The beautiful ponderosa that leaned toward the east over the Uncompaghre River was felled by the wind during the intense hailstorm on Monday, Aug. 16, that hit a narrow swatch of land from Log Hill through Dallas Meadows. Reports indicate that the storm seemed limited to an area south of Ridgway State Park and north of the Town of Ridgway.
Although [I’m] no weatherman, the intensity of the wind, rain and hail was more than I have ever experienced in my lifetime. The damage this storm cost to the homes and automobiles in this half-hour to 45 minutes of destruction was frightening. Listening to the pounding of the hail on the roof and the intense anger of the wind overwhelmed the senses with the anticipated doom of the roof flying away with gigantic holes in it. Our cat was hiding in a corner of the kitchen meowing loudly (actually screaming) his announcement of fear. The cars on Hwy 550 came to a halt as they skidded on icy marbles, which covered the road. My garden of peas, beans, potatoes and zucchini was shredded. My 35 sunflowers, which showed their dazzling yellow faces to the sun that morning, were shredded to oblivion.
But it wasn’t until the next day that we realized that the “Eagle Tree” was gone. This old, majestic tree was not perfectly upright due to the erosion of the land on which it stood overlooking the river. This angle made it the perfect roost for the bald eagles that visit here each winter. This angled tree gave the birds the advantage of looking over the river where they could spot their next meal.
For 16 years my husband and I have had the pleasure of watching the eagles fly onto and off this tree. Their huge wings and majestic aerobatics have entertained us daily during the winter. Our kitchen table gives us a perfect view of the tree and the eagles.
I’m sure we’ll still see the eagles flying over the river, but we will miss seeing the eagles land on these branches, right in our view corridor. We shall miss the Eagle Tree almost as much as they will.
– M-E Spirek