Yesterday marked the two week anniversary of the Hayden Pass Fire. This fire was the second one for us in the past 5 years. In 2011, the Duckett Fire raged up the Sangre de Cristos from the south. I could write a thesis on how we delayed moving our herd of goats down the mountains until we saw flames moving towards their mountain pasture, and how at dawn, with the help of neighbors, we tossed the kids in a trailer one by one, to transport them to safety, but that’s a story for a different day.
|Duckett Fire in June of 2011|
During both fires, we stayed put as our house is surrounded by open space--sub-irrigated meadows to the east, and plenty of grassland between us and the upper end of our family ranch which shares a fence with the National Forest as well as BLM acreage.
Up near the forest, we have a rustic two room cabin. It’s not valuable in itself, but has a memorable history. First, it used to be the bedroom of our old house, but long before that, sometime in the early 1900's, it was moved from the site of the 1882-1884 Cotopaxi Jewish Colony and spliced on to existing house to add more rooms. We lived in that house until about 1994 then dismantled it, board by board. All except for the bedroom section that we hauled back up the forest to use as a hunter’s cabin.
|Hayden Pass Fire July 2016|
During the Duckett Fire, a hot shot fire team miraculously saved the cabin. I can throw a stone from the burned trees to the small clearing where the cabin sits, and I am still amazed at how the fire crew managed to protect this structure amidst strong winds and shooting flames.
The Hayden Pass Fires was no less intense. The fire roared in from the northwest thundering down valleys and over ridges until it crossed through the same area as the Duckett Fire. This time all our livestock was down on the meadows surrounding our house. But looking west at the mountainside covered in smoke and flames, I held out little hope for the cabin being saved a second time. I mourned its loss, not for the monetary value, but for the loss of a piece of history.
|Recent photo taken after the Hayden Pass Fire|
Finally we were able to drive up to take a look, While the first fire had burned within 50 feet of the cabin to the south, the second fire had burned within shouting distance of the cabin to the west.
|Cabin seen through the standing dead trees of the Duckett Fire|
|Chimney and hearth from original house|
Cotopaxi Jewish Colony
More about the Cotopaxi Jewish Colony, click on the above link, visit http://cotopaxi-colony.com/
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