David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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The Solstices


Everyone has a little different perspective on what goes on in this valley. That's how this column got its name. Part of that's probably because of the mountains themselves—we all have a slightly different view.

In my case I live squarely in front of Mt. Meeker, so every day when I can see the mountain I watch the sun go down in a different spot as the seasons roll along. A couple of weeks ago the long shadows of the sun at its most southerly fell all along Big Owl Road and the sun itself at this time of year seems to shed less light.

Now, however, it has begun its long march northward along Meeker's ridges from Wild Basin, where, from my perspective, it set on December 21st. I can measure its progress day by day, until on June 21st, it reaches its northernmost point, when it sets almost on the middle of Battle Mountain and we have to roll down the bamboo curtains on the screened porch to shield us from its brilliance.



For everyone who can see the sun set every day it's a little different or perhaps very different, depending on where you live, and of course those whose houses face the east will take their measurements by the sunrise instead.

Until I lived here all year long I didn't realize the breadth of the sun's travel, which is so accentuated by living in a valley with high mountains on both the east and west. When I was a child and here only in the summer, the sun always set somewhere between the tip of Mt. Meeker and Battle Mountain and it never occurred to me that it set anywhere else. In the winter I lived in Portland, Oregon, and you could never tell where the sun set, since you rarely saw it.

Now, through the bleak times of January and February, each day I see the sun set a little farther north. There is the promise of spring, which I know will soon follow its setting behind Buggy Top, just below the steep slope of Meeker's south ridge.

We measure our seasons in many ways—by the budding of the aspen and their turning, by the first and last snowfall, by the arrival and departure of the hummingbirds and perhaps most of all by Memorial and Labor Days. The unalterable journey of the sun back and forth along the skyline is an everyday reminder (which I sometimes find distressing) of the transitory nature of the people who visit and live in this marvelous place. But it is also a reminder (from which I take some comfort) of the abiding quality of the forces of nature and of our mountains.





© 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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