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McRodLandSometime just before turn of the last century, Doug Rodman and I bought a little piece of land high in the Rocky Mountains so we named it McRodLand. It's a remote piece of land in the heart of the Colorado Rocky mountains. It's about 3000 meters high (almost 10,000 feet) on the edge of Pike National Forest and South Park. Yes, this is actually the same South Park the cartoon is based upon. Check out some pictures of the real South Park However, in this section of the park, days can pass without seeing or hearing anyone. It's a quiet place you can be in peace for a long time. Limitless, peaceful walking with spectacular views abound. When you hear air rushing through the wings of an eagle passing overhead, you know you're in a relaxing space. Picture to right thanks to Troy Clarence hiking the Colorado Trail. McRodLand is on Magnificent View Drive backing up onto Pike National Forrest. The view is truly magnificent. Some of Colorado's highest mountains can be seen with the Ten Mile - Mosquito Range to the north, the Sawatch Mountains to the west, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the south, and the close by Terryall Mountains with Puma Peak just to the east. Rarely climbed Puma Peak has spectacular views and can be climbed walking straight from McRodLand. Pretty soon after buying the place, we rented a backhoe to dig out a foundation for our Quonset hut.
Quanset HutWe built it from a kit that included three 20 liter containers full of 60 liters (15 gallons) of nuts and bolts. Along with the screws, the kit had 14 ribs. Each rib came in 7 pieces bolted together making a 6 meter (20 feet) wide half circle. We screwed and assembled one rib at a time on a single slab foundation that took three full concrete truck loads to fill. It took a few years to put it all together but the whole process was quite fun. Neither of us had operated a backhoe before. Working it to level the foundation was like playing with a big toy. The end result is now one solid 6 x 9 meter (20 x 30 feet) building with a loft. Once the Quonset hut was finished, energy went into building the kiva.
KivaOn a south facing hill I dug a hole in the ground and built a structure with the roof covered in dirt. I call it a kiva. what's a kiva? Actually, the kiva at McRodLand isn't really like what the Pueblo Indians made. It's more a result of thinking inspired by the Puebloans. Instead of climbing in from the earthen roof above, you can walk in through the front door which is on the only wall. This wall is full of glass and faces the sun. The courtyard in front includes a big bonfire pit surrounded by a head high dirt berm. The kiva experiment worked out pretty well. Inside it is effortlessly cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. On a cold winter night well below freezing with wind blowing snow sideways, you can show up cold without a fire and it's warm above freezing, quiet and calm inside. It's just one room with a wood burning stove and cooking area to the left and a sleeping area to the right.