August 4, 2009

What happened on Bellyache Ridge.

Here we are just married, on the rock where moments before, we exchanged rings — solemnizing our own marriage, pursuant to Colorado's wonderful statutory law.


You can see that my toenails are fortuitously painted the same color as the mountain asters that surround the wedding rock that we found atop Bellyache Ridge. (Enlarge photo.) (The color is actually called "Done Out in Deco," not "Mountain Aster.")

I'm standing, in order to take this picture, and Meade is still sitting, using his iPhone, talking to his mother, the only one of our parents who is still living. I've already finished my iPhone calls to my sons and my comment to this blog, but I sat there alongside my new husband for a good while after our private wedding vows and the putting on of the rings.

Now, you may ask: How come there was cell phone service way up there? It was funny, but we drove up Bellyache Ridge Road, which went way up a mountain, including a long section at the top that was a narrow dirt road, and after we found a place to ditch the car and hiked farther up, we encountered a big old cell phone tower:


We had to wonder if this was a pretty enough place, now, but next to the tower, we saw a wild garden of what I had called "living Koosh Balls" in a blog post earlier in the day. (They're really called musk thistle.)


Look closely — or enlarge the photo — and you'll see that there is a yellow swallowtail butterfly on one of the Koosh balls. The flowers and the butterfly and everything else seemed to say that this was the place, and we found our big flat rock to sit on and performed our wedding. And only later did we realize how useful and apt it was that we could use our iPhones there — apt because Meade and I had met through this blog, and blogging, emailing, texting, and telephoning had been a big part of our relationship. So that ugly tower really did belong on our wedding mountain, Bellyache Ridge.

The mountaintop had been deserted when we climbed up and while we took our vows, but then suddenly a lone runner came over the ridge, like some kind of angel sent to witness. After she passed by, we talked about her and how she was our witness and how strange it was that she'd had no idea that she was our witness and that we weren't merely a couple sitting on a rock, but we were newlywed within that minute. Then, when we finally climbed back down the path, she was looping back, so we saw our angel again. We called out to her and told her everything. She took our picture for us:


Thanks, Millie!



Chris said...

Really, really cool. Congrats to you both & many happy moments and years to you....

Unknown said...

The cell phone tower, the rock, ... I get all that symbolism.

But I can't help wondering how does "Bellyache" fit into all of this?

Bissage said...

I guess I really shouldn’t have been so surprised that an angel would be good at photography. Is there anything they can’t do?

So how about it?

First child to be named Millie?

Come on!

Do it!

Bissage said...

And maybe your angel deserves a tag.

After all, she'll be back from time to time, right?

Marylou said...

This is such a wonderful story. Congratulations to both of you!!!

Fred said...

I hate to break this to you, but in CO, men wear shorts year around. The accountant, VP of Engineering, and VP of Research are wearing shorts at work right now. Men in shorts wearing labcoats just do not look right.

Deb said...

This is just a great story. Thanks for sharing.

Chennaul said...


Thank God for Millie, even though you probably wanted to keep that kinda out of it.

I was just thinking how you wouldn't get a photo together and now you will have this -forever.

There is a reason to invite some -


Anyways-too cute, and Thank God you wore the sandals...that's all I'm saying. And, if it were not for that photo I might have imagined an all-black get-up.....


[ok, and maybe I lied about the-that's all I'm saying...]

Chennaul said...

Oh ya and I know you waited and all, and maybe it has been twenty years or so but thank God you didn't decide to consemate things right then and there on that there rock...

rhhardin said...

Angels are messengers.

They hang around cell phone towers.

Lem said...

Angels are messengers.
They hang around cell phone towers

This is the kind of thing that feeds the marriage truthers ;)

Its a good thing the tower was there.. thats for sure.


Fred4Pres said...

The rock reminds me of Slyvester and the Magic Pebble

Anonymous said...

This makes me smile so much.

Ann Althouse said...

Sylvester was an idiot to wish he was a rock. I mean, who does that? You have a wish: Wish to fly. Wish to be invulnerable -- in some form other than rock. Wish to be somewhere else.

But that was a v. cool book, which I read with my sons many times.

Big Mike said...

Professor, you really do have a thing for that color blue shirt on a guy, don't you.

