Fresh snowfall on Mounts Lindsay and Blanca the first day of summer, June 21.
Recreational hunting ranch near La Veta Pass on the western slope Colorado's Sangre De Cristo Mountains, at roughly 8,700 feet above sea level.
Fresh snowfall on Mounts Lindsay and Blanca the first day of summer, June 21.
The ranch is located inside the original boundaries of the Republic of Texas. The Rio Grande is the border to the west, about 35 miles away in Alamosa, and the Arkansas River the northern border through Pueblo CO.
Every time we post a map showing the Republic of Texas with its original borders, someone (sometimes several someones) will respond with, "Ski Texas!"
We surely gave up more than we knew in the Compromise of 1850. Who would have guessed that Santa Fe County and the old "stovepipe" panhandle encompassed lands that would become some of the finest ski resorts in the world?
We decided to indulge our imaginations and play the "what if" game.
What if Texas had remained a republic? What if she stayed independent and found the capital to build ports and railroads? What if she prospered and grew?
What would you say to that? Ski Texas!
This print titled (what else?) Ski Texas is what we imagine would be seen in railroad stations back east during the 1920s.
The Republic of Texas Tourism Bureau was doing a fine job, don't you think?
Click the link for a better look:
Our ranch hummingbirds have become almost tame. This one, sadly, was a bit of a rescue. It flew inside and lodged itself between two wooden window sashes. It was impossible to move the upper sash more than a few inches because, at various points, its wing or even its torso, were lodged in the middle, where the sashes overlap.
I tried to remove it gently with a pen (for it to perch on), then by tugging gently on the wings (some small feathers dislodged), and finally — this was amazing — by putting thumb and index finger on its beak and gently pulling it out. I was worried as its throat/gullet extended on such a tiny bird.
After it was rescued from the window, it flew full force into the kitchen window and stunned itself. I picked it up, and it quickly revived. And sat with me on my finger for several minutes chirping and generally happy until it flew away.
I was worried it may have been harmed by losing feathers or a damaged wing or by the concussion with the kitchen window, but it has come back to the feeder at least twice and seems to fly well, so I am confident it is mostly unharmed.
Views from deck this evening, as the day gives way to star showers.
Hummingbird up close and personal on the deck overlooking the mountains.
Mount Shavano Ranch CO, which is 40 miles north of the New Mexico border and roughly 35 miles east of the Rio Grande River, lies within the mapped territory of the original Republic of Texas. The map even has detailed outlines of the East and West Spanish Peaks, and Mounts Blanca and Lindsey, which are visible from the Ranch. Great Sand Dunes National Park, on the opposite side of Mount Blanca, was originally a Texas park. Lol.
On February 19, 1846 the last President of the Republic of Texas handed over the reins of power to the first Governor of the State of Texas and the Lone Star took its place in the American constellation.
The Republic of Texas was no more. The Great State of Texas was born.
And that state was in a far different form than the one we know today.
The founding fathers of the Republic of Texas had set their sights far in 1836. The republic they defined encompassed the entire eastern half of what is now New Mexico, including Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos. The panhandle they described was in the shape of a stovepipe running all the way north to the 42nd parallel.
How far north is that?
Today the 42nd parallel makes up the borders between California and Oregon in the west, and between Pennsylvania and New York in the east. It runs through Lake Erie and Lake Michigan.
In fact, Point Pelee, Ontario lies just south of the 42nd degree north latitude, meaning that southern-most Canada lay south of northern-most Texas.
Claiming the 42nd parallel placed the northern border of Texas in what is now Carbon County, Wyoming.
In Philadelphia, Samuel Augustus Mitchell was busy satisfying the public’s demand for details about the newest state. Mitchell liked details. That’s why he was the first map publisher in the United States to switch from copper plate engraving to steel. Steel produced finer detail.
The map you see here was produced that same year. Which makes it valuable to collectors of Texas maps. Original 1846 folding copies sell for over $10,000.
Our limited edition reproduction is of the much rarer wall version, which features a distinctive flowering vine border and corner embellishments. It never comes up for sale at the auction houses and this is the first time it has been reproduced.
This is the first time it has been reproduced. It's an instant heirloom to be passed down to your children and grandchildren.
Click the link below to see it in all it's glory:
Photo taken from Forbes Park, the large subdivision just a few miles southwest of us where more than one hundred homes burned. An absolutely beautiful setting, with a gorgeous mountain lake at its southern end. Pretty much everything north of the lake burned.
Heartbreaking before-and-after photos from the top of La Veta Pass, courtesy Colorado DOT. The fire is now 105,000 acres and 35% contained. Still burning on the north side of the Pass.
