In July, we spent a rainy weekend camping near this lovely ghost town. The weather was wet but we managed to stay dry, even without a campfire.
It took us a long time to find our home when we moved to Colorado. We looked at tons of houses. There were a few that we could have settle for, but none that we were excited about. Until we found this house. It is nestled on the edge of the neighborhood, with a creek and a walking path that leads to a large park in the back. (It was important to us to find a house with no neighbors directly behind us!) The best amenity of all is our deck with a beautiful view of Pikes Peak.
We have lived in Colorado for just over a year and we still can’t believe it’s real. Although, for me, I think it is finally sinking in.
This morning I decided to sit on the deck to enjoy my coffee and write a blog post. Our deck is our little slice of heaven in this world. The mornings are shaded and cool and smell of sweet Colorado. It is a great place to take advantage of the quiet before the noise of the day begins. I love my quiet mornings.
However, I had no idea how distracting nature can be! (Almost as distracting as three children!) Young and old birds are singing, flying over, and visiting the bird feeder. Rabbits are chasing each other playfully in the rocks. Hummingbirds are buzzing and drinking up the sugar water. All, of course, faster than I can capture them with my camera! I’m sure speed will come with getting to know my camera. Just keep shooting I tell myself. Practice makes better. Speed will come. Confidence will come. And, beautiful captures that I will want to show the world will follow.
Today I missed two grosbeaks at the bird feeder. Twice. The older and younger birds flew in separately and when I moved for my camera they flew away. Technically, I missed four shots. So, tomorrow I think I’ll just sit with my coffee and my camera and see if I can catch them.
I think I hear the morning squeal from my six year old. Let the noise begin.
Tuesday, June 26th, the day I wrote my last blog post, was a horrible day for Colorado Springs. Around 4:00 that afternoon the Waldo Canyon fire spread in a fury that no one could predict. The fire jumped two canyons and caught 65 mph winds at the top of the ridges. It barreled down the mountain side uncontrollably. I heard that the fire was moving at a pace of one mile every five minutes. I don’t know if that is true, but it moved very quickly. So far, 346 homes are confirmed destroyed. The most homes lost in the Colorado’s history. I have not heard of injuries but I did hear that few people may be missing.
Tuesday was heartbreaking. I drove to a few spots where I could get a few photos of the fire. Both of the places I went to were crowded. People were somber, talking in low whispers. I’m sure others were as thankful as I was that my home was not in the path of the fire. My heart goes out to the families that will be starting over. Posessions can be replaced. Life can not. Memories will live on and new ones will be made. Colorado Springs will recover.
My thanks go out to the over 1,100 brave men and women that are battling this fire.
The last two days we have had lighter winds and some cloud cover which helps keep the temperature down. They have made some headway against this fire. It is now 15% contained.
The photo below was taken from the Cottonwood Creek path just behind my house. I walked down a few houses. The lights on the left are at the softball fields at Cottonwood Creek Park. This was about 4:30 pm when the fire started down the mountain. The black smoke worsened, covered our house, and filled the north side of town. It was very eerie.
This photo was taken from the parking lot of a church at E. Woodmen and Lexington just before 10 pm. I believe this is the Mountain Shadows neighborhood on fire.
After the church parking lot I drove to the East Library on Union.
The smell of smoke is overwhelming and my heart is heavy today. I thought about writing this while enjoying my morning coffee out on the deck but the smoke kept me inside. Often I raise my nose to the sky to smell the sweet aroma of Juniper trees, wildflowers, and sandbar willows. Colorado smells so good. Fresh. Sweet. Like a favorite perfume. Today that delightful scent has been extinguished.
The fire in Waldo Canyon near Colorado Springs started on Saturday. It is now the top priority in the nation. It has been so sad to watch the forest burn from my back deck. Last night we ate dinner on the deck and watched flames come over the ridge and start down the mountain and saw the glow of a fire that started in a new area. Later, as we crawled into our nice comfortable beds my thoughts were with the thousands of people that have been evacuated from their homes. Thankfully, as of this writing, only one small structure had been lost. (Unlike the fires near Fort Collins and Estes Park which have consumed hundreds of homes.) I found a report that a shed at a nearby summer camp had been lost. This so happens to be the camp where my nephew is supposed to spend the first week in July.
Our nephew and his family arrived for a hockey tournament the day the fire started. The plan was to stay for the tournament, play in Colorado Springs and the surrounding area, then drop him off at camp. Many of the tourist areas that we would love to show off to our visitors have been closed. So, we sit. And watch. And pray.
I had a dream last night that my husband, Mike, and I looked out our bedroom window to see a house on fire one street over and a mountain on fire in another direction. I was a mess. Thankfully it was just a dream. We are a safe distance from the fire. Not threatened by the flames. Our hearts go out to those who cannot return home. With just 5% containment, there is no saying when they will be able to return. And when they are able to return, will they have lost everything?
Over the last few days talk of arson has sprung up. Officials are asking residents if they were in the canyon and noticed anything suspicious on Saturday. It is hard to imagine someone starting a fire on purpose, though I know it is reality.
Pikes Peak is on the far left. The smoke you see on the left is the south side of the fire. It has burned all the way up that ridge and started on the next.