The first run of the year, down to Strang Farm:
And the blooming Christmas Cactus:
George Strauss homesteaded on the Poudre River in 1864 … survived the flood that year to grow vegetables for the next 40 years. Then came the flood of 1904 — his neighbor James Strang rescued him from that one, but he died the next day from exposure. The original log cabin burned to the ground in 1999 after an arson fire.
One of our favorite six-mile loops takes us down a washboard dirt road past gravel works, old homesteads, and a marshy nature preserve. The Arapaho Bend Natural Area, a haven for migratory birds as well as our usual bands of year-round Canada geese, was reclaimed from old gravel pits and named after the Arapaho natives who once gathered under the cottonwoods. The homesteads, long abandoned, were among the earliest claims in this area of the city. But look past the still-active gravel works, ignore the hum of the interstate highway farther east, and see the reminders: concrete silos, twin sentinels of time; a loafing shed, slowly collapsing back into the earth; a drunken sloop of metal roof, creaking in the breeze. A chain-link fence surrounds the charred remains of the James Strang Cabin, hastily erected after someone started a “campfire” inside the house in 2002. Not much protection against human predators, and certainly not against time.