Florissant Pioneer Cemetery

I’m very fortunate to live where I do. The Rocky Mountains are like old friends who have watched over me and mine since before I was born. I love to be outside in the mountains, smelling the pines, listening to birds sing, and watching the wild life do what it does. I don’t even mind it when our elementary school has a mountain lion or coyote dismissal. For the uninitiated, that’s when one of these predators is lurking near school and kids are not allowed to leave for home without an adult. No worries, we are in their backyard after all.

I’m especially found of driving or hiking off the beaten path to see what treasures nature might hold for my efforts. Sometimes its a spectacular view, a hidden lake, a mysterious mound that looks like it might be a grave, or perhaps a long forgotten cemetery (you knew this had to take a dark turn!).

The most recent cemetery I explored was with my ever patient husband on our way to a kid-free night out, a rare occasion indeed.

We decided to take a long drive on a road we had never taken to finally end up in Cripple Creek for dinner and a little gambling. Our trek took us through Florissant, Colorado where I spotted a humble sign pointing the way to the Florissant Pioneer Cemetery. Dinner and later-regretted-money-loss would have to wait.

We always treat any sight like this, no matter how long abandoned, with the utmost respect. We are careful not to tread where we shouldn’t and are mindful that these are memorials of someone’s loved one. They only thing we take home is the mud on our shoes and photos.

It is a pastoral setting, nestled peacefully in the tall pines and quivering aspens. Reading these headstones is always poignant for me but when we discovered  modern burial sites mixed in with the pioneer memorials it was quite moving. Some of the markers are mysterious which always gets my writer’s imagination churning.

Entrance to Florissant Pioneer Cemetery

Entrance to Florissant Pioneer Cemetery

Entire families with death dates within a few weeks of each other; was it an illness, an accident that left some languishing, or broken hearts? Huge elaborate pillar shaped memorials that you don’t see today. Such beautiful workmanship for people loved and respected, and missed. Once carefully placed grave-markers washed almost blank from time and the elements, a rather sorrowful metaphor.

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This hand-made marker made me feel an overwhelming sense of loss for Catherine. I could almost feel the maker’s grief pouring from it. I’m not big romantic but how could you not feel the sting of a lost love looking at this?

IMG_0582 “Catherine; 1964-1995; Love is the pain in my heart that cannot be Stopped*” *last word is unclear

I found this hand-made marker attracted me like a moth to flame. The vibrant colors in a sea of somber stone tell me of a person who was probably vibrant in life. The little skeleton figures at the bottom make this as mysterious as it is beautiful.

Name and data obscured for owner's privacy

Name and data obscured for owner’s privacy

This person is lucky to have family looking out for them still. Gargoyles are used to keep evil at bay. I like that he has a brother wolf to help  him keep watch.

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Anyone who knows me will tell you that I rarely get the willies. This guy caught my eye the minute the we pulled up. Obviously he was placed here because this person liked or collected pigs in life and it’s a thoughtful tribute. However, there was something so strange about his eyes. I can’t really explain it but I didn’t want to get too close to him and I could not look into  his eyes without feeling repulsed. I’ve never had that experience before or since.

cemetarypig

pigeys

Thanks for joining me on my exploration of the Florissant Pioneer Museum. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. You can read more about this historic place in Colorado at Teller County Attractions.

Never turn off the lights, that way little piggy won’t be able to sneak in your closet, or under the bed, or IN the bed!

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