This journal entry will amble about in an organic manner, and I hope to leave you with some anecdotes and ideas about our fair town, what might be happening out this way on any day of the week, and aspects about how I reinvent my life; recreating myself, if you will.
The very first time I came to Crestone was to look for a new home, back in September, 2006. I had already seen Crestone in a “vision” some time back. I was clear about where I was being guided, and so I came here with some intention and definition. After several trips over from The Big City, we found the home a few months later, sold our home in Boulder, and moved here in late June 2007.
As we moved in on that June afternoon, a magnificent double rainbow appeared draped over the 14,000 foot mountains towering up to our east. I could see the placement of both ends of the rainbow. Usually you only see one end, but here one usually sees both ends. It’s a spectacle here, these summer rainbows stretched out across the big mountains. This rainbow marked a portal, and the beginning of a new chapter in my life.
I describe Crestone as an enclave; a distinct territorial, cultural, and social unit enclosed within itself out here at the end of Colorado’s Saguache County Road T. It is the most unique place I have ever lived, and I believe that one day Crestone will become one of the important re-birthing centers of a more advanced and conscious human civilization. It is a community of independent, resourceful, and resilient cultural creatives, artists, spiritualists, and earthy people with wide ranging skill sets.
Crestone is also a combination of a sleepy obscure town and a carnival. The carnival like atmosphere comes forth on occasion from the organic and spontaneous efforts of the inhabitants who are here.
The community is arranged on about 14,000 acres. Some Crestonians consider the true geophysical proportions to really be about 12 X 12 miles square. If you were to consider the space from the Sand Dunes up north to Crestone and then out west to Highway 17, you would arrive at an area of 144 square miles.
Crestone town, plus the subdivisions, have a honeycomb of about 82 miles of roads stringing along the mountain sides. On an average day there are maybe 1000 inhabitants, a number that can balloon up to 1500 on a busy day, like when we have our annual music festival in early August. Crestone is situated in Saguache County, a land mass more than twice the size of Rhode Island. The Ute Indian word Saguache means water at the blue earth.
We have no stop lights in this expansive county, but we do have a few stop signs and 2 blinking red lights. And most people do come to a stop here. The most common motor vehicle accident is the event of a motor vehicle impacting a deer or elk, which can be significant in many regards. The motorist is usually unharmed, the vehicle is damaged or totaled, the animal dies and is harvested by the locals: coyotes, magpies, crows, ravens, eagles, hawks, and humans. I have harvested road killed elk, and fed it to many who enjoyed it.
More on Crestone
The word Crestone means “cock’s comb,” referring to the shape of one of the 14,000 foot peaks here which goes by the name Crestone Peak. Some of the 20’s something crowd here call this place “The Stone.” This nickname may be an apt indicator of some of the said crowd’s neurotransmitter status.
We have a real town of Crestone, a charming and bustling affair, which features: a post office, a bank (Credit Union), a town hall, a small and interesting museum, several quaint gift shops, a hotel, a local artisan’s gallery, and the building where our monthly newspaper, The Crestone Eagle, the finest newspaper I have ever read, is published.
There are several good eateries, a liquor store, a very good beer brewery, an excellent well stocked organic grocery (actually the best organic grocery I have ever used), a well stocked conventional grocery, a hardware store, a laundromat, and a gasoline pump.
There is a town hall, a thrift shop, a “free bin,” a wonderful Saturday morning farmer’s market where anyone can set up and sell anything, a food co-op, an organic ice cream parlor, a barber shop, a pottery guild, a knitting shop cafe, a Pilates studio, and a yoga studio which doubles as a lecture hall and venue for other events. There is a popular music and cafe venue which features an ongoing line up of musicians and nice food dishes.
There is a cemetery, a tiny Episcopal Church, and a larger Baptist Church. The old hanging tree is still living, dogs wander about, and children ride their tricycles, bicycles, and skateboards right down the streets of our happy town.
The Community School, a historic landmark building built in the 1800’s, is still used for a variety of events including the annual seed exchange.
Crestone children are educated in our charter school, and over in nearby Moffat, Colorado, at the high school. We have 2 excellent fire departments with highly trained volunteer personnel. These people are dedicated, and train every week. A number of our firefighters also serve on our Emergency Medical Service team and our Search and Rescue team.
Out the T Road, a short distance from town, we have a library, a 5 hole golf course which wastes some water, a tennis court, a basketball court, and a firearms practice range. The POA administrative facilities are out here, as is the ambulance “barn” where we have meetings and EMT trainings.
Hot Springs and Spas
It is important to mention a nice local amenity which can be enjoyed by taking a 25 minute ride down the T Road and turning south )left) on Highway 17 for another 16 miles. You will see a signage on the west side of Hwy. 17 which indicates that you can turn left (east) onto County Road B to reach the Sand Dunes Pool, also known by us locals as the Hooper pool, because it is just outside the town of Hooper, CO.
