11/22/10, La Garita, CO - Yesterday, while driving back from Alamosa to pick up some supplies, I was captivated by the sight of the San Juan Mountains to my west. Great gray masses of clouds were spilling off the peaks and sending tendrils of snow into the valley. To the east, the clouds were floating across the valley, only to stopped by the lofty height of the Sangre De Cristo Range. As I turned west on the poorly marked road to La Garita, I soon became enshrouded in a world of white. After a few minutes the storm briefly abated, leaving a fine coating of snow on the landscape.
Later, while having supper with my good friends Bonnie and Jerry, another squall passed through the area, depositing another half inch of snow. After dinner, I retired to a warm wagon, that is parked behind the trading post. As I sat in the warmth and comfort, with the ice crystals swirling outside, I though of how this once bustling town received it’s name. The English translation of the name La Garita is ‘The Shelter’. It must have been on a night like this, long ago, that settlers named the burg. As the early storms rolled down the mountainsides, they would have retreated to their adobe houses, warmed by a burning fire and the hearts of their loved ones. At such a time, the words “La Garita” would have come easily to thier lips.