Ghost Adventure

I try to drive once a week to keep my car running and to prevent today’s low quality gas from rotting the fuel lines. Mostly on my driving day, I’ve been heading to the bigger town to get items I can’t get around here, and to pick up the groceries too heavy or bulky to carry when I’m on foot, but today, I didn’t need enough to warrant an errand trip. So I went adventuring.

I’ve been wanting to go hiking in the the state wildlife area that’s just a few miles from here, but when I finally found the area, I was only able to drive about a quarter of a mile on those washboard roads before I gave up. Such roads rattle my poor old car, and I always worry I will end up like one of those jalopies in comic strips, where the hero hits a bump, and that old car falls to pieces.

I drove very carefully back out to the paved road, and headed toward a nearby historic area with a ghost town. Many of the buildings had been washed away in a long ago flood, but the ones that remain are in good shape and house  a museum of sorts.

This ghost town is on the Santa Fe trail — a ghost trail for real. Those travelers who didn’t die on the trail have been settled in graveyards for a century or more.

After walking the few feet of trail that’s in the historic region, I moseyed along the ghost river. This river bed was once a raging river, though in it’s current incarnation, it’s a placid creek about a half mile away from this river bed. (Though when the rains come, it reverts back to it’s wild youth, or so I’ve been told.)

It was a gorgeous day, perfect for taking photos and wandering the grassy trails. The only downside of the trip (well, besides not getting to hike in the state wildlife area) was plaque honoring the women who’d once lived there. Not that I object to the mention of the women. It was the story attached to one Indian woman that haunts me. She was married to a white man, and the lands she got as reparation for the Sand Creek Massacre helped build his empire. It just struck me as so wrong that the same sort of folks who destroyed the native peoples were in any way allowed to benefit. The cynic in me wonders how many men, married to Indian women, were instrumental in getting the reparations.

But they, too, are ghosts now — the man and his property-bearing wife. And anyway, my own ancestors were starving in a country far away across the ocean when all this happened, so it’s not as if I bear any personal responsibility. I will let it go and just remember the gorgeous day and my ghost walk under the lovely blue Colorado skies.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

4 Responses to “Ghost Adventure”

  1. rheashowalter Says:

    I don’t know if you will receive this as I using your blog reply address.  I found you when my husband died as your first book on grief was one of the first ones I read.  It was very helpful to me as I was sure I was probably crazy.  😉   I have followed with interest your move to Colorado and you keep putting things in there that make me really wonder where you are.  Small town, larger town for shopping, Santa Fe Trail, Purgatorie River, etc.  I am curious because I live in Southern Colorado in Huerfano County in the country.  I keep thinking of moving to a small town and giving up all the stress of keeping up with this place which seems to have a lot at times.  Do you mind telling me which town you decided on?  I understand if you do not want to give out that information.  My mailing address is Walsenburg but I live in the triangle between Walsenburg, LaVeta, and Gardner – out with the cows and pronghorns.Rhea Showalter

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Hi, Rhea. I sent you an email to the address you used for this comment. I don’t mind people knowing where I live, but for safety’s sake, I don’t want to post it online.

  2. rami ungar the writer Says:

    That woman’s story sounds like the basis for a historical fiction novel.

  3. Judy Galyon Says:

    Sounds like an interesting adventure. My ancestors too are far across the ocean. I just got my ancestry report. Hope things are going well with your house & all the things that are needed to be done.

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