24 September 2023

Ah, We Bearly Knew Him

You know those times where you reflect back on some unfortunate event like a car wreck and start thinking if only I had lingered five more minutes over coffee, then I wouldn't have been in that intersection and been hit by that red-light runner. Or maybe, if I had left home ten minutes earlier, then congested traffic wouldn't have made me late for that important morning meeting and the boss wouldn't be giving me the stink eye. Yep, time and timing can be important to you and yours.

Now, as they say, every story should start at the beginning. So, that's where we're headed.

It was early last July and I had one of those high numbered birthdays coming up, one I wasn't keen to celebrate. Recognizing my mood, my wife decided we were going on a four-night- attitude-check car trip. She packed us up and off we went west from Denver on I-70 to Glenwood Springs, the confluence of the Colorado River and the Roaring Fork River. Due to massive rain storms, both were close to overflowing their banks. On the Colorado, we stopped several times to watch white-water rafters test their skills against the turbulent water. 

On the south bank, underneath the four-lane bridge crossing the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs is an area known as the Underground. It is a street consisting of restaurants, breweries and shops. If you like BBQ, then try Smoke's BBQ. Even the Amtrak stops in this part of Glenwood within a half block of a brewery.

Less than hour south of Glenwood is the historic village of Redstone, where a good breakfast or lunch can be had at the old hotel. Across the Crystal River from Redstone sets remnants of about 25-30 coke ovens and the railroad tracks that freight trains used to transport the coke to industrial furnaces during the early 1900s.

Within ten years of being built, the coke ovens shut down and the railroad went away. In the  1960s, hippies moved in and used the ovens as temporary housing. 
Now, the ovens are listed in the National Register.

Headed back to Glenwood Springs, if one is familiar with the area, there is a place along the Crystal River where hot springs bubble out of a high river bank and people have stacked up rocks to make their own rough hot tubs. It's free to all, just bring your bathing suit, however there are no changing rooms available.

Returning east on I-70 from Glenwood, the interstate becomes an over and under highway construction due to the narrowness of Glenwood Canyon. Two hours past scenic Hanging Lake, we turned south to Keystone, a village consisting mainly of condos for skiers in the winter time. Here, we continued our private brewery and bakery tour in places such as the Dillion Dam Brewery and the Blue Moon Bakery. Tasty stuff.

We checked into the Hyatt Hotel in Keystone for a two-night stay. Behind the hotel is a one-car-deep parking lot, a two-mile long walking path which passes behind several condos and partially borders a marsh and the Snake River out back. The marsh teems with fish, ducks and beaver, while Chickadees and Humming Birds flit through the mountain air above. A few old boardwalks cross the marsh from one side to the other. Pairs of older folks walked their lap dogs on the path, as did young kids with their dogs. A peaceful scene.

A little before dusk, Kiti and I finished our two-mile walk and went up to our second floor room overlooking the path and some of the marsh. Just before dark, Kiti was watching the beaver swim around when she happened to look over to where we had left the walking path a scant few minutes earlier. And, there came a big brown bear down that same path. He walked past three fence posts, climbed over the top wood rail and wandered into the marsh. Kiti was so surprised that she couldn't get her cell phone camera organized quick enough to get a closer photo. For some time after, we wondered what if we, or the old folks and their dogs, or the young kids and their dogs had been walking on that path a little later? Or, what if the bear had come earlier? Those dogs would have been no more than an appetizer to that bear. And me, I don't run so good any more. Then, a few short minutes after the bear, a man came walking up the path carrying a pizza box in both hands. If that box contained a hot pizza, I'm pretty sure that the aroma of hot toppings would have settled any discussion of ownership had those two met face to face.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, timing can be everything.

So, as you pass through life, keep your eyes open and always be aware of your surroundings. Otherwise, under the wrong circumstances, you could end up exiting this world as........ 


  1. That's a great story - I think I'll go for a walk!

  2. That was fun! I'm perfectly happy to let bears go their own way, and apparently they're happy to not to mess with a federal agent. It worked out well for everyone.


Welcome. Please feel free to comment.

Our corporate secretary is notoriously lax when it comes to comments trapped in the spam folder. It may take Velma a few days to notice, usually after digging in a bottom drawer for a packet of seamed hose, a .38, her flask, or a cigarette.

She’s also sarcastically flip-lipped, but where else can a P.I. find a gal who can wield a candlestick phone, a typewriter, and a gat all at the same time? So bear with us, we value your comment. Once she finishes her Fatima Long Gold.

You can format HTML codes of <b>bold</b>, <i>italics</i>, and links: <a href="https://about.me/SleuthSayers">SleuthSayers</a>