About 20 years ago my wife and I had a moment of all moments. That’s when we started to get serious about this dream of a frontier log cabin in the wild west. The truth is, it was more my dream than Gayna’s. She was raised in the sprawling metropolis of Arlington, Virginia, and wasn’t so sure about this wild west stuff. She came along for the ride, at first shaking her head in disbelief more than a couple of times. As we started to save money for the land purchase, we agreed we would not go into debt to finance this adventure. We saved and saved and in 2009, we had the cash to make it happen.
We selected a piece of property that was close to our home. Since we were both employed full time, this provided a nice benefit of not spending a lot of dead time driving to and from. It is in Larimer County, Colorado about 50 miles northwest of Fort Collins, adjacent to the Roosevelt National Forest. There is also an abundance of State wilderness within a few miles. The property is 35 acres in size, but being adjacent to all the accessible public land makes it feel infinitely larger. The wildlife encounters include deer, elk, moose, mountain lions, bobcats, golden eagles, bald eagles, and Gayna’s favorite – several different species of hummingbirds. Although we haven’t experienced a bear encounter up close and personal, we know they are there. A bear destroyed our honey bee hives just this spring. It is a Jurassic Park experience almost every time we are there.
The area is also rich in wild west tradition. Col. William Frederick Cody earned his legendary nick name Buffalo Bill. He was a visionary who pursued a life of adventure in the Rocky Mountain West. He was a legendary buffalo hunter although his hunting adventures are not embraced much in today’s culture. He rode for the Pony Express, drove a stagecoach, and was employed as a scout. Buffalo Bill took his western life experiences on the road to create Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. He performed all over the United States and in Europe. A legendary sharpshooter, he made Anne Oakley just as famous.
When his show was in northern Colorado, his troupe and animals stayed at the nearby Trails End Ranch. The original barn that housed his show animals is located less than a mile from our property. The barn is over 100 years old, and is being deconstructed, rebuilt, and renovated by a close neighbor who happens to be a western history enthusiast.
I met a famous philosopher by the name of John Jobe. He said, “don’t let the dream be a dream”. So here we are, making the dream a reality. This tiny morsel of the wild west makes us feel very thankful and blessed to be in God’s wonderful wilderness. It isn’t for everyone, but for my family, it is a peaceful slice of paradise!