COBWEB CORNERS: Summer months, then and now

By Mel McFarland

       The hot, summer months are not always fun in Colorado City. In our history, the time from Memorial Day until the start of September can be challenging. Also, the worst wildfires seem to have happened in summer, and not just recently!
       For example, Palmer Lake has had three fires on Mount Herman in the last 30 years, and that's not even counting the 2003 Hayman Fire that came close to there. Cheyenne Mountain had a big fire in 1953. And in the 1840s, before the settlers came, fire burned from near Manitou Park, down Ute Pass, across the front of Pike's Peak, over to the Royal Gorge and up near Palmer Lake.
       You hear of people getting cranky on hot days. Imagine years ago, making it through one day without your refrigerator or even ice. And air conditioning for houses was not invented until the 1900s. The closest thing to it was a cool basement. Folks had their yards where they could maybe get shade, but it was not really cool. This brings up something else.
       In those earlier years, people might have had an ice box in the kitchen, but it was not a freezer! Some of the ice from winter was saved in a deep cellar! It came in handy in the summer but it was not used in drinks! Once in a while we had to get someone to haul in a big block of ice.
       There was also a fire danger on hot days, right outside people's homes. It was from their trash. Back then trash was rarely hauled to dumps out in the country. People burned it in burners in their backyards. A spark is not a problem if it is wet, but when it is dry, oh man!
       One thing you can be sure of, fall follows summer. Then the hot, dry weather will be just a reminder until the cold of the winter brings out the memories of the heat! This summer is already epic in the history of fires in Colorado. Who can imagine a worse fire than last year's? Not Black Forest!