I loved our six years there but life in the mountains at 8000 feet is rigorous to say the least. LOVED the summers when we could explore in the high country and do art shows throughout the region.
Winter was beautiful but our world became very small unless we were able to hop on an airplane. Other wise in the winter it was one way in, one way out. You had to carry extra clothes, food, water and chains, "just in case." You could be swept off the road and down a cliff with no warning in an avalanche or rock slide. One time I was the last one over Independence Pass before they closed it due to the snow, when they opened it back up they found a motor home that had gone off the road, and had slid 200 feet down the cliff, and the person was still in it. Scary.
So when I picked up Bruce Bergers book, Notes of a Half-Aspenite it set off a cascade of memories and got me thinking about some of the people we knew there.
One was an artist friend Connie Madsen. We were both members of the Prince of Peace Chapel artists. Here is a photo I just found online, I look so young! I guess I was, it was 25 years ago.
Another talented friend was Mary Eshbaugh Hayes, Photographer and writer.
Boy one story just leads to another ... how I got the job at the Aspen Times was that I filled in for Tee Child doing typesetting, she then retired and I stayed on. I also did the pasteup of the newspaper. That was fun, we had all the pages laid out in a room and we would walk from one page to the next. Printing was a lot different then than it is today, pc's were just beginning to be used. We set type with a typesetting machine which spit out strips of type which we put wax on the back then stuck it down into position on the paper.
I met Mary at a party at Tee's house. How I met Tee and Bob Child was at Windstar. She and Bob owned property on Capital Creek between Windstar and the St Benedict's Monestary. Conservationists from day one, they did a lot for the community. I'm sure they would be shocked to see what the ranch was listed for in 2012. There is little available flat land in the Roaring Fork and adjacent valleys making this a very valuable piece of property. In our little valley were a lot of interesting people I may have talked about before. When we lived there some of the famous residents of the valley were Jimmy Buffet, Glen Frey, and Goldie Hawn probably being the most famous, John lived in Starwood, a high dollar development on the east side of the Roaring Fork Valley on the edge of Aspen.
By the time you get to Windstar the valley opens up into Capitol Creek Valley. This is right on the edge of the wilderness. You pass the Monestary as you follow Capitol Creek Road it eventually climbs to the tree line. It ends in a spot very high near Haystack Mountain. We were told by Tom Crum, John's partner in Windstar, that that is the spot where John got his inspiration for writing Rocky Mountain High.
Going back to what I started writing about, I can't remember how I met Bruce, who prompted this rant, but I think it was through the Aspen Arts Council where I worked with Dutch Hodges. We were a two man band. He lived in this interesting little log house at the end of Main St. which I think is still there and I think he still owns. I visited him there one day, can't remember why now but remember the house was jam packed full of books. It was built in the 40's by famed architect Fritz Benedict who built many houses in Aspen and worked with and was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright.