(I swear I did not retouch the expression on the dog's face.)
I have many other pictures of Meade and the dog — whose name is Bachelor — but this one came up with a hilarious expression that had me thinking of the famous Obama ass-gawk photo. A camera can catch a single instant that gives an impression that something happened that no one actually present and viewing the whole scene in real time would have perceived.
The dog and Meade actually got along tremendously well. The dog liked me too, see:
Now, how did we get a dog? The hotel has a dog that you can borrow for walks — it's a "Loan-a-Lab program." Here's the hotel, nestled in Bachelor Gulch:
So, what's the story with the name "Bachelor Gulch"?
The lush mountain valley known as Bachelor Gulch rises out of the Eagle River Valley, home to the Rocky Mountain towns of Vail, Avon and Edwards. From the Ute Indians who originally settled in the “Shining Mountains” and western valleys of Colorado to a group of spry old bachelors in the early 1900s whose namesake remains, “Bachelor Gulch” as it became known has always been home to many memorable residents. The legends and lore of these bachelors became the inspiration for the secluded mountain resort and the surrounding community on Beaver Creek Mountain.So what do you think: an early gay community? "Spry" ≈ gay. And, of course, "bachelor" ≈ gay.
Many of these original bachelors were miners who first came to Colorado in search of silver and other precious ore. They settled in Bachelor Gulch in search of a better way of life and because they were able to purchase land, which was made possible by the Homestead Act of 1862. Seven of these most colorful men who settled The Gulch were John Anderson, Gunder “Gundy” Berg, Ed Howard, Charley Mays, John Mertz, Ferdinand Smith and Carrothers – a man whom so little is known about that he’s only recognized by his last name in historical references.
John Anderson’s original cabin can still be found around the corner from The Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Daybreak Ridge. Berg’s and Mertz’s homesteads no longer stand, but the stories of these bachelors holding court at the general store while children raced their horses down the street for their entertainment are legendary. Howard was deaf and it was said that a crowing Rooster perched atop his bedpost couldn’t wake him from his sleep. Smith was actually nicknamed Crippled Smith as Smith was lame – so that people would not confuse him with another Smith who lived up the Valley. Charley Mays was the favorite of the local children, making them lunch pails from his tobacco cans. The area’s most elusive bachelor Carrothers, local lore recounts only as having poor eyesight and making bad decisions as a result.
The bachelors stayed in the area until the 1920s when high altitude lettuce farming or “green gold” took root in Bachelor Gulch. The next generation of homesteaders found an easier way of life in the mountains, making a good living by growing lettuce. The climate was ideal and the soil was very rich with nutrients. However, the Great Depression of the 1930s affected the farmers who sold their land to two local ranchers who used the area for herding cattle and grazing sheep. The land remained privately owned for nearly 40 years until the vision for Bachelor Gulch as a vacation resort began to form.
Hotel footnote: The Ritz Carlton is a pretty cool place to stay. We enjoyed toasting marshmallows in the firepit and eating our way through the tasting menu at Spago — among many other things.