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Holy [insert long list of expletives here], did that really happen???

What a week it’s been.  My heart goes out to all those affected by the fire, especially those who lost their house.  Really puts my problems of finding open trails to run on this weekend in perspective.  And of course a huge kudos to all the first responders who are just kicking ass and taking names.  Can’t imagine how horrible this fire would have been without those guys and gals out there working their tails off.

I first heard about the fire on Saturday while down in Lake City, shortly after finishing the San Juan Solstice 50 miler.  Early rumors, I heard 100 acres and 10,000 acres and other numbers thrown around.  I then bolted to a campsite high on the mountains, far outside of cell phone range, and kind of forgot about the whole thing.

Until driving home on Monday afternoon.  On HWY 50 just outside of Canon City.  That’s how far away I was when I first saw the smoke.  Then my parents called, from Pennsylvania, asking if the house was still standing.  It finally started to sink in that the fire might actually be a big deal.

Looking at it now that things seem to have settled a bit, the closest the fire got to our westside house was about two or three miles.  But on Tuesday and Wednesday when everything was blowing up, those flames sure felt a lot closer.  Such a horrible feeling, wondering if and when to retreat, possibly losing just about everything you owned.  But at least we were home, unlike the three evacuated runners we took in as strays (one a big enough prick that he passed me in the final 50 meters of the last 5K we ran).

Life goes on.  All the “community” goodwill out there now will soon be replaced by attention paid to the windbags blaming Obama/Romney/the Forest Service/Jesus/Satan/Bach/smokers/hunters/mother nature/global warming/whoever/whatever for the fire.  That’s just how the cycle goes with these disasters, which seem to be happing all too frequently.  But the type of folks who visit this website, a fantastic community regardless of whether or not there has been a disaster, will soon be getting back outside, perhaps with an even larger appreciation for this great area than before.  Not sure when I’ll be able to run Waldo again (months?  years?)  but I’ll be there, excited to see that trail again and crushed to see the damage.  And I also find myself worrying about the bighorn sheep that hang out in Queens Canyon.  Sure hope they’re alright, and hopefully there is some good news next time folks are allowed to explore that area.

Tough to think about right now, but the racing continues.  Looks like the Summer Roundup is still on.  Hardrock is in two weeks.  And, of course, the Pikes Peak Ascent/Marathon looms.  Hopefully these events can help everyone get past this lousy situation.

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Comment by Ryan Fonkert on June 29, 2012 at 4:52pm

We were out of town last weekend when this started last weekend, too; camping down in Canon City.  Like you, I found out about the fire Saturday afternoon, but didn't worry about it too much, as no evacuations or anything had begun yet.  We, too, were camping out of cell range, so didn't get calls, though it turns out my phone would have been ringing quite a bit if we had (been in range).  Late that night, I was able to check my email via wi-fi at the clubhouse of the campground we were staying at, and it was filled with messages from my neighbor, worried like hell about it.  This was still before evacuation (which would come only a few hours later).  She asked how to get into our house to get our cat if necessary, and I told her, but I still figured everything would be OK until we got home the next day.  Then the next morning I found out the evac had been ordered overnight.  From there the rest of the day was chaos...  We were lucky, in that they let us up to our house to get our cat (he hid too well from our neighbors when they tried to get him) and some stuff.  We spent the next couple of nights at my cousin's house, and luckily were able to return to our house unharmed.  It was so strange, though: the night we were able to back home is the night NW Colo Springs was blowing up.  Absolutely surreal.  Feels kinda hard to get back to normal, especially knowing that friends of ours have lost their homes.

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