Sunday, September 15, 2013

Jim's Place

The following postings will be very hard for me to do.  At this time I do not know how much of the road or if any of the structures are still in place.  Even worse, I fear for the safety of many of the people  I met that will be featured in the next part of this diary.

Jim is my brother-in-law, married to my sister, and together they have a house in Hilo, Hawaii.  But Jim is also a 'mountain man' and Colorado was his home for many years.  He has property and a cabin on Storm Mountain and each year in the fall he comes back for bow and arrow hunting and a reunion with old friends.

Conversely, sister Mary is a potter and, while Jim was hunting she planned to go to Italy to study potting (?) with a 'master potter'.  Since I was in Colorado it seemed a good idea to visit with Jim and explore some of that part of the state.
A few clouds were forming when I arrived in Big Thompson Canyon, but nothing to be alarmed about.

This canyon has flooded twice before in recent memory.
In 1976 an unexpected heavy rainfall high up in the canyon created a wall of water that raged down the canyon and killed 144 people.

Then, early in the morning in 1982, a hiker witnessed a break in an old earthen dam high up in Estes Park and he quickly alerted the forest rangers.  Warning went out and enough people reached higher ground that only 3 died from the resulting flood of water.

As I pulled into the campground in Drake I marveled at the beauty and serenity of this little spot nestled between the Big Thompson River and the North Thompson Creek.  Both streams looked anything but threatening.  The couple that own the campground were friends of Jim's and welcomed me with open arms.  I parked right next to their barnyard where Sigh Me could watch the zoo of chickens, pheasants, peacocks, geese and ducks. (Yep, that's an outhouse.)

Later Jim picked me up from the campground and we drove up to a friend's house (a house that Jim built some years earlier), where I met Jim's son, Sean and a few of the neighbors.

(I just love these 'mountain cabins',)

BTW, that's a box full of Palisades Peaches--and I got a few. Yum!

We had a barbecue on the back deck ....

and admired the view from high up on this mountain.  There were some signs of previous forest fires off in the distance. 

When these old friends get together is is non-stop, story-telling time.

And it was the first day of a three day music fest.  It seems that a good many of these guys are accomplished musicians.

Right about dusk a few drops of rain started to fall but nothing serious.
And Jim revealed to everyone that he was flying back to Hawaii in three days because my sister had fallen off a ladder while picking papayas and was in the hospital with a broken leg.  So the trip to Italy was canceled and the hunting trip was shelved. At the time that hardly seemed like a fortunate event.


  1. I have been looking at the pictures on and this is so sad. The loss of lives and the destruction.

  2. Luck in bad luck. Thank god Jim is here and safe and looking after Mary. But all the others up there... of course, as Mary says, they know how to survive in those places.