This is an perfect temperature geothermal sourced artesian fed full size lap pool. The water constantly flows through the pool from source to exit drainage, and is always fresh. There is a shallow wading end and a deeper diving end with 2 diving boards. There is also some offset soaking pools. There is a large greenhouse with another group of pools, sitting areas for dining, a wonderful array of exotic plants, and a bar. An RV park is on the grounds. You get the feeling from the pictures. In the dead of our sub zero winters, this pool is a warm place from which to view the magnificent Sangre de Cristo mountains to the east. This facility is my personal favorite.
If you drive to the end of the T Road and turn right, going north, for another 12 miles you will arrive at Joyful Journey Hotsprings. This hot springs facility has 3 soaking pools from mild to moderate to most warm. There are also massage therapists and a sauna.
This is a nice facility. All of our 30 something children love it, as does everyone else that comes here to visit. The 3 different temperature soaking tubs, from warm to quite warm, are all fed by natural mineral rich hot springs. You can watch the moon rise, the sun set, and the stars come out, and the snow flakes fall. You can stay in their hotel rooms. You can walk inside of a 42 foot geodesic growing dome and learn about the phenomenon of the geodesic growing dome.
For the sake of completeness, I will mention the presence of another hot springs experience which is not far from Joyful Journey, just up a dirt road a bit into the higher ground. This place is called Valley View Hot Springs. It is more rustic than Joyful Journey, and clothing is optional. I have never experienced this hot springs spa; I have only seen it from the roadside, and so that’s about all I can say about it.
Back to Crestone
The town of Crestone sprang up back in 1880 as a mining town. It was rough and tumble. The hanging tree took on a new role other than being a nice ponderosa. These days Crestone is very peaceful. The only violence I have come close to knowing about was a conflict between 2 young men, which I managed to interrupt. I did that by unknowingly showing up at the right place at the right time with an offering. It’s a good story of synchronicity at work in our lives.
A couple of weekends ago I took a chainsaw class with the mayor, a retired physician, and some of the firefighters. The class was hosted by our fire captain and one of his assistants. I had recently ruined one chainsaw by seizing the power head from too lean of a fuel mixture, and I figured I probably had developed some other unsafe operational habits. So I went to this class, seeking some expert professional training. It is one of the finest classes of any sort that I have ever participated in, and I have sat in on quite a number.
You can get educated down here at the end of this county road on about anything that strikes your curiosity and interest. There is bound to be some kind of pro on the subject, and folks put on some very nice classes here. For instance, this past weekend we learned about how to become bee guardians and how to manage a top bar hive. It’s important for our local ecology, and will provide the personal benefits of honey and honeycomb and cross pollination for the plants on our land.
The Baca Grande
Crestone is under its own management, being incorporated in 1901. It has its own mayor and fire department. Aside from the township of Crestone, which encompasses 200 acres, we refer to the community of Crestone as a larger entity which includes the Baca Grande Subdivision, a large tract which was originally part of the Luis Maria Cabeza de Baca Ranch Land Grant from Mexico in 1823.
The Baca subdivision was developed in 1971, originally as a retirement location for military personnel. The Baca Grande Property Owner’s Association (the POA) was created in 1972 to manage the land and growth, and the POA keeps all the rules and regs, has a revolving Board, helps manage infrastructure, etc. We pay yearly dues to the POA which allows it to operate.
Originally about 10,800 lots, the Baca, as we call this collection, was subdivided into 5 units: Chalet Units I, II, and III, the Grants, and the Mobile Home Estates, aka Casita Park. The Chalets are on the high ground of the mountain slopes, the Grants are on the more western flats stretching out into the Valley, and Casita Park is a couple miles out on the T Road.
The Baca Grande Water and Sanitation District was organized in 1972 to provide domestic water and sewer services to the Chalets. Homes in the Grants are on individual well water and septic systems. For instance, we live in Chalet I and are on the BGWSD services. The Haelan LifeStream Center and Retreat (HLC&R) is out in the Grants and is supplied by very good alpine water and is serviced by a septic system. Please refer to the Photo Gallery on this web site. In some of those pictures, the view is to the east, looking up to the Chalets which stretch out on the higher ground across the mountain sides.
Our Monthly Newspaper
Crestone has the finest free press newspaper I have ever read. It is a monthly publication, and is called The Crestone Eagle. It printed by local people, who write about the important local information and news that helps to move us along to notable community events. Any Crestonian can write an article and contribute. Everything we need to know is there. It cost $1.00 to have a copy. You can order a subscription also. See www.crestoneeagle.com. Circulation is worldwide.
