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Life on California's beautiful Central Coast

Through it all, the river flows

First light hits the Uncompahgre. June 19, 2009.

First light hits the Uncompahgre. June 19, 2009.

I’ve been overwhelmingly positive about our visit to Ouray, and this is a place that merits that sort of reaction. But like most places, it has bad history too. The environmental pollution caused by the mining operations and the taking of the ancestral lands of the Ute Indians in order to make those mining operations happen is sordid stuff. It’s not widely acknowledged here.

The mining history is somewhat celebrated. There are statues.

10 hour days for $2.75 per day.

10 hour days for $2.75 per day.

However, I did not see a statue of Chief Ouray anywhere in the town that has his name. There should be one. He was an amazing person and diplomat.

The Uncompaghre River Walk, where I took these photos, is financed by the EPA and a lot of local mining families in order to clean up some of the historic damage done to the river by the mining. This is good. It is much harder to clean up wholesale damage to Native Americans.

Old mine building.

Old mine building.

That’s all I’m going to say about that for now. These are things that have been on my mind since we’ve been here and I wanted to make a stab at putting them into words before we left.

In other news, there’s a great big property auction down at the Elks Lodge in an hour. You could buy this house:

Do I hear $150, $200, $300 .. OK now $750 .. SOLD to the lady with the expensive handbag and bored look on her face.

Do I hear $150, $200, $300 .. OK now $750 .. SOLD to the lady with the expensive handbag and bored look on her face.

If you want to read a great article about what it’s like to go to a property auction, check out this piece by my Dad here. Based on a true story! (Happy early Father’s Day, dad.)

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