COBWEB CORNERS: Imagine how it was...
By Mel McFarland
In these times, it is hard to imagine what this place was like years ago. The Indians and buffalo roamed the land - not a single fence to be seen. Antelope, coyotes, foxes were all to be found. Most of the trees grew along the creek. No trains, cars, houses - just the plains and the mountains. The only sounds were the wind and the birds.
When the first exportation was done, some 200 years ago, the area was still pretty much as it had been for hundreds of generations. It took another 50 years for any sizable change to happen. In the 1850s, gold was discovered in California, and the lure of it inspired many to try to get there. At first there were no trails to follow. The easiest way was to do what the early explorers did: Follow a river. Even today, if you think about it, most of our roads follow these old trails, along the banks of rivers. In this area 1-25 follows Cherry, Monument and Fountain creeks.
The first settlers came in covered wagons, packing everything they thought they would need. Some stopped along their way when they found a place they liked, while others traveled until they had to stop. In this area some of the first settlers congregated at the base of the mountains, in a bit of a valley, where there was water, trees for shelter, even animals to hunt and some fish.
It was a curious area, but the first settlers really did not take that much more than the occasional glance. What occupied their time was doing what had to be done to survive.
The settlers here were fortunate there were rocks and trees and the land was good for growing things. The weather allowed enough to be grown to survive the winter, and many of those early settlers prospered. Some did not do so well and moved on. More than 20 years would pass for the roots to really take for these early settlers so that they could actually do more than just survive.
It was probably as hard for them to imagine what would happen in our times as it is for us to imagine them living in theirs.