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Updated: Jun 3, 2022

Finally living and working on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, life couldn't have been better. The house was the first split-level home I had ever lived in, with the den and fireplace on the lower level and everything else on the ground or second-story levels. The view from the back deck was east out over the plains.

To the west were the mountains, and a block and a half up the street I lived on was a trailhead to a large regional park with biking and hiking trails that tied into other less developed trails climbing higher westward.

The office was within biking distance via paved bicycle trails paralleling a river which flowed just beyond the parking lot. My workspace wasn't as sunny as those I had been enjoying for the past six years but it was not devoid of sunlight. Like many Dot Com startups it had little cafés providing free bagels and coffee to employees. I didn't eat bagels much and never drank coffee until I retired from work completely, so they weren't of much value to me.

Some mornings before work and weekends I didn't feel like going anywhere very far away, a bike ride through local parks was a great way to get some mild exercise.

Places like Glenwood Canyon provided another low-impact riding trail laid out alongside the Colorado River when I felt like driving a moderate distance to be there.

And even further out were wilder places to enjoy, from Mosquito Pass... Great Sand Dunes.

Snow fell in September. Enjoying first fire in the den with a drink and high-energy meal, I was outside as soon as there was some accumulation on the ground.

Even night-hiking up into the mountains for a view out over the canyon.

Being in the Rockies during fall for the first time in my life, I finally was able to see Colorado aspen turn into gold.

Two years previous to moving to the Front Range I had purchased a tract of land deeply embedded in wilderness abbutting 1.6 million acres of national forestland in a mountain range about 271 miles south and a little bit west from where I was currently living on the Front Range and was able to see a similar sight there, both on the property...

...and up slope another 1000 feet higher.

Seeing the property in that startling colorful state before purchasing it convinced me it was well worth it. It was the first time I had ever bought my own property and I did so with vague but definite plans to someday build a house on it and retire there to live out my days in peaceful seclusion, thoroughly insulated from the rat race below. That would happen about five years later but first the property and house (in unfinished state) would save me from ruin when the Dot Com startup I was currently working for went belly up eight months after I started working there. That wouldn't happen until springtime the next year, which was a perfect time to be laid off from a dream job.

In the meantime I was enjoying absolutely every aspect of this phase of life and did not want it to end. And after an acquaintance listened to some of my original songs and tunes, she encouraged me to get out and perform live at open-mike venues around town and elsewhere farther up in the mountains. It wasn't long before I was idle only when totally exhausted and fast asleep. Getting into the music performance scene spurred interest in learning to play mountain dulcimer, so I ordered one custom made by a famous local luthier named Bud Ford Jr. at his dulcimer shop a few miles up the road.

And my friend's encouragement to get out and perform would eventually save me when leveraging the small bit of fame I had garnered along the Front Range before the Dot Com startup I had so happily been working for declared it would be laying off the greater part of its workforce due to downturn in the B2B industry. The Dot Com bubble was about to burst.

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