Reports from the Knowledge Labs about our recent findings, research topics, and interviews with lifestyle leaders who are creating their own futures.
How to stimulate your own powers of foresight. Consider the following thought provokers. Ask yourself, in these categories what are the brand new trends and forces? Which are the ones growing in importance? Which current forces are loosing their steam? Which have peaked or are reversing themselves? Which are the "wildcards" about to disrupt us in the future? POLITICAL AND TECHNICAL thought for food: Electronics, Materials, Energy, Fossil, Nuclear, Alternative, Other, Manufacturing (techniques), Agriculture, Machinery and Equipment, Distribution, Transportation (Urban, Mass, Personal, Surface, Sea, Subsurface, Space), Communication (Printed, Spoken, Interactive, Media), Computers (Information, Knowledge, Storage & Retrieval, Design, Network Resources), Post-Cold War, Third World, Conflict (Local, Regional, Global), Arms Limitation, Undeclared Wars, Terrorism, Nuclear Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Governments (More/Less Power and Larger or Smaller Scale), Taxes, Isms: Nationalism, Regionalism, Protectionism, Populism, Cartels, Multinational Corporations, Balance of Trade, Third Party Payments, Regulations (OSHA, etc.) Environmental Impact, U.S. Prestige Abroad. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC Food for thought:
Labor Movements, Unemployment / Employment Cycles, Recession, Employment Patterns, Work Hours / Schedules, Fringe Benefits, Management Approaches, Accounting Policies, Productivity, Energy Costs, Balance of Payments, Inflation, Taxes, Rates of Real Growth, Distribution of Wealth, Capital Availability and Costs, Reliability of Forecasts, Raw Materials, Availability and Costs, Global versus National Economy, Market versus Planned Economies, Generations: Y, X, Boomers, Elderly, Urban vs. Rural Lifestyles, Affluent vs. Poor, Neighborhoods and Communities, Planned or Organic Growth.
The Journal of 2020 Foresight
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Purgatory, The River of Lost Souls, and the Stony Point Trail
Chapter Three: The Outpost
By Steve Howard, CKO
The Knowledge Labs
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Basecamp
Chapter Two: The Ridge
Chapter Three: The Outpost
Chapter Four: The Tribal Territories
“Clark was famously accompanied on the Voyage of Discovery by York, who was regarded as "the bravest of the party" by the Native Americans whom they encountered along the way. After their return to civilization, however, Clark complained that York was "insolent and Sulky" - "I gave him a Severe trouncing," he wrote, threatening to sell him off, although he confided to his journal that "I cant sell negrows here for money."
DURANGO, Colorado. Driving us mad. How much of this can anyone take? We spent about an hour exploring Mesa Verde, before we headed to Durango for the last hour of driving that day in search of Grey Owl's third geocache at: N 37° 37.697 W 107° 49.435. We drove out of Montezuma County in the Southwest Corner of Colorado and headed for the general vicinities of La Plata, San Juan and Archueleta Counties along the southern border. With a population that grew from 12,500 to almost 14,000 people over the last few years, Durango sits on the edge of a great desert mesa and enjoys warm breezes and cool lush mountain forests.
Journal of 2020 Foresight: While eating an early dinner at Farquarhts it's easy to see how the downtown gets most of its charm from the classic 19th century hotels and its Victorian architecture, saloons and hitching posts.
Explorer: So much of the West owes its expansion to the railroad, and I guess Durango is no exception.
Pathfinder: I love the story our waiter told about Durango being founded when another community across the Animus River turned down the offer to bring the railroad that would link the mines to Denver.
Trailblazer: I know. It's kind of an accidental incident that turns into a major opportunity - or blunder depending upon your point of view.
Pathfinder: Either way, while Durango was founded by the Denver and Rio Grand Railroad in 1879, it wasn't until August 5, 1881 that the railroad came to the mining and smeltering center
J2020F: Those were heady day in this area -- the heydays of the gold and silver booms.
Eagle: I love the names. “Purgatory”, “River of Lost Souls”, “Silverton.” They all conjure up images of a gold rush town, you know?
Pathfinder: Sure. For instance, sometime in 1776 or 1777Father Escalante named the Animas River (River of Lost Souls) on his way to California from Santa Fe.
J2020F: I remember seeing many “Escalante” on the maps throughout the southwest.