Imagine that, an independent free press with excellent and diverse articles. A whole page is devoted to the month’s astrology, unlike those tiny clips in mainstream press. The next page over is all about what’s happening in the skies over Crestone for the month. Other sections depict activities of Crestone’s 22 different spiritual retreat centers and traditions. Another section is about all the animals here that are not the 2 legged type. Two whole pages editorialize on the world geopolitical scene. There is several pages of a real estate section. There is always some kind of contribution about our local plants and their medicinal qualities.
Police coverage for our community is supplied by the Saguache County Sherriff”s Office over in our county seat in Saguache, Colorado. They are a good team. They have also provided me with other types of instruction of a tactical nature. I keep good relations with our force. We also have Colorado State Troopers who manage to make the 12 mile journey down the T Road, and their presence is appreciated. We don’t have a lot of speeders here. The top speed limit is 35 mph.
As alluded to above, if you hit a 4 legged animal on these roads, just keep your cool, call for emergency services for help, and stay safe. If you know any stalwart Crestonians, just call them up, should you be carrying a cell phone. One of Crestone’s dependable humanitarians will arrive very soon to assist you, the suffering animal, your vehicle, and act as an excellent intermediary for you, the EMS folks, and the law enforcement folks should you be traumatized.
Crestone Standard Time
Things are not rushed here. We are on Crestone Standard Time, and everything seems to be well arranged by the Organizational Grid and the Alignment of Divine Timing. If you would like to experience that phenomenon, then I hope you will pay us a visit. If you ever wondered about the now commonly circulated terminology of “space-time,” then this is the place where you want to come for a practical experiential knowledge acquisition of “what is space-time?” Many believe that the veil between the dimensions is thin here. The double rainbows and oft misty mountain tops seem to reinforce this idea.
Medical coverage is provided at the Moffat Medical Center, just 12 miles out to where the T Road turns into Moffat at the junction of State Highway 17. I carry my wallet and driver’s license out in that region of space. In Crestone we have the Baca-Crestone Ambulance service which provides Emergency Medical Service (EMS) coverage to the northeastern portion of Saguache County, about 528 square miles from the Sand Dunes down south, out to Highway 17 to the west, several miles north of Crestone proper to one mile north of County Road AA, and then we have the Sangres to border the eastern limit of our ambulance coverage. We are a 501c3 and receive funding from our ambulance district, tax fees, and some fee for service.
The EMS is managed by a paramedic. Aside from our manager, there are some 8 volunteers consisting of Intermediate and Basic EMT’s, First Responders, and an MD. We need more EMT volunteers to staff our small service, and so, if you are reading this Journal entry, and if you want to come and live here and provide such a service, then you are most welcome to come and see and help out.
We have 2 ambulances; one of them is brand new as of this week. We run our patients primarily down to San Luis Regional Medical Center, the excellent hospital in Alamosa, CO, 45 miles south. We also run up over Poncha Pass in the northern Valley to Heart of the Rockies, the excellent hospital in Salida, CO, 50 miles north.
On an as needed basis, we will call in helicopter transport (Flight for Life), or fixed wing transport out of Alamosa (Eagle Air Med). If we call in the helicopters to Crestone, they usually land in the South Crestone Park by one of the fire stations. We will stabilize and transport to Alamosa or Salida, and can also have the flight service waiting on us there. We may also call in a helicopter in to Crestone to assist with Search and Rescue missions into the high country to help hikers and mountaineers who have encountered serious difficulties. This happens several times each summer. Some folks make it, and some folks Make It. Several people pass on every climbing season.
The Crestonians who volunteer in this service are strong people, and they are saviors to many. Search and Rescue missions in these mountains is arduous and demands real experts who live in strong bodies, have strong hearts, and have brain smarts. They have to get up there, find the people, and bring them out, usually on stretcher.
There are also a number of very nice retired M.D.s who live here, and they pinch hit well if you want yet another opinion, but you’ll have to implore them to come out.
If you want to have a home birth of your child here, well you can just do just that. We have a very excellent certified midwife, Alycia Chambers. Home birthing is the most common way babes enter into Crestone.
In addition to these practitioners there is a wide variety of many types of holistic practitioners who work inside of their niched offerings.
There are a number of lodging choices for visitors, from the Sangre de Cristo Inn in bustling downtown Crestone to a variety of B&B’s which are advertised in The Crestone Eagle newspaper to some other offerings at the Crestone Area Visitors Agency.
I have been told that the finest accommodations for an individual or a couple is at the Haelan LifeStream Center and Retreat, which you can read all about on this web site. See the Photo Gallery slide show above. The domicile is ideal for a couple, and I now only rent it out to couples.
