Colwell Cedars Retreat
~ merging awareness, creativity, and nature ~
We—Joe and Katherine Colwell—visited the North Fork Valley in 1990—and like so many others—fell in love with the area; and were fortunate to find this 40 acres on the southeast end of Redlands Mesa. At that time we were planning ahead to Joe’s retirement. For the next seven years we spent long weekends and vacation weeks here—camping, cleaning up the old homestead, and building trails.
The land was homesteaded by Hazel Short in the 1930s, and continued in her ownership until 1988 when she deeded the property to her nieces. In 1990 they sold to a developer, and we came along at the moment when he was ready to list the property. From 1998 to 2000, Joe interviewed Redlands Mesa residents who knew Hazel, and he has been working off and on since then on a book inspired by her life and this land.
In 1997 we realized that while we were physically in the Black Hills of South Dakota—where Joe was in his 28th year with the U.S. Forest Service—we were mentally here. So, we did some math, and realized that if we lived frugally, he could retire early, and we would move here. So we did.
We were also fortunate to find a terrific builder and subcontractors, and moved into our home in January 1998. Katherine’s artist friends visited during construction and immediately started planning our first retreat, which we held in May 1998. The Viola Guesthouse and garage were constructed in 2000.Over the years we have documented with photos the homestead cleanup, our landscaping, the building construction, the flora and fauna, and our retreat guests.
Looking back over the years, it has been a remarkable journey—incredibly interesting, challenging and rewarding—with no end in sight: Joe keeps “finding” new trails to build, and with Katherine’s health odyssey magically resolved (the root causes were gluten and art/environment toxins), in some ways we may be growing younger as the land is restored.
Thank you for visiting our website—we hope you enjoy your virtual tour of this amazing forty acres, and look forward to sharing it with you in person.
30048 North Road
Hotchkiss, Colorado, USA.
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Colwell Cedars, LLC.
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