Rebuilding has been slow going, but Fred Finlay figures hes in Tween Lakes for the long haul.
The Missionary Ridge Fire consumed his temporary quarters a workshop/living area. But he got out safely with his sawmill equipment, tools, vehicles and a sailboat.
They kept telling us not to worry, Finlay said while in Durango recently. But I knew it was time to go. I slept in my truck for a week in Bayfield.
Upon returning after a weeks absence to his 3 acres on the ridge between the Florida and Pine river drainages, Finlay pitched a tent and started sawing lumber.
So far, hes built a first floor with a plywood roof.
Finlay also created a garden, including fruit trees, and planted aspen, ponderosa pines and other conifers to replace trees that burned.
If he finds work as a carpenter, Finlay said, earnings go toward reconstruction at Tween Lakes.
Theres always something to do because Im working alone, he said. But I dont have a mortgage, and Im not married.
Finlay said hes in no hurry.
Ive lived there for 12 years, he said. Im taking my time, so itll be a couple of years more the way things are going.