October 2nd was the beginning of week four cabin renovation, but also the first day of Highway 34’s restricted usage due to the 2013 flood reconstruction project. During the week, I worked on projects closer to home and substituted on Thursday and Friday at a middle school.
On Saturday, October 7th, it was forecast to be a balmy 70+ degrees so I headed up the cabin around noon, outside the new normal morning canyon access hours of 6:00-8:30 a.m. Leaving at noon meant I had to go an extra 25 miles along the detour through the cities of Longmont and Lyons. Little did I know, “leaf peepers” were also headed up to Estes Park on the same route.
Normally, when I drive directly from my home to the cabin on Highway 34, it takes me about 40 minutes to turn onto Memory Lane. On October 7th, it took 105 minutes (1-3/4 hours). I tried to enjoy the fall orange and gold scenery. The mountains had received a fresh dusting of snow. I was not going to get stressed out by the huge delay due to the crowded detour.
Once at the cabin, I worked for about 2-1/2 hours on more repointing of the old stone foundation, picking up and disposing of tar paper, siding, and lumber into the rented dumpster, loading miscellaneous metal into my car’s trunk for recycling, and spraying a bleach/water mixture on the original cabin’s tongue and groove moldy pine ceiling. Not glamorous work but I relished every moment in the warm gentle breeze, utter silence and the picturesque forest. I didn’t want to leave. It was so peaceful.
Following the pilot car on my way home down the “normal” Highway 34 route (I was within the evening access hours of 4:00-8:00 p.m.), I discovered how truly peaceful and content I feel for the first time in my retirement.
In Walden, Henry David Thoreau wrote, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”