Kathy and I are house/dog sitting for some wonderful old friends here in Eagle, Colorado. Fleury, their wonder dog, is a16 year old Jack Russell that more often than not is lot more lively than us. Their home is right on the Eagle River and the word idyllic doesn’t do justice to the setting.
We need our water fix from time to time and if you sit on the patio a distant seashore back east or south doesn’t really seem too far away. My buddy Hawley used to say camping out for him was the Ramada Inn in Frisco just down the road. This is the amped up version.
You start to get why so many people crave the simple life. There is a village pathway in town. You see folks of all manner of economics just walking or riding a bike at a leisurely speed. They wave and say hello and it is not perfunctory but heartfelt. Eagle has been jazzed up and gotten a new face over the years but it has retained a charm and panache that we all knew when we moved to this glorious valley many years ago.
Back then Vail was a dopey mountain town where there was plenty of money but nobody really cared to show it off. Eagle is 30 miles from there in oh so many ways. Attitude hasn’t gotten this far west and one can only hope. There is an ornate playground that was crafted by the locals and my 7-11 year old granddaughters played there for almost two hours on Saturday while Padge read a book nearby. There were no IPhones or IPads but just little ones fabricating their own games and mysterious places.
As you sit outside you can see the sun start to stir on a mountain top nearby. It hits up high first and then snakes down the slope as that magnificent orb rises higher in the sky. It has done that every day for millennia and yet the process is still a sight to see. There is a nearby peak that is brick red just off the top. My geologist son says that was part of a shoreline many millennia ago as the Ice Age began to give way to verdant valleys. The waters ate their way through the granite century after century to come down to the floor a thousand feet below and ergo our wonderful stream. Talk about feeling insignificant.
There is an incredible sense of balance. Winter snows lay a snowpack for six months that spawn the rivulets and tributaries. The Eagle feeds into the Colorado and graces the states along its path with life giving aqua. The Western Slope to Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, California and then if there is any left to Mexico. Each should take their allotment but the Imperial Valley screams and fights for more. Arizona has to grow cotton.Somewhere along the line someone is going to get screwed for the sake of the majority. Just doesn’t seem fair somehow.
The Eagle is renowned for its fishing. You see anglers plying their craft in waders with creel in hand hoping to bag the big one. But fame is fleeting as catch and release is the rule of the day. You then watch an eagle or red hawk circle looking for a late lunch or early dinner. Birds and bugs of all sorts abound and they are not pests but neighbors to respect. We all have our place in this chain.
The whole place is like a big leather easy chair. You squirm and fidget to find just the right spot or angle. When you get it just right you sit down with a good book or a glass of red and just veg. We had a beer at a place called the Dusty Boot on Saturday. We sat out on the deck where the rule on footwear was flip flops only. The chalk board said shots of Irish Whiskey were three dollars. Who knows what the brand was but it was a little too early to start. Some didn’t exhibit such patience.
They had a wine and mushroom festival last weekend. No, not the shrooms you are thinking of. A Baby Boomer with braided grey hair was the impresario. He laid out a blue tarp and every one displayed their best chanterelles. Over the years ball caps have replaced Stetsons but the Hispanics still wear straw. Everyone is welcome and part of the community. Any other place this would have seemed very strange and retro. Here it was modus operandi.
Now everyday we are here you seem to slow down just a bit more. Some of you might say this is LaLa and not real. On the other hand one is forced to wonder if this isn’t more real than any place on earth? The melodrama of the stock market is miles away and not just geographically. I peruse the Denver Post in a matter of moments. Mayhem on a bullet train in France. A trooper in Louisiana gunned down by a drunk he was trying to help. Pardon me while I switch over to the Vail Daily.
I have taken reams of notes on all sorts of topics. I hope I can impart some of those thoughts to you in future Ted’s Heads. They are in there. I just hope I can do them justice. It’s just good to come out of the fray and do some fun thinking. I hope this has caused you to do some too.
Ted The Great
Eagle County encompasses some 1900 square miles. The population is around 50,000. The US Government and I guess that means us owns about 80% of all the property. It is split into national forests and BLM(Bureau of Land Management) property.
The town of Eagle is the county seat and home to 6500 people.
Vail is home to around 5300 people.
It is also the third largest ski area in the United States. It opened in 1962 and the town was incorporated in 1966. Vail Mountain rises from 8,120 feet to 11,570 feet, giving a vertical height of 3,450 feet. It has a 5,289 acres skiable area, 33 ski lifts, 193 marked skiing trails on three faces: the front side, the back bowls, and Blue Sky Basin. If you are from the East don’t ever ski there because you will never go back to the blue ice of Vermont.
Hummingbirds….They are known as hummingbirds because of the humming sound created by their beating wings which flap at high frequencies audible to humans. They hover in mid-air at rapid wing-flapping rates, typically around 50 times per second, allowing them also to fly at speeds exceeding 35 mph backwards.
The golf ball flies farther at high altitudes: The air is less dense, so there is less friction to slow the orb’s forward motion. The figure 10% is used as a differential although either they are mistaken or I am getting older.