Anecdote Love

Stories and Musings from a girl named Harvey

Guanella Pass


After a long hiatus from blogging (for which I have a laundry list of excuses none of them valid) I am finally at a point where I have time to write/blog again.  I feel rather out of practice so I am easing back into this blogging thing by trying my hand at some writing challenges.  This piece is written for the DP Weekly Writing Challenge: Snapshot and is a snapshot of part of my recent mountain vacation.

Guanella Pass

“Do you need to pee?”  my husband asked.  We were returning from unsuccessful big horn sheep viewing.

“No I’m ok”

“All right then”

We drove passed our small hotel tucked in the valley and into Georgetown passing Victorians.  Some had new paint on their gingerbread that gleamed in the sun; pink, purples, and greens.  Next door peeling grays and boarded up windows.

Brandon headed for the road we didn’t choose the day before, but going the wrong way.  I said nothing.

“I thought it was up here”, he stated staring at the unpaved dead end.

“Turn around. Go straight.  Then left at the stop sign” I replied.

He proceeded and we wound up the curve towards several dangerously angled curves.

“Where does the road go?” I asked.  The only signs I could see stating  “Guanella Pass” and “Arapahoe National Forest”.

He shrugged.

Two curves in, the road gave way to pines.  Tall pines, short pines, curved pines, fallen over pines, scared pines, brunt pines, snow glistened pines.

Eels playing as we drove thru the pines.

     “Guess whose living here with the great undead . . .”1

The solitude permeated me and I started imagining the other side.   I thought there would a town, hopefully with modernized 1800’s buildings, and boutiques and restaurants, akin to other mountain towns.

More curves and more pines as my ears started popping with the increased altitude.

“I need to pee” Brandon stated ten or so minutes down the road.

I laughed.

“I thought I could hold it” he said and I could tell he didn’t appreciate the laugh.

     “Nothing hiding behind this picket fence there’s a crazy old woman smashing bottles . . .”2

Houses on the left and the right appeared.  Up driveways that looked impassable in good weather, let alone in snow.

“How does anyone afford to live up here?” I asked, imagining looking outside a frosty window in the morning, a man in a plaid shirt with a bushy beard sighing over coffee at the thought of missing work again, then stocking the fireplace in an attempt to keep up with the ice.

Brandon shrugged.

“I mean half the year you couldn’t even get to work and I bet it’s expensive.” I added.

“Yeah, I don’t know. Shit.”

I saw he was looking at a yellow and white striped gate closing a campground entrance on the right.

“You could just stop and pee on a bush.” I suggested, getting no reply.

A few miles more down the road and we came upon a “For Sale” sign.  A white house, with a large front porch, on a hill, in the pines, overlooking a small lake.  A dock with no boat.  A not so steep drive.   Perhaps the owners had left because of the harsh winter weather or perhaps due to employment issues.

“That looks like a lovely place to live” I said wistfully.

“I wonder how much it costs.  I mean how does anyone afford to live up here.” Brandon replied matter of factly.

     “There’s a world outside, and I know ’cause I’ve heard talk, in my sweetest dream, I would go out for a walk . . .”3

Pines, two or three more closed campground entrances, eels, green.  I continued to hope there was a town on the other side and that it was quaint and had Victorians and a small bookstore with comfy armchairs or at the very least somewhere to get coffee.  I was still in shock over the lack of Starbucks in the mountains.

A power dam, another dam, a power plant.

“Wow. It’s so big.  It must have been hard to build.” I commented as the steel poles of the plant in the valley below came into view.

“Yeah.” He was scanning for a public entrance with access to a restroom.  There wasn’t one.

That was when I started needing to pee too, but I wasn’t going to admit it out loud, nor was I going to pee on a bush.   The road had to end somewhere, sometime soon.

Ten minutes or so later a field in the pines, russet grasses stretching around the curves of the road.

“It must be gorgeous in spring” I said, feeling guilty for not appreciating it as it was.

     “Years go by still I don’t know, who shall inherit this earth . . .”4

It occurred to me that perhaps it would be more interesting if there was a ghost town on the other side, slumping wooden storefronts, dirt roads beneath the snow, haunted by the solitude of the forest slowly engulfing it back into the land.

Past the field and pines and another closed campground the road turned to icy dirt and the Eels CD ended.

“I’m going to turn around” he stated whipping the VW in a tight u-turn avoiding plummeting down the mountain.

Disappointed filled me, my visions of haunted ghost towns and coffee in updated Victorians drifting away.  “Sounds good, it looks like the road ahead isn’t clear” I concurred, realizing the likely hood of crashing if we continued.

He changed the CD to Oingo Bingo.

     “Magic and technology voodoo dolls and chants . . .”

“Somehow this seems less appropriate than Eels.  Somehow Eels fits this.” I stated.

“I agree” he said skipping ahead to a different song.

Back past the pines and the russet field and pines and the hydro plant and dams and pines and the house for sale and pines and the other houses.   All the while Oingo Boingo and needing to pee tinging the green solitude with a sour note.

We came to the last curve and saw Georgetown below us.  Unable to tell from there which Victorians had new paint and which did not.

“I wonder where the road goes” I said looking over my shoulder, hoping to drive it again, to find out.   Then thinking how Google could solve that mystery for me without the risk of crashing off icy mountain roads.

“I really need to pee” Brandon replied speeding towards our hotel.


  1. Lyric from “Novacine for the Soul” by Eels
  2. Lyric from “Susan’s House” by Eels
  3. Lyric from “Not Ready Yet” by Eels
  4. Lyric from “Your Lucky Day in Hell” by Eels
  5. Lyric from “Weird Science” by Oingo Boingo

2 thoughts on “Guanella Pass

  1. Very well done!

  2. Pingback: Cheerful, Isolated Harmony [FLASH FICTION] | Ramisa the Authoress

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