A Landing a Day

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Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Posted by graywacke on April 20, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a twice-a-week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Landing number 2005; A Landing A Day post number 423.

Dan –  It’s getting a little scary – the USers just keep on comin’ . . . CO; 67/68 (barely!); 8/10 (6/6); 151.7.  Here’s my landing map:

 pag landing 1

Looking more closely, I landed in the boonies, but not too far from the town of Pagosa Springs:

 pag landing 2

My Google Earth (GE) shot confirms that I landed in the boonies:

 pag GE 1

This oblique GE (looking north) shot shows a very cool landscape.  My landing’s not in the center (as it usually would be); the valley east of my landing was intriguing, so I skewed this shot towards the east.

 pag GE 2

Looks to me like a classic U-shaped valley carved by a glacier . . .

 Although I suspect that there’s a stream with a name in the east-west valley just south of my landing (along the road in the shot above), I don’t know what it is.  This forever-to-be-unnamed stream flows east and discharges into the San Juan R (17th hit); on to the Colorado (160th hit).

 Just upstream along the banks of the San Juan is my titular town – Pagosa Springs.  From ghostdepot.com (a website about the Denver & Rio Grande Railway), this about the town’s history:

The old western town of Pagosa Springs was named by the Ute Indians after the nearby hot springs, from the Ute words “pah” meaning “water”, and “gosa” meaning “boiling”.  A growing resort town, more and more tourists are drawn to the therapeutic benefits of Pagosa Springs each year, as they visit the mineral baths and pools which are found in many of the motels in town.

Pagosa Springs was the center of a dispute between the Navajos and the Utes.  For centuries, they fought each other over ownership, for both tribes used the springs.  Small battles between the two tribes were commonplace, but failed to solve anything.  In 1866 the tribes decided to choose one man from each of their tribes.   The two men were to have a one on one battle, and the tribe who’s man survived would be the owners of the springs.

The Utes chose Albert Henry Pfieffer to be their fighter.  [Wait a second, it sounds like they probably picked a ringer.]  A U.S. Indian agent in New Mexico, Pfieffer had been friends of the Utes for a while, but was not so well liked by the Navajo.  Pfieffer picked Bowie knives as the weapon for the fight, and won quickly, killing the Navajo.  [I’ll say he was a ringer!]  The Utes took ownership of the springs.  By 1880, the U. S. government claimed ownership of the springs, along with one square mile of surrounding property.  A few years later, the bathhouses were built and the town of Pagosa Springs was born.

In one of the accounts of the fight that I read, Pfieffer simply threw the knife at his opponent, killing him.  The last thought of the poor Navajo:  “Hey!  That’s not fair . . . .”

 I hope the Utes enjoyed their brief tenure as sole owners of the springs.  They probably didn’t.

 A second point of interest is that I landed less than a mile from a Buddhist temple, Tara Mandala.  This GE shot shows the proximity:

 pag GE 3 near tara mandala temple

From Tara Mandala’s website, here’s some info:

Tara Mandala is an international Vajrayana Buddhist community with its home base in Pagosa Springs at 7,500 feet altitude in Southwest Colorado.  It is guided by Lama Tsultrim Allione, author of Women of Wisdom and Feeding Your Demons. Lama Tsultrim has studied Tibetan Buddhism under traditional teachers for more than 45 years. Today, opportunities for quiet contemplation are rare, and places dedicated to long-term retreat are even more scarce. Meditation has a profound effect on the individual and its benefits emanate into the rest of the world.

In a chaotic and stressful world, Tara Mandala retreat center offers refuge, renewal and traditional Buddhist training through our residential Living Dharma program as well as group and solo retreats. Bordered by the San Juan National Forest and Southern Ute Tribal Land, the retreat center is on 700 acres of rolling hills and meadows adorned with many varieties of wild flowers, ponds, and forests. The land itself is a mandala with a stunning peak in the middle surrounded by four valleys. Retreat cabins are scattered across the landscape, and at its heart is the extraordinary three-story mandala Tara temple.

There you have it.  Click HERE to visit the website.

In this picture from the website, my landing would be just off the photo to the left.


I can imagine some folks out on the grounds meditating, when suddenly this huge yellow push pin drops down from the heavens.  I’m not sure how Buddhists would interpret this . . .

 I’ll close with this lovely shot of the San Juan river near Pagosa Springs (from TripAdvisor):


That’ll do it.




© 2013 A Landing A Day

One Response to “Pagosa Springs, Colorado”

  1. Jordan said

    Cool post from a seemingly regular-type landing location.

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