Friday, August 13, 2010

Colorado Chronicles : The Healing Waters

Pagosa Springs
I haven't often been to the Western Slope of the Continental Divide, except to go fishin' a few times, so my personal knowledge of that part of Colorado is limited. I do know, however, know a cool place when I see one. Pagosa Springs is such a place. The Good Lord chose to put Pagosa Springs at 7000 feet above sea level on the Western Slope surrounded by what is now the San Juan National Forest and land owned by the Southern Ute Indians. He could have done worse. This site has several links to webcams viewing different parts of Pagosa Springs. It appears that the cameras show only still pictures, so you'll need to refresh your browser window every once in a while. The "Springs" part of the town's name comes from the Ute words "pah gosah" meaning "healing waters". "Healing waters" refers to the mineral-rich hot springs in the area. It is to these hot springs that people from all over the world come to cure various and sundry ailments. And it is these springs which provide much economic benefit to Pagosa Springs. Nearby Mesa Verde National Park offers visitors an incredible look at the lives, including magnificent cliff dwellings, of the Anasazi of hundreds of years ago. Mesa Verde isn't the only National Park in the neighborhood, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is also a short distance from Pagosa Springs. Wolf Creek Ski Area, with over 1600 acres worth of snow skiing, is yet another destination that makes Pagosa Springs a favorite of tourists (and an economic benefit to the community). After learning all this new stuff, I do believe that a trip to Colorado should include a drive over The Divide to a cool place that is the home of the "Healing Waters" - Pagosa Springs.

Maine Minutiae : The Shire City of Waldo County

Belfast Harbor*
What the heck is a "shire city"? I don't know. Read through these definitions and decide for yourself. I tend to go with the one about "a former administrative district of England." But then again, I am a knucklehead, so don't mind me. At any rate, the shire city of Waldo county is Belfast, which was of course named after the city of the same moniker in Ireland. (Note: Belfast is now in Northern Ireland). Belfast was once where the Penobscot Indians went in the summer to hunt and fish, but in 1630 the land became part of the Muscongus Patent which "granted rights for English trading posts with the Indians, especially for the lucrative fur trade. About 1720, General Samuel Waldo of Boston bought the Muscongus Patent, which had evolved into outright ownership of the land, and was thereafter known as the Waldo Patent." (Wikipedia) Incorporated in 1773, Belfast was mostly abandoned during the American Revolution and was briefly occupied by the British in the War of 1812. The city would, over time, became a center for shipbuilding, poultry production and is now home to Bank of America-owned MBNA, a large credit card services center. Belfast is one of the locations Heather and I are considering as we discuss where we are going to move to as I ease into retirement. Ever since I was a wee lad in Fort Worth, Texas, I have dreamed of living in a "shire" city, whatever the heck one is. :)

*Photo from

Texas Tidbits : The Greatest HS Football Game Ever

Plano East Panthers
John Tyler Lions
High School football is a big deal in Texas. Just ask a Texan. Small towns all over the Lone Star State roll up the sidewalks in anticipation of the big game on Friday night. All across the state on Friday night, stadiums smell of hot dogs and tortilla chips with  yellow Elmer's Glue-looking "pasteurized cheese product" globbed all over them pretending to be nachos amongst other not-qualified-to-be-on-the-school-lunch-menu goodies. The sounds of HS football venue on game night are familiar to anybody who has ever attended one of these contests - cheerleaders cheering, children begging Dear Old Dad for some cash flow to blow on the aforementioned nachos and the Home Team band playing (I'm being charitable here) a pretty bad version
of "Louie, Louie". Over 30,000 (not a typo, thirty thousand) people were at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas on November 26, 1994, for the playoff game between the Plano East Panthers and the Tyler John Tyler Lions in what has been called "The Greatest High School Football Game Ever". I find that assessment pretty dang accurate. The video at the link bears me out. Here's the setting : 4th Quarter, 2:42 to play and John Tyler leads 41-17. Click here for the most incredible finish to any sporting event you've ever seen. Or likely ever see again. Stay with it to the end or like many of the folks who left the game early, you'll be sorry.

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