An arsonist started the 103,000 acre Spring Fire only four or so miles from our property. On the first night, it rapidly came within a mile or so of our property and seemed certain to overwhelm us. Our friends were pulling a handful of pictures and some guns from the house when Sheriff's deputies came to order an immediate evacuation, which is still in place.
At one point, the fire burned 956 acres per hour -- or an astounding 16 acres per minute -- in 26 hours, growing 25,000 acres in that same period.
And yet the fire and the winds conspired to push the conflagration to the east and southeast, consuming almost an entire neighborhood of homes in the 5,000-acre Forbes Park neighborhood that is mere miles from our location. (We own property there that has been destroyed.) It then swept further northeast and southeast, encroaching on La Veta Pass and the towns of La Veta and Cuchara, jumping the highway and consuming two segments of large Rocky Mountain ranges.
The fire spread at least 25 miles in one direction and perhaps 35 or more in another direction, and yet never burned that one mile from it closest approach to our house. Our 7,500-acre complex was more or less surrounded on all three sides, but not a blade of grass was burned.
We feel fortunate that our house and property were spared, but grieve for our close friends who lost homes and other families. The fire was, as of this morning, the third largest in the state's history and also the third largest destroyer of homes in its history.
It was 5% contained (precisely along our southeast edge) when the day began. Fortunately, significant rain storms finally came today and, while posing some flood and mudslide threats, enabled firefighters to achieve 35% containment by day's end. Historic Cuchara Village appears to have been saved, at least for now, and La Veta seems out of the woods, so to speak.
Unspeakable damage to homes, families and lives, as well as ecological damage that will still be evident 100 years from now. The once pristine and absolutely gorgeous landscape, with high meadows and tall forests, with stunning views of the Rockies in all directions are now charred ruins. The sadness is overwhelming. We pray for this community and the restoration of homes, lives and landscapes. https://www.denverpost.com/2018/07/05/size-speed-spring-creek-wildfire/
If you took the 250-foot elevator ride up to the viewing platform at Elitch Garden’s observation tower, the flames from the Spring Creek Fire burning in southern Colorado would still rise ano…
This morning's news -- the Spring Fire surrounding the ranch is now over 103,000 acres and on pace to be the second largest in Colorado history by day's end. The fire is burning most heavily now in the northwest, which has potentially detrimental effects for us. Rain -- perhaps heavy rain -- is forecast for today. That is both a blessing and a curse in that, while it may dampen the fire, there is great potential for heavy and dangerous flooding in areas that are scarred and burned. This photo was taken last night.
Some horrendous and terrifying pictures from the #springfire Twitter feed. La Veta Pass and Forbes Park were among the most beautiful places in Colorado. Now charred ruins.
Fire is 94,000 acres this morning and growing. Now the third largest fire in state history and also the third largest in terms of number of homes destroyed.
The number of homes is currently based on verified inspections. That number will surely climb once the smoke settles, so to speak.
Also, the fire is now expanding into the more populated Cuchara Valley. Which is such a shame — absolutely gorgeous area of the state. Red McCombs used to own major properties there — had opened a ski area in Cuchara for a time.
The ranch house and all of our immediate neighbors are thus far spared the destruction. And even our views, as of now, are unaffected. That could easily change. But the small bit of containment being reported is around our 5,000-acre complex of ranches.
We are surrounded on three sides, and the fire started very close and came much closer. It has now travelled twenty-five, thirty or even more miles to the north and east since it started basically in our area. .
The #springfire has now consumed roughly 80,000 acres, or 69 square miles. The ranch house was in danger when it was merely 750 acres, as the fire started within a very short distance, relatively speaking. Hundreds of homes in a gorgeous area nearby were destroyed, and the large neighborhood, once one of the most beautiful in the state, now resembles the aftermath of Mt. St. Helens or a nuclear bomb. Two of our three close friends in the area lost their houses. Through some fluke of wind and vegetative fuel, the fire wrapped itself around the 5,000-acre Wagon Creek complex and has since travelled twenty-five or more miles to the east and to the north. We are surrounded on three sides, but the 5% containment refers to the containment of our Wagon Creek ranch. So, while our property is relatively safe (never guaranteed), the loss to friends and community, and the natural beauty, is immeasurable. We are heartbroken for our adopted community.
58,000 acres of devastation, and still growing, due to an "undocumented" immigrant from Denmark with posted anarchist and anti-semitic views and suffering from extreme paranoia. The fire is now 5-10% contained, and that containment is around the ranch property and house, along with that of my neighbors in our 5,000 acre complex. While we are grateful that our houses are spared, our community and natural surroundings are absolutely devastated. Hundreds burned out and evacuated from their homes. A genuine tragedy caused by a derange human being.
