole herd of elk.