January 23, 2017

"I never fit in very well. I was a very passive male and I didn’t fit into the male culture, especially back then."

"It was just really nice to not have social pressures, not have all the stimulus... I never was very hip, very cool. I mean, I had long hair and a beard and all that, but I never felt comfortable. It took a long time of living out here to become more comfortable.... I’ve always been pretty good at living alone obviously. God, if I wasn’t it’d be really nuts living out here.... I got up in the morning and looked out this picture window at this mountain and it was like, this is a good place to be."

Said Billy Barr, the lone resident of Gothic, Colorado.

15 comments:

Michael K said...

I once visited the town of Panamint CIty CA which had a population of thousands in 1893. When I was there about 50 years ago, there were about 6 residents.

Now the road is gone and the residents have left. The road when I was there was a jeep road only and in the days of the silver mines, the smelter used to cast the silver in one ton ingots so the thieves that lived in the canyon could not carry them away.

BDNYC said...

Men-in-shorts post, amirite?

traditionalguy said...

Introvert's Heaven. If he sees another person, chances are they have wings.

Bruce Hayden said...

A lot of ghost towns, or almost ghost towns in CO. One of my favorites is about Montezuma, which is up a side valley from the Keystone Ski Area. It was incorporated in, I think, the 1880s, but should have been declared defunct in maybe the 1940s, as it went completely abandoned. No one bothered, and then it resurged after Denver built Dillon Reservoir, and skiing went mainstream. By the 1960s, it was no longer vacant, and continues to grow slowly. Yet, last I knew, it still had its original town charter from the 1880s.

We used to cross country ski up above there, and, more recently, they started hosting an endurance snow showing event every year, where you climb up and down several thousand feet vertical for, maybe, 24 hours, and the one with the most vertical wins.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Interesting article. Reminded me a bit of Dick Proenneke "Alone in the Wilderness."

He prefers billy barr not Billy Barr.

I wonder why they didn't list the numbers that make him think the snow is getting hard packed later and bare ground arriving sooner? This could be a good argument for global warming with actual raw data, but the numbers aren't mentioned in the article.

madAsHell said...

Here's his website that he updates daily from his home in Gothic.

It kinda kills some of his mystique......No?

harryo said...

I live out in the county, and nothing but cattle around me. I was the first to buy a plot of land for something other than grazing. The farmer needed the money, as cattle prices were crap. I didn't put up a fence, so his cattle could continue eating the grass, and he liked that. Cattlemen are strange about fences.

Every year I would till this small area and plant all manner of vegetables, and put a little fence around it that the cattle and rabbits respected.

Well, the farmer sold another plot of land, and the people who bought it built a big ass home, and put the damned thing right next to my property line. They could have put it in the middle. Next thing you know, they complain about my tilling, as the dust goes all over their house.

I hate neighbors. All I think about now is either leaving, or burning their house down. I guess we'll see what happens this fire season.

Levi Starks said...

It's a great story, a great life he has for himself.
Maybe I didn't read the whole thing close enough, but I missed the part about how he paid for college, how he's supported himself all these years, did he pay into the social security system, Medicare etc.
whose been paying his health insurance during the 8 years of Obamacare.
I'm not trying to be mean, he has an enviable lifestyle there might be hundreds,thousands? Of people who would like to replicate it.
How can they be denied the basic human right of aloneness?

Bad Lieutenant said...

harryo said...
I live out in the county, and nothing but cattle around me.

I hate neighbors. All I think about now is either leaving, or burning their house down. I guess we'll see what happens this fire season.
1/23/17, 2:17 PM


coupe, is that you?

I Callahan said...

It was just really nice to not have social pressures, not have all the stimulus... I never was very hip, very cool. I mean, I had long hair and a beard and all that, but I never felt comfortable. It took a long time of living out here to become more comfortable

In light of recent history, it looks like he made the right choice. People are dumb, panicky and dangerous animals. Best to stay away from them...

John said...

This made me think of Ken Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion. One of my all time favorite books.

Between chapters he has some anecdotes that have little to do with the story. One that has always stuck with me was about a man who bought a 5' shelf of great books and took a job out in back of beyond tending cattle.

He wanted to be alone to figure the universe out.

Sometimes I get that feeling. Then my new (13 month) grandaughter comes to the house.

John Henry

Wilbur said...

Kelly: "Yep, first the silver run out, then the people run out, then the whiskey run out, then the beer run out. Don't matter, it's good to see a high roller come through."

Outlaw Josie Wales

AprilApple said...

Gothic, in summer, is over-run with people who take the road that runs through Gothic to the immense spider web of hiking and mountain bike trails. You do not bother the scientists as you pass. No public bathrooms. No public anything in Gothic... just move along now. Go on now - git. It's a known thing, and it's generally respected.

Trouble is, some new CO residents, and some tourists - they are ruining the area and pooping everywhere. The bottom of west maroon pass trail-head smells like a toilet. Some private land owners are shutting off access to trail-heads because of the over-use and abuse. It's a beautiful area. but please people, be respectful.

***you can count on me to bring the cheer.

AprilApple said...

This winter, the dude is buried.

JTR said...

@Levi
He's an accountant for the lab:

Then he eats breakfast and skis the 30 minutes to the lab where he works at the near-deserted RMBL lab as an accountant.

In his early years, Billy took up a variety of jobs with the lab, helping as a research assistant, washing dishes, working in the library, doing the plumbing, electrical work and general maintenance. He was on a hot shot fire crew for five summers and worked for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center for 35 years.

But in 1980, the lab lost their accountant. Billy was the only one nearby to access the records and he was good at math, so he offered to do the job. He’s been doing it ever since.