I often stand, looking out of the picture window of my retirement retreat on the top of this mountain. I can see sections of the dirt road winding down past the rooftops of those that have to drink the yellow water. Now I’m content with the knowledge that I shall never have to drink yellow water again, my only reason for being up here.
During my lifetime, I’ve read a lot, learned a lot, been discriminated against, patronized, lied to, laughed at, laughed with, and ignored. I’m not a minority, not tall, not good looking, not skinny,not hairy, and can see 10 miles but not two feet. I’ve been a paperboy, college student, licensed nursing home administrator, professional musician (swing drummer), duck and goose hunter, fisherman, conservationist, Eagle scout, camp counselor, canoeing instructor, lifeguard, comedian, restaurant owner, licensed exterminator, insurance agent, warehouse manager, carpenter, conservative, father of four, baseball coach, husband, worrier, and a nice guy.
I can never claim, accomplishing all of these things made me rich. I did not learn until late in life how important making money was. I should have made it one of my projects!
A few years ago, I was the first one to build at the bottom of a mountain. The fresh air, the pristine woods and wildlife, fishing in the crystal clear water of the snow fed stream that came down from the mountain above me, fulfilled every one of my hunter, mountain man instincts. It was fantastic.
Then one day, a man in a red hardhat knocked on my door. He said he was there to advise me about the impending noise and dust from his road construction equipment. He said a physician had purchased a piece of property up the mountain a bit and wanted to build himself a ‘hideaway’. Because the only road ended at my front door, more road would have to be built to accommodate this new home.
It was ok by me! I found out the new owner’s property was going to be up the mountain a little bit, and around the corner. It would be out of my sight, and I assumed out of mind. There was plenty of room.
The first thing I noticed was on the weekends there would be quite a bit of traffic dust raised on that dirt road. Then there would also be an occasional Styrofoam coffee cup floating past my back porch. This floating debris from upstream would accumulate in the eddies, and I would scoop them up in a net and discard them. I guess I could make it a conservative wilderness man’s duty once a month, twelve times a year.
About three months later, as I turned off the main road toward my cabin, I observed a bright, new, red, white, and blue sign with an arrow pointing up the mountain. The sign said, “Hideaway Estates, Now Selling One and One and a Half Acre Sites, Call Brent @ 347-1215, Boulder”.
From that day on, there was a steady stream of road building equipment, construction trucks, and salespeople with their prospects. One person even came to my door to ask if I wanted to sell my home. I told him that I didn’t want to. At that moment, I still felt life was good there, and would settle down as soon as the construction was completed.
I did place a sign at the end of my driveway that said, “Not for Sale”, to keep the prospectors out.
Life continued, and except for the traffic up the road on the weekends, life was reasonably quiet. I began to catch fewer and smaller trout, but did get to fish out a Thriftymart plastic bag from whatever it had snagged on in the stream. The stream also had a little more plant growth in it than it used to, and I noticed that it had turned a little yellow.
Acme paving showed up one Monday and began to pave the road at a minor cost to me. Their sales pitch was, “it would keep the dust from all the weekend traffic under control.” I felt this was a good thing.
After the paving was completed, I noticed the four wheel drive pickups had been replaced by BMW’s, Corvettes, Lincolns, and expensive SUVS now that the road was paved, and the traffic was no longer confined to the weekends. It began to have a pattern of, down the mountain at Seven o’clock in the morning, and back up the mountain at Five-Thirty in the evening.
At least they were gone during the day!
As the population up the mountain increased, the water from my faucet began to smell and taste awful and had an amber tint. Because I drew my house water from a well next to the stream, I drove up that newly paved road to see if I could figure out if something up the mountain is causing the yellow water.
The fancy mailboxes had names like Dr. Johnson, Dr. Neumflagle and Professor Ezra Black. I continued to drive up and around the mountain. There were expensive two-stories and homes built right into the mountain. The names on those mailboxes were Mr. Joseph Goldbloom, Attorney at Law, etc.. The further up the hill I went, the nicer the homes and fancier the cars were in the driveway.
I drove up to the snow field above the homes and examined the stream. There was that beautiful clear water that I originally had for my rustic cabin retreat before the construction.
I called a civil engineer friend of mine to see if he could figure it out. He drove up the mountain and was back at my door in an hour. He’d seen this before and was convinced that I had a real problem. It turned out that all of these homes had septic tanks and drain fields. The mountain was mostly granite. My little, humble cabin in the wild was at the bottom of this mountain.
Pee runs downhill. Streams run downhill.
I took down my Not for Sale sign and put up a For Sale sign. Within a week, I had an offer from a foreign gentleman who wanted to build a convenience store where my cabin is.
I sold it for enough money to buy a piece of property on the top of a small mountain in Oregon.
What did I learn from my experience in Boulder?
Whatever you do, make enough money so you can buy your mountain home on the top of the mountain, so you don’t have to wallow in the yellow water from those living above you!