The HLC&R is a high quality elegant off grid strawbale construction which you will never forget. It features a very fine kitchen, excellent well water, an attached growing space, outside organic growing beds, a solar oven to learn about (best way to cook food, and very simple), a true sense of privacy inside of the grounds enclosures, extensive outside stonework patios which will take you away, and a seasoned physician who comes and goes to check on the solar system, visit with his clients, and assist the rental inhabitants.
Here is a short video of the Retreat environs taken from a drone camera which I renter kindly gifted me with.
Crestone and environs see about 330 sunny days per year. Average annual precipitation is 10 to 12 inches per year, and so this is a high desert ecosystem. There is plenty of water, in so much as Crestone is adjacent to the second largest underground aquifer in the North American continent, and the community is fed by 5 alpine streams.
You can study up on Crestone’s meteorological conditions, and surrounding places, which can be viewed at Crestone’s Weather Center. A gentleman named Keno runs this web site, which is updated every 10 minutes with new data from his weather station collection system. It is a very helpful service. He also publishes a monthly meteorological report in our newspaper.
My favorite month here is August. The mountains and valley are in high form and splendor. The mosquitoes of June and July have gone away, the temperatures are wonderful, and flowers and gardens are in full bloom and abundance. The Milky Way night sky is full of expansive beauty and glory.
My next favorite month is September, then October, and then winter. The winters here are real winters which lend themselves to quiet beauty, reflection, and the comfort of the hearth and fireplace. Then come the blustery months of spring. June and July feature warm days and mosquitoes for about 6 weeks. You have to use an organic insect repellent. And then there is August again.
Some Other Nice Services
There are a couple of noteworthy community efforts which deserve mentioning. One is the Neighbors Helping Neighbors organization which attempts to help any citizen with any need which they require, but do not have the means to purchase. They also publish our little biannual telephone book.
Another service offered here is very unique and special. If one should give up the ghost (move on to Life after Life) while living in Crestone, and if one has lived here at least 3 months prior to moving on into The Light, and if one has made one’s end of Life choices known, then one may choose to have their body handled via a unique experience. Crestone is the only town in America which offers its residents the option of open air cremation of the deceased body.
You can read more about this terrific service in my recent Journal entry entitled “The Crestone End of Life Project.” This entry was posted on April 25, 2010. I hope that you will read it. It may help to assuage some of your angst about living and dying. Simple version: we don’t die. We live on. I covered alot of theory and writing on this life mystery issue in the past Life after Life series of Journal entries. You can scroll back in the Archives to locate this series should you wish.
You can also go to www.crestoneendoflifeproject.org. There you can learn about this unique Crestone spiritual offering.
So, where is Crestone, Colorado?
Simply put, for the aspiring journeyman, Crestone is in south central Colorado about 12 miles north of the Great Sand Dunes. Crestone is situated at 8000 feet of altitude above sea level on the rising slopes of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range which tower upwards to our east. We look out over the San Luis Valley for some 50 miles, or more, over to the San Juan mountain range to the west.
The Sangre de Cristo mountains form the eastern boundary and the San Juan mountains form the western boundary of the San Luis Valley which runs north and south for about 100 miles, ending in the Taos Plateau in northern New Mexico. The San Luis Valley is the highest alpine valley in the North American continent.
The sun and moon rise up over our 14,000 foot Sangre peaks, and set to the west over the San Juans. Afternoon sunsets, and morning settings of full moons, are especially beautiful. Sunsets color the Sangre de Cristo peaks with a red hue, from which the name is derived; the full translation of which is “The Blood of Christ.”
The night skies here are (in)describable. You have never seen so many stars in the sky. The Milky Way is prominently visible. I have looked up into these skies at night with a night vision device, and marvelled in wonderment. Night vision devices open new visual abilities that ordinary eyes will miss. On a clear night with no moonlight about, the enormity and depth of Creation enters your optic pathways, and it changes you.
Looking up into this view of the crucible of Creation will put fire in your eyes, life in your step, and make childbirth a pleasure. Aside from that kind of enjoyment, I usually encounter 2 to 10 cars during the afternoon rush hour. I no longer participate in the morning rush hours, but I suspect the number of vehicles is much the same.
Removed from the compressive distractions and speed of The Big City, you may become a believer in a guiding Intelligence that you are an essential part of. Your identity crisis issues may subside. Then you may leave here, go back to your place, forget all about your true Identity, cook up another identity crisis, and then develop a longing to come back here to recapture the magic of you.
Then, at some point, some of you may figure that you want a home here. There are alot of homes and empty lots on the market right now, and it is a buyer’s market. Pretty soon, more forward thinking folks will figure out that they want to be out here in order to escape the chaos of our evolving society. They will be coming with cash in hand to buy those homes and lots.
Signing off from Crestone and Beyond
Two Good Videos about Crestone: