David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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Mountain Friendliness


Conventional wisdom seems to indicate that people are more friendly in the mountains than they are in more urban areas.

That may have been more true in the past than it is now. We seem to have more armed robberies and murders than we did 25 years ago. And we have some resident grouches, like the one who made Otto take down all the good stuff from the bulletin board and complained about his cluttered desk. Seems to me I’ve had all the mail coming to me for the past 25 years. I don’t think Otto left any of it on his desk.

Used to be, when I got a paper cut sorting through the stored up “bulk business” mail, I could go back to the bathroom and get a bandage. Now I guess I’ll just have to bleed to death. So we have a few grouches. You know who they are.

Still, it’s true that you get waved at a lot on our roads. Of course, if you live here full time you have good reasons for waving to the gas, telephone, postal, highway department, and UPS people. Unless you’re a grouch, in which case you don’t care.

Waving at people on the highway is a fine old American custom. In the ’50s, sports car drivers, even in the cities, waved at each other. That’s pretty much gone. Motorcycle riders, unless they’re on Harley-Davidsons, wave to each other. Considering how dangerous it is, maybe they figure it’s their last chance.

Here in the mountains, though, you mostly get waved at in the summer by people who are walking or riding horses.

If you come across a group of Cheley Camp riders, you will spend a little time waving at the young men and women who are clearly having the time of their young lives and want to share their joy with you.

That sense of enjoyment, and the wish to share it, is probably at the bottom of all the waving that goes on, winter and summer. The connection we make with a total stranger says, “Aren’t we lucky to be here, and to be able to enjoy the beauty of this day and this place?”

A friend of mine remarked the other day at the incredible odds against our being born as Americans in the 20th century, as opposed to all the other people we might have been born as, in awful places and in awful times.

Perhaps, when we wave to each other, it’s more than merely “Hello,” “Good-bye,” or simple recognition. Perhaps we recognize our fortunate status in an already fortunate time and place.

There isn’t any doubt, of course, that the mountains are a more friendly place than East St. Louis, for example. Try waving there and see what it’ll get you.

And if we seem to be waving less than we did 25 years ago, you may have to chalk it up to the creeping distrust of strangers and even our own neighbors which seems to be a fact of life these days.

Years ago we didn’t bother to lock the cabin when we left it. Now, waving at hikers and horseback riders seems to be the best we can do. Maybe the grouches are winning.




© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:


Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]


Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]


Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders


The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]


Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird


A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]




Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac


Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer


Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon


The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley


On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]


Rumors About a Visit by the Pope


More About Fences


The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government



Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke


The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983


Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House


The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?


Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving


Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”


An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins


The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI



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