David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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This is the time of year when old friends come to visit. And more and more they are old friends rather than just friends I've had for a long time. Like me, they're beginning to turn gray and we spend more time talking about the past than the future.

One visitor told me she used to stay at Meeker Park and a friend of hers stayed in another cabin and together they wore a path between the two places. That was thirty years ago and she said the path's still there. I believe it.

Three years ago my brother made several trips to my workshop from his cabin and his path took him through my front yard, which is just a bunch of trees and wild flowers. He must have made a dozen trips. You can still see where he walked, and the path will be visible for many years to come.

The other day I was on Trail Ridge (with visitors) and we saw many tourists walking on the tundra. One group had spread a blanket on it. Others were picking flowers. That same week I chastised a woman for picking Eagle Plume's columbines. She got off easy -- if Charles had caught her he probably would have scalped her.

Last summer a woman stopped her car in front of my house, got out, and started digging up some plants. When I protested she said, "This isn't private land," as if that made a difference. She was bluffing, of course, and it was private land. You probably have similar stories to tell.

Even people who move up here from the Colorado plains don't understand how fragile our mountain world is. They find it difficult to believe that the tree they cut for Christmas, although it's only 6 feet tall, may be 100 years old. The tundra looks tough and feels solid underfoot. It seems impossible that spreading a blanket on it will kill many of the plants underneath in just a matter of minutes.

It doesn't take much looking to find places which will take decades to recover because of thoughtlessness. As more and more people come here we are going to find it increasingly difficult to make newcomers understand that once destroyed, the natural beauty of this place takes longer than our lifetimes to recover.




© 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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