Stagecoach State Park is located in the Yampa Valley about 15 miles from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It has a large reservoir – over 800 acres for water sports with hiking trails around the perimeter of the lake. The buildings were all closed due to the Covid pandemic. Little did we know, there was history here of another pandemic – this one in 1918.
We started the Elk Run Trail at the Reservoir dam. The steep drop-off to the Yampa River was impressive. We hiked 7 miles around the lake and back and only covered a quarter of the reservoir.
Do you like to stand atop a dam and look down?
What was life like 30 years ago? 60 years ago? 90 years ago in this area?
New houses were being built along the lakeside, I suppose on private property. We could walk close to these houses on the Elk Trail. There were a few hikers and a late season water-skier using this quiet park where we walked for a picnic.
The birds were not happy we disturbed their nesting in the tall grasses and their sunflowers were in their late stages.
But whose flow is stopped in the summer heat and that vanish in their gullies under the heat of the sun. The path of their course winds along, goes out into the desert and disappears. You travelers have heard
how the experienced caravans from Tema searched for water, how the travelers of Sheba expected to find it; But their confidence turned to frustration and shame;for when they arrived, they found no water, only disappointment. Job 6:17-21 The Voice
When Park J. Gardner built this homestead cabin in the early 1900s, Yellow Jacket Pass was the main route into Steamboat Springs. Horse drawn stagecoaches (hence the name Stagecoach State Park) and wagons made the three-day trip from the railroad station at Wolcott, Colorado through Yampa to Steamboat Springs from the late 1880s through 1909 when the Moffat Railroad began to provide passenger and freight service to the county.
And life was hard- very hard. In November 1918, Gardner’s wife Ada, his only daughter Lucille, and her infant son died within a week during the great influenza outbreak and pandemic. Gardner and his living son John continued to ranch on the 168 acre homestead until 1931. The cabin was last lived in during the 1950s. By 2008, it had nearly collapsed but the Historic Routt County saved the cabin in 2009. Source: https://www.historicrouttcounty.org/diamond-window-cabin/