Friday, May 8, 2009

409 Ryan Gulch Road

I have been thinking a lot of my place in the mountains of Colorado. Why – I can’t quite say. I guess I am missing it as it has been several months since I have been there. The last time Zack and I traveled to our “mountain house” was for my birthday weekend back in January. For whatever reason, a lot of things went on this winter that prevented us from going there. I really hope with the coming of summer we will be spending a large amount of time there. Our “mountain house” is nothing fancy. It is a 960 square foot, two bedroom condo in the Summit County town of Silverthorne. It is located in a development called Wildernest that is built on the side of a well-known mountain called – Buffalo Mountain. We have owned this place for almost seven years. I purchased it in September of 2002. During these last seven years it has played a large part in our lives. However due to the various constraints of the last several years we haven’t spent as much time there as I would have liked. It is a one of 24 units in condo complex called “Deck Gore”. I have no idea how it got its name. It was built in the late 1970’s and has seen many changes during the last 30 years. Our unit is located in building 4. Due to a fire in 1984 much of our building was rebuilt. During the summer of 2004 we were on our way up to our condo when we noticed some smoke in Wildernest when we were getting off of I-70. We didn’t really pay it too much attention right away as it wasn’t that much. However, after making a very quick stop at the City Market in Dillon we knew something major was going on because of how much smoke was now rising above all of Wildernest. As we drove up the hill I went from saying “Wow something near our condo complex is on fire” to “One of the buildings in our complex is on fire!!” Sure enough as we approached our complex we saw that building 2 was fully engulfed in flames. It was a HUGE fire. It was so big and so hot that it had caught building 3 on fire also. Building 3 is located 30 feet away from building 2. Thankfully the Silverthorne Fire Department was able to get the fire under control before building 3 became full involved. Nonetheless building 2 was an entire loss. On top of the damage to the building – 2 dogs perished in the fire. It left us feeling very bad. Though our building wasn’t damaged at all, it put a pall on our enjoyment of the condo for that summer. The deck of condo looks directly out on Building 2 so there was literally nothing we could do to avoid seeing the devastation and destruction. It took about 10 months but the building was eventually fully rebuilt and is now much safer. (The fire was caused by a welder who was doing work on a new hand rail that was being installed on the steps. He didn’t use a spark arrester and a spark settled in the wood of the stairwell and eventually lead to the fire.) Despite the history with the fire in 2004, the condo is our sanctuary and place of refuge. It is amazing to me how all the stresses I feel in the world magically vanish when I walk in the door of the condo. It is like they are all gone all at once. The condo is just very comfortable. We haven’t put any large sums of money into the decorations or anything, but it is just very nicely done and provides a wonderful environment in which to kick back and relax. We have all the comforts of home at the condo. Plus we have a wood burning fireplace in the living room which enables me to make the most tasty toasted marshmallows! Yes – I am the ultimate chef of toasted marshmallows. Zack insists that I make at least 7 or 8 of them for him every time we have a fire. Slowly but surely I am passing along my knowledge of making the perfect roasted marshmallow to him. It will probably take another 5 years of training but I am sure he will eventually become a toasted marshmallow chef to rival even me!
(Zack roasting marshmallows in the fireplace.)
(Lex hanging out in the master bedroom.)
We use the condo as a base for our hiking adventures in the high mountains. There are so many wonderful and beautiful hikes within just a short drive or our condo. It is great to be able to go on some really great hikes and then return to the comfort of the condo instead of having to spend the night camping out in the high mountain cold. Additionally, if we walk out of our condo and head to the west for about 100 yards we reach the White River National Forest. From there we have access to literally hundreds of miles of hiking trails and dozen of 12,000 feet plus mountains. The view from the condo is pretty good. Unfortunately with the large occurrence of pine beetles the panorama that we see from our living room windows has become largely brown and dead. The view from the windows in our living room looks out to the east and north at the Williams Fork Range of mountains. These mountains are relatively untouched and much of the land in this range is part of the Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness Area. I can spend the entire day sitting on my couch looking out at that view. It is gorgeous, though I do realize it is going to change for the rest of my life time as the pine beetle is doing such tremendous damage and is killing off all the trees.

(View from our living room windows out on the William's Fork range.)

As we approach the summer season I do plan to be there at our “mountain house” a lot more. I am sure I will be writing about a large number of hiking adventures that Zack and I have while at our “mountain house”. As for the day-to-day happenings in our lives – things have been very busy. For the last 3 days or so, I have been dealing with a very difficult situation at work. I have had a lot of work to do just to get things right with one of the projects I am leading. It is a complicated situation that would take way too long to describe. Thankfully in the last 24 hours things have been getting better so I am hopeful the corner has been turned with this situation. Tomorrow – Friday – Zack has the day off from school. I have a number of early morning conference calls that I must do, but after that I am planning on taking the rest of the day off and doing some things with the Z-man. Our current plan is to head to the zoo for a good part of the day. We then have to be back here in this neck of woods by 3:00PM for Zack’s appointment with Dr. Jane. At 4:30PM we then have to attend a reception at Sylvan. I am sure we will have a fun day tomorrow! Anyway – I hope everyone had a great day. Thanks and peace to all! – J.

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