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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Zebulon Pike and Theodore Roosevelt

Compare this photo of Pikes Peak taken yesterday on the drive home from Pueblo with the one in the banner above. We have had blizzards for 4 weekends in a row and the temperature went to -14 degrees F. last night. We hope this means that our drought of many years is over. For those years we have had very little snow in the winter and next to no rain in Spring and Summer. Now the reservoirs, that we depend on for summer water, are beginning to fill up again. (Click to enlarge.)

200 year ago, this winter, Zebulon Pike and some of his men tried to climb this peak in the snow and cold, wearing summer uniforms and makeshift foot covering, because their boots had worn out while exploring to try to determine the southwestern boundary of the newly purchased Louisiana Purchase. PIke decided that no one would ever be able to climb this mountain, but today tourists drive up, there is a car race each year, and runners jog to the top. After giving up the climb and continuing their journey they were arrested by Spanish military in the San Louis Valley, south of us on the west side of the Sangre de Christo Mountains. It's probably just as well that they were taken by the Spanish because they were in bad shape from frostbite and malnutrition and were treated fairly well by the Spaniards.

A new version of Pike's Southwestern Journals was printed last year in honor of the two hundred anniversary of the expedition. It is a fascinating tale made more exciting by the fact that it happened right where I live.

On a sadder note: I am heartbroken; my dream house burned Sunday. The 110 year old De Weese Lodge was an Adirondack style log mansion built by pioneer Dal De Weese in the Lincoln Park area, south of Canon City. It even has it's own lake (reservoir) since De Weese developed an irrigation system, bringing water from the mountains, to establish the large orchard industry that blossomed (heehee)( we even have a Blossom Festival each spring) for the first three quarters of the Twentieth Century. De Weese was a world class hunter who hunted with Theodore Roosevelt and Roosevelt visited him here.

The Lodge was an architectural and historical gem for this area and is just an unbelievable loss to the community. The owners had just completed renovating the Lodge to run as a bed and breakfast and were out of town, in Denver for the Stock Show, when the fire happened. I dread driving by. No matter how often I drove past the Lodge, it enchanted me all over again.


Susan C. said...

So sorry to hear of the loss of such an important landmark. I know that's very sad for you.

Jeri said...

Oh, how sad. I'm glad the owners were away at the time, but darn it what a terrible thing to have happen. I'm so sorry.

And with the value of the moisture withstanding, aren't you getting a bit tired of the bad weather? I'm just down the road from you in the Texas Panhandle and I can tell you I am sick of this. We don't usually get this much winter weather.

Granny Fran said...

Oh yes, Jeri, I am getting tired of cold and snow but I try to not grumble since I never want to see drought like we've had again. I guess it is either snow or drought. We'll really appreciate spring this year and it should be a nice green one.

paula, the quilter said...

And I'm just up the road from you in Larimer County. I had to put snow stake at each end of out circle drive so DH wouldn't run into the block wall with the snowblower.

Debra Spincic said...

I just wish you would keep your pesky cold weather in Colorado! It is not supposed to ice over in Houston. There go the hibiscus.

Jane Ann said...

I saw something on television about the lodge fire and I hated it. Didn't know it was part of your world at the time. But it was a sad loss for everyone in the community--and the poor owners must be devastated. Makes a blizzard or two seem not so bad. At least the snow will eventually melt, but their heartbreak won't.

And thanks for the regional history lesson!