David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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The summer people have arrived, and there are many changes.

Meeker Park Lodge now has a stack of Denver Posts every Sunday. There are lots more places to get pictures developed and checks cashed. Charles Eagle Plume’s Indian artifacts are selling like pirated software. The traffic, of course, is terrible, and we’re having the usual arguments about who should be able to park where. It’s hard to imagine grid lock in Estes Park, but maybe it’ll happen on the 4th of July.

We already have grid-lock in the aisles of all our markets.

During the winter I could get my dry cleaning back in three days; now it’s a week from Tuesday. People are driving like mad up and down the dirt roads, raising rooster tails of dust. The mailman is a little later than usual, and I’m seeing a lot of square dance costumes and fishing poles. Harry Bath has his Rain Birds going full blast, and his lawn is easily the finest in several square miles. It’s also the only one in several square miles.

Some of the summer folks near me took me on an excursion to view a clump of calypso orchids, also known as fairy slippers. This is the only time of the year you can see them, like the pasque flowers, and you really have to know where to look. Once I saw them, of course, I saw them in many places and wondered why I’d never seen them before. Life is like that.

For those among us who are and always have been summer people, of course, there are no changes; things are the way they have always been. They see the streetscape and they’ll enjoy the new street lights, but they don’t share in the anguish and soul searching and plain hard work that made it happen.

I was one of those people for a great many years, so I can watch the arrival of the summer people with a sense of sharing, because I share their sense of excitement and delight at being back, as I used to feel it.

Those of us who went through a very bad winter share something else, of course, and it’s something the summer people can’t really understand. The changing of the seasons brings more than just the opening of Trail Ridge, the swelling of the streams, and the blossoming of spring flowers. It brings a whole new group of people to our mountains, and while they may know we had a winter, they just can’t imagine the difference between January and June on Elkhorn Avenue.

Looking at it now, crowded with sunburned people and new trees, I can’t remember January very well myself, but I’m glad it’s June and the summer people are here.




© 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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