David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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Years ago people in our valley walked everywhere. Katherine Garetson walked to Allenspark. Residents of Big Owl Road walked to Wild Basin to visit friends. I often walked to Meeker Park and once walked to Estes Park, which is a trip I’d rather not repeat.

My grandfather often walked over all his 160 acres and one of his favorite observations was that “the best thing for the land is the foot of the owner.”

Recently, however, we’ve been much more concerned with our roads and our cars than with walking. The Devers used to walk from the lodge to their various cabins, but they now use a golf cart and who can blame them? We think nothing of getting in our cars and driving to Longmont or Boulder or Denver. Many of us commute every working day. There are a few reprobates like Phil Stern who think that straightening curves is the work of the devil, but most of us are interested in better cars and better roads and the only walking we do is from the car to the Post Office.

The question is whether our horizons are expanding or shrinking? For most of us, our horizon is the dashboard. I get my driveway plowed and the other day when I tried to get in before it was plowed I really resented having to get out and walk the 100 feet to my front door.

Not everyone I know has fallen into this trap. Eliza and Martin Shockley take a walk almost every summer and fall afternoon on Coyote Hill, and a few years ago they were rewarded with a magnificent pair of elk antlers. I often see Phyllis Zumwinkel walking the half mile from her place to Meeker Park to get the Sunday paper, and I see other people on missions, walking the dog or jogging, but it’s rare to see someone just out for a walk. These days we’re much more likely to go for a drive. And even when we go for a hike or a climb it’s an event and we get there by first getting into our cars.

It’s more difficult these days, of course, as people build fences and put up No Trespassing signs, and it’s too bad. There’s much to see along our streams and in the forest, especially in the spring when the animals begin to stir and the flowers and mushrooms poke up from the forest floor. For most of us, however, we’re content to put up feeders and let the animals come to us, and to plant flowers in pots around our front doors.

It’s true that walking takes an effort. And one of the reasons we don’t do more of it is that it no longer seems to have a purpose and we live in a time when you’re supposed to have a purpose. If I had been able to ask grandfather why he went on walks I think he would have been surprised that I asked such a question. I think he would have said, “Why, it’s to be one with nature — to join with the infinite.” He was a pretty serious thinker and given to that kind of profundity. But he knew that his reason for choosing this place had an real connection with that notion and he took it seriously. He was capable of simply wandering about his land, listening to the wind in the trees and the gurgling of the brook and the twittering of the birds and the beauty of the flowers and the mountains and thinking about his place in the universe. That seems to be a lost art. Too bad.




© 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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