According to all news outlets, BREAKING: Costilla County Sheriff's Office confirms Jesper Jorgensen is in custody for arson, accused of starting #SpringFire. Mount Shavano Ranch demands maximum sentence, restitution, and public flogging. Burned tree sap and feathering. I suspect (pun intended) that courtroom will be full with lines out the door.
Photo taken today at the west side of La Veta Pass as the fire surpasses 38,000 acres. La Veta pass is one of the most gorgeous mountain passes in the Rockies. What a shame that it will be deeply scarred for a generation or more. Winds shifting tonight east, which could potentially push fires back toward the ranch house. Hoping that area is fully burned with little fuel and dry underbrush.
3-Dimensional image of the Spring Creek fire which started due to "human cause" very near the Ranch and burned within a mile or so of the house and property. If the northwest perimeter of the fire holds in place, the ranch will not only be spared, but the view from the ranch house will be largely unaffected by the devastation in every other direction.
This gargantuan #springfire came within a mile or so of the ranch house and property. We are not necessarily out of the woods yet, however, as the fire is now officially 28,000 acres and expanding rapidly. Some indications it is nearing 40,000. The stunning Cuchara River valley is now subject to mandatory evacuation as the flames advance unrelentingly toward that most beautiful location — a true gem. Some of our favorite vistas, hangouts and hikes are in that area, where many people vacation in the summer. The river and the forests are pristine. Praying for the people, the homes and true Landacape, which is truly unique. This is a photo take from Hwy 12 between Cuchara and La Veta. Absolutely frightening.
The absolutely stunning nighttime video from this Tweet shows the Costilla Fire approaching Highway 160 near La Veta Pass.and the Huerfano County line. Trees are exploding from the heat. https://twitter.com/jshermanwx/status/1012699906258006018?s=21
“From last night....crazy video #springfire https://t.co/HNKRzSJcTI”
Fire is now officially at 24,000 acres, having grown from 750 acres 43 hours ago. Officials now saying that it has expanded even more since that estimate. It is like the Cat 4 or EF-5 of wild fires. The ranch house is apparently untouched so far, but the fire reached within a mile or so. https://denver.cbslocal.com/2018/06/29/spring-fire-costilla-county/amp/?__twitter_impression=true
The size of a wildland fire in Costilla County exploded overnight -- from 4,000 acres on Thursday to nearly 24,000 acres on Friday.
This video is awful to behold. A stunning mountain pass and valley torched. One of a handful of mountain roads designated as official scenic byways in Colorado. http://www.cpr.org/news/story/watch-spring-fire-in-costilla-county-continues-to-grow-closes-us-160
The Spring Fire has exploded in size to more than 14,000 acres according to the Colorado Division of Fire and Prevention Control.
The fire has more than tripled again -- nearly twenty times the size it was at 5 pm yesterday at 14,000 acres, according to the State. The fire is moving largely to the east north east -- it has consumed more than half the large subdivision to the west, including the newly-built home of the Dutch and Austrian couple who sold me my house. The fire has moved closer to the property, but there are some natural fire breaks between us and the fire line, so that is hopeful. Smoke smell is so heavy in Colorado Springs now that it is all through the house more than 2 hours away, and Pueblo is reporting ash fallout.
Major expansion in the #springfire burning between Fort Garland and La Veta Pass. Now being reported at 3,200 acres (up from 750 acres yesterday afternoon), and still zero-percent contained. Reports of 30-mph winds at La Veta Pass, providing super fuel for this blaze.
Morning update on #springfire raging dangerously close to ranch house. It is now 2,000 acres, and our home and those of all our neighbors are under mandatory evacuation. All roads leading in from the highway to our properties are closed. No word on whether any homes, including ours, have burned over night.
Zero percent containment is the worst statistic about this fire. It will expand even more when the winds pick up.
Fire is always a danger in the mountain west, but the heavy snowpack — usually very heavy — generally reduces risk in our region near La Veta pass. This past year, there was virtually no snow. We have been worried about this possibility for months now.
One theory is that the scenic railroad that runs nearby sparked the fire. At least I am happy that we expanded our firebreak dramatically last year.
The ranch house is subject to evacuation at this moment due to the #springfire currently burning 1,200 acres in the vicinity. The fire is moving rapidly m in the ranch’s direction. Massive smoke plumes and flames visible from hill. No vehicles allowed to enter area and evacuation notices being posted for entire area. https://www.denverpost.com/2018/06/27/costilla-county-wildfire-spring-fire/
A wildfire in Costilla County grew to 1,200 acres Wednesday forcing evacuations in the Forbes Park area.
Fort Garland, CO
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