Pathfinder: Right. Father Silvestre Velez de Escalante's party traveled north through western Colorado, until they became lost. They would have died of thirst had they not met a Ute Indian, who saved them by showing them the way to the Uncompahgre River.
Eagle: It's ironic since one of the reasons the Escalante expedition chose the trail they took was because the Hopi wouldn't tolerate their religion, while the Apaches in the Gila River region posed a physical threat to their safety.
Explorer: Where did the name Colorado come from?
Pathfinder: The story I heard was when the Spanish conquistadores explored the state for riches, but instead they found a spectacular reddish-brown landscape they described as colorado - or color red.
J2020F: So, Colorado didn't become part of the American Territories until after the Mexican-American War, like Arizona and New Mexico?
Pathfinder: Partially right. In the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, the United States bought most of the Colorado territory at the cost of 4 cents per acre - the land east of the Rockies.
Explorer: I noticed that Zebulon Pike in 1806, explored the territory while Lewis and Clark made their way to the Pacific Coast at the Columbia River, explored Colorado.
Pathfinder: Instead of the Northwest Passage, Zeb Pike received the assignment to find the headwaters of the Red and Arkansas Rivers, so his expedition explored the southern territory of the Louisiana Purchase for two years.
J2020F: You know, I've got this feeling - there's another coincidence you're about to describe. Am I right?
Pathfinder: You mean the connection to what we discovered about the area in which your family put down roots on the Gasconade and Missouri Rivers?
J2020F: What, he's my long lost great, great, great uncle Zeb?
Pathfinder: Not exactly.
J2020F: What then?
Pathfinder: Remember reading Brackenridge's Journal entry about meeting the militia commander in 1811 who lived on the Gasconade River near Osage County?
J2020F: He told the story how they had been chasing down Potawatomi raiders the night before. And I was recalling how the arrowheads and one tomahawk I found might have been from Osage or Potawatomi tribes.
Pathfinder: Exactly. That's the coincidence. One purpose for Pike's expedition was to return to their native soil of 50 Osage Nationprisoners who had been held hostage by rival Potawatomis and liberated by the US Army.
Explorer: So that's it?
Pathfinder: No. That was an overt mission. The covert mission had to do with boundaries of the purchase.
Explorer: With the French?
Pathfinder: No, the problem was with the Spanish. Pike's secret mission was to figure out how well the Spanish could defend their claims if push came to shove in the Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas general areas.
J2020F: When gold was discovered in the mountains of Colorado, new hordes of prospectors swarmed across the Great Plains that Pike largely discovered.
Eagle: Two vast new territories were organized, Kansas and Nebraska, encompassing virtually all of the country of the Plains tribes.
Trailblazer: And it's not known as Purgatory any more.
Trailblazer: The colorful names. You asked about the River of Lost Souls and the ski resort is no longer Purgatory.
Pathfinder: You mean we can't officially tell people to go to hell for the best local skiing in these here parts.
Trailblazer: Now it is the Durango Mountain Resort.
J2020F: But, you can check out the mountain and town by web cams around the clock.
Trailblazer: Durango sits in the shadows of the San Juan Mountains, geographically younger than other Colorado mountain ranges. they haven't weathered as much, so they appear more jagged and captivating, at an elevation of 6,500 feet above sea level.
Explorer: As we drive through these mountain roads you can't help but notice the brown, red, yellow tracings from mine shafts long ago abandoned. But, I was done with driving by the time we found our hotel.
Pathfinder: I'm with you especially after being so close, at Mesa Verde, yet so far.
J2020F: And finding the Best Western Rio Grand took awhile, especially when the address listed looked to be at the wrong end of a one-way street, a problem we eventually solved.
Trailblazer: C'mon guys. The location couldn't have been better for our “Corps of Re-Discovery”right behind the Silverton Durango the Durango train depot and roundhouse -- and the hub of the city.
Eagle: We jumped into the indoor pool before and briefly, and for the first time on our trip, unanimously agreed on the first adventure of the next day.
Trailblazer: I just wanted to go to bed.
J2020F: Some might say you got up on the wrong side of the bed the next morning when you read my lips: “Stand-by?”
Trailblazer: Well, we were shocked. Grey Owl tipped us off before the trip, Take the Silverton narrow gauge one-way, but not up and back. Try a bus, or maybe a jeep tour. But the train is so sllllooooooowwwww.