Hunter McDaniel said...

I go hiking in the mountains quite often and it's not at all unusual to have good cellphone reception at the summit, where there is a clear line of sight to the valleys below. While winding through canyons on the way up, not so much.

After your wedding, it is all downhill (literally).

AmPowerBlog said...

Marriage-blogging is the best!

Lem said...

Is it me or do I detect a hesitation with this post?

Toad said...

I had posted this last evening. This morninging someone commented with me your link. Best wishes to both of you.

BJM said...

Woah! The Althouse vortex has been unleashed on the real world.

I am so happy for you and Meade that am sitting here with tears in my eyes, a lump in my throat, grinning like a fool.

*Sniff, sniff...must find a hankie*

Lem said...

The Brewery looks like a nice place to eat.

Bruce Hayden said...

I am jealous, not just of your newly married bliss, but those mountain photos bring back many fond memories.

While I think that our views back across Vail Pass in Summit County are much better than the Eagle Valley, I really do think that the meadows and flowers are notably better just where Ann and Meade are.

Yes, you can find that sort of meadows and wild flowers throughout most of the Colorado mountains. But I think that the Eagle Valley probably has some of the very best around. It could be because of all the open areas, many I think resulting from some long ago fires, that allow for those meadows. In any case, I can't think of a better place to have tied the knot.

Bruce Hayden said...


The Dam Brewery is about 2 miles downhill from our condo in Dillon. So, I have been there a number of times. My complaint is primarily that it has a somewhat younger crowd there. I am guessing late 20s through mid 30s.

If anyone is in the area, my recommendation for very good food at a not obnoxious price is Pug Ryans up the hill in downtown (old) Dillon, right across the street from the post office.

Oh, and the top right picture on that link shows the Ten Mile Range behind Frisco that I mentioned in Ann's post from when they were in Frisco. That is the view that I so love from Dillon (and Silverthorne where the Dam Brewery actually is - the two towns have grown together, and it is just over the city line).

And, yes, a lot of the guys wear shorts there. But since they are mostly in really good shape, it looks just fine.

AlphaLiberal said...

Congratulations and much happiness to you both. Looks like a wonderful location to tie the knot.

PatCA said...

I wonder if that law was enacted because they were just too remote to have officials everywhere...

So you can just say your own words, fill out the paper, and you're married? Great idea. People focus on the step they are making together.

kjbe said...

I'm still smiling about it, too. Thanks for sharing your story and pics.

LordSomber said...


Maxine Weiss said...

No minister. No witnesses. No bouquet. No trousseau.

And, no valid marriage, either.


TS said...

Oh, shut up Maxine. You're just jealous.

And I wish you both a lifetime of happiness.

Eli Blake said...


Although, being that I don't check your blog every day, and today is August 4th, it's clear that in the spirit of today (President Obama's birthday) Maxine is questioning whether you really were married in the United States.

Anonymous said...

"Peaceful Forests, where ne'er a vain Desire
Disturbs our Hearts' Content,"

Anticipating your marriage, I posted that a couple of days ago.

Sorry to get all Baroque on you, but in Rameau's opéra-ballet, Les Indes Galantes, linked from that quote, the newlyweds sing the following (this time in Frenceh), about life together in their peaceful woods:

Dans nos retraites,
Grandeur, ne viens jamais
Offrir tes faux attraits!
Ciel, tu les as faites
Pour l'innocence et pour la paix.
Jouissons dans nos asiles,
Jouissons des biens tranquilles!
Ah! peut-on être heureux,
Quand on forme d'autres voeux?

Funny how these things work out, non?

Anthony said...

I'm not generally given to overt sentiment while commenting on blogs, but you guys look so comfortably happy, it warms the heart. Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

From what I can make out in the photo, those antennas don't actually look much like cell phone base stations. To the contrary, they look like terrestrial microwave relays, the kind phone companies use to link cities together for regular calls.

Maillard Reactionary said...

Congratulations, and my wishes for many more years of happiness.

Anonymous: They're at the very top of the tower, at the edge of the photograph. Makes sense to put them there, for the greatest range. Towers are vertical real estate, to the owners. All radiating tenants are welcome.

Craig Howard said...

Hard to believe it’s been 10 years.

Many happy returns of the day!