by Maggie Sefton
Hi, everyone--it occurred to me that all of the blog posts from last June and half of July were filled with stories of wildfires, flames, firefighters and people fleeing their mountain homes. I posted striking photos of flames leaping about the mountainside. Scary, yes. And, we're all thankful here in Northern Colorado and elsewhere in Colorado that our wildfires were completely contained and put out in July. Our yearly July Monsoon rainstorms helped tremendously.
So, now--I'm posting to let all of you know that ONLY A SMALL PORTION of our mountains were affected by the wildfires. When I drive along the north-side road closest to the foothills and stare out at them, I don't see any fire-damaged mountainside until way north of town. And then, only here and there, a few hillsides bear the blackened scars.
And Fort Collins itself was UNTOUCHED. No fires got anywhere close. We are bordered along most of our western flank in the foothills by the long, long Horsetooth reservoir. No wildfire can jump across that :)
Why am I posting about this? Because our local newspaper pointed out that once word of the wildfires broke in the national press, people all over the country cancelled their Colorado travel plans--hotels, campgrounds, rafting trips, mountain biking tours. That makes all of us in Northern Colorado really sad. We had NO fire damage anywhere around Fort Collins, and nothing is slowing or interfering with any visitors enjoyment of our gorgeous scenery and our lovely and lively city. Our Old Town is filled with distinctive cafes with great food and music, unique shops, and live music outside in Old Town Plaza every week, in various small parks and seating areas dotted throughout, and every weekend there's a fun-filled festival going on.
Last weekend was the New West Fest with national and local musicians performing Friday through Sunday, plus food vendors of every description and craft and art booths as well. And that's just one weekend. Fort Collins has festivals going on practically every weekend during the summertime. And in September, we'll have one of the great bike tours, Tour de Fat, sponsored by our hometown and now nationwide brewery, New Belgium--home of Kelly Flynn's favorite Fat Tire ale. :) All proceeds to charity. In fact, Fort Collins is one of the state's most active Craft Beer cities. We have several different craft breweries in town, most located in or close by Old Town.
Yes, I know this is blatant boosterism, but I didn't want to leave people with the impression that those awful wildfires had harmed our lovely and lively city. Plus, the absolutely gorgeous Rocky Mountain National park was also not involved with either the High Park fire or the Colorado Springs wildfires. So, check us out the next time you have the urge to travel. You won't regret it.