Eagle: I'm with Trailblazer. Up early from the hotel, waiting in line for the bus. Missing the earliest.
Explorer: And, it's not like we've got a precious vacation day to waste standing in line. We grumbled for a while trying to figure out how to kill about an hour and come back stand-by for the next bus.
J2020F: Here we thought it would cut into the time to explore Silverton. But as it turns out, after schmoozing with the driver we boarded and made it up for the delay the winding Durango to Silverton road with his local insights.
Trailblazer: We caught the 11:45, and still had plenty of discovery time.
Pathfinder: I guess we lucked out, when the driver announced: "Unlike the other guides who came to Durango from Florida or Minnesota, I'm an original -- born and raised in Durango. I know every mountain, river, lake, tree, plant and all the local history -- so sit back and sleep if you want, but I'll make the hour trip as entertaining as I can. Just ask away -- any questions."
Explorer: I thought we'd have to muzzle Trailblazer after that opening, but I guess you didn't feel like being a wise guy.
Pathfinder: Okay, so it was a canned presentation, but he told us he drove the summer bus runs and worked at Ski Resort-formerly-known-as- Purgatory during the winter season.
J2020F: Well, here's what I picked up. Construction began on the narrow gauge railroad line in 1881 between Durango and Silverton. Nearly a year later it was completed and began hauling mine ores -- over $300 million -- throughout the years.
Pathfinder: For roughly eighty years. Durango became cut off from the rest of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad in the late 1960s, isolating the remaining narrow gauge track along the 45 mile route between to two towns.
Trailblazer. So, today for us tourists, the locomotives operate 100% on coal-fired steam and were manufactured by the American Locomotive Works in 1923 or Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1925. All the coaches are from the 1880s era -- many originally build in the 1800s.
Explorer: The trip hugs the walls of the Animas River Canyon, rises to 11,000 feet and takes you back to the Silverton frontier days through forests, history, and natural wonder.
J2020F: We endured the Colorado afternoon rain. We lunched, walked the main street, and visited Blair Streets once booming bordello district.
Pathfinder: I guess you could say we did what every other tourist did. We window-shopped, snapped pictures of a street that looked like it could have been the backdrop for the “Gunfight-at-the-O.K.-Corral.”
Trailblazer: The bus driver told us Silverton had 300 inches of snow each year and because of avalanche danger nothing was built on the other side of the river.
Eagle: I loved his line - “But, kids, there aren't any snow days, because everyone walks to the one room school which could fit in this bus."
Explorer: “Look up on the hill,” he said. There protecting the mining town was a monstrous statue, Christ of the Mines Shrine, built in 1958 -1959 as a tribute to all those who worked the mines. "One Sunday, the only time the mines around here weren't working, a nearby lake broke through the ground and flooded the mines. No fatalities, but if it had been on any other day of the week, at least 150 god-fearing souls would have been lost."
J2020F: He also said only the hardy stick around in the winter. “Now in the summer there are about 1500 people living here with 2 grocery stores, two gas stations and 4 saloons. In the winter about 400 people, 1 grocery store, 1 gas station and 4 saloons.”
Pathfinder: He also told us that Silverton sits in a small valley called Baker's Park, named after Charles Baker who led a small expedition to the area around 1860. After the Civil War miners began flooding into the area, when it was still Ute Indian Territory -- originally their hunting grounds.
Explorer: And here's another coincidence for you. It has something to do with the only way in to the area at that time - Stony Pass Trail.
Pathfinder: That's right. A member of Baker's original party of prospectors - George Howard, founded a town named after himself.
J2020F: I'll be.
Explorer: Turns out he was quite an entrepreneur.
Pathfinder: Here's how the story is told: “When George decided he needed to build a log cabin, he put the free enterprise system to work. George hauled in a large stack of logs and set a barrel of whiskey next to it.”
Explorer: “As the thirsty miners came into the area over the Stony Pass Trail, George would offer them some refreshment. When the miners began to feel the effects of the free refreshments, George would ask them for a little help on his cabin.”
Pathfinder: Before long he was the owner of the first permanent settlement in Howardsville.
Eagle: According to Dee Brown: "The Ute's were Rocky Mountain Indians, and for a generation they had watched the invading white men move into their Colorado country like endless swarms of grasshoppers.”
J2020F: Did they realize what was to become of them right away?
Copyright ©2002 - 2006 Aarnaes Howard Associates. All rights reserved worldwide.
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