On February 4, 2017, U.S. Forest Service employee and Salida resident Brett Beasley, along with a teenaged boy, set out from 11,380-foot-high Uncle Bud’s Hut near Leadville for some backcountry skiing.
The weather then turned bad. A fast-moving blizzard blew in and the pair likely became disoriented, resulting in a frigid night huddled in a snow cave. Rescuers were sent out the next morning after being alerted by the friends and families who were also staying at the hut. Both Brett and the teen were experienced skiers but there was nonetheless much concern about their whereabouts and health. Around 2:30 that afternoon, the pair were finally located in the Porcupine Gulch area, nearly three miles from the hut.
The boy was apparently unharmed and was taken by snowmobile to his family. Meanwhile Brett was treated at the scene for severe hypothermia. The weather conditions did not allow for a medical helicopter which may have aided in his rescue and he died on the scene on Feb. 5, his 47th birthday. Read more
Editor’s note: This tribute to Brett Beasley was read during a Celebration of Life event held on February 10, 2017.
My name is Ben Lara and for the past seven years I had the amazing experience in working with Brett as his immediate supervisor. Brett started his Forest Service career in 1995 in the Upper Arkansas Valley. For the next 22 years he would go on to become one of the most recognizable and accomplished natural resource managers in the Upper Arkansas Valley. His enthusiasm and dedication to the Forest Service was infectious. You could not spend any amount of time with him and not become his best friend. He had an amazing capacity to love and care for people. Beasley, Beas or Brett with two TT’s had many nicknames. One of my favorite came out while working on a volunteer project on the top of Monarch Pass. We ran into some hikers along the section of trail we were working on. I didn’t recognize them but they asked if the “Legend” Brett Beasley and asked if he was working that day. From then on I would address all my emails and text as “What’s up Legend?,” “Hey Legend.” Read more
It’s no secret to most that I am part woman, part wild animal. I walk a paper thin line between human reasoning and animal instinct, between empathy for our man-made problems and disdain for the four walls surrounding me. I find it difficult to relate to most people, especially the ones that don’t have dog hair on their pants. Animal communication is simple, straightforward. Humans are much more complex and I constantly find myself fumbling through the intricacies of interaction. When I am in town I feel slightly out of place, the proverbial fish out of water, as it were. But when I come home there is a small tribe of humans and horses, poultry and swine, goats and cats, that make me feel at peace. There is also a giant dog that insists on climbing into the truck to greet me every time I pull into the driveway. These are the things that make those four walls feel like a home. It may not be the cleanest home on the block, but it’ll do. Read more
It’s never easy to say goodbye to a close friend but when Curtis Imrie headed over the pass last month, I found myself scrambling for words and trying to regain my own sense of balance and direction.
My first reaction was, Curtis can’t die. For here was a man who lived life by his own rules. Then again, how better to exit this life than to go while doing something you love, in this case showing donkeys at the National Western Stock Show.
My friend Miles F. Porter IV introduced me to Curtis in 1980 when I ran my first marathon in Denver. Later that summer we visited Curtis’ cabin at 4 Elk near Buena Vista and Curtis convinced me to give pack-burro racing a try. We became fast buddies. Curtis was initially the crazy brother-from-another-mother that every young man should have. Later in life he would evolve into a mentor of sorts. After his passing I realized he was a once-in-a-lifetime friend. Read more