Originally Published October 13, 2010
J. Dawson Hidgepath was a miner in the camp/town called Buckskin, just two miles from the town of Alma. Stats being as they were then, the ratio of men to women was awfully skewed up here in the mountains, and Hidgepath, being the born romantic he was, fell in love with every woman who came through the camp – married, single, young or old, none was spared his affections. When he wasn’t mining, he was picking wildflowers, penning poems, and delivering the following to his paramour of the week. Frankly, Hidgepath was actually pretty darn lucky that an angry husband didn’t end his life.
Actually, his life ended in a rather tame and fully accidental way. While hiking at the base of Mt Bross, presumably picking more flowers, Hidgepath fell, and breaking various things, including his neck, died on July 23rd, 1865. A party of men found his distinctive hat, and then him, and he was properly buried in the cemetery of Buckskin.
However, death did not keep Hidgepath from his amorous ways. And this was not the normal type of haunting we’ve all come to expect- cold spots, misty figures, whispers, odors and scents where they shouldn’t be. No, Hidgepath not only left bouquets of flowers and love notes penned in his hand, he left himself.
His bones started showing up outside of ladies’ doors and even in their beds, always accompanied by his distinctive hat, so that the bones would not be confused with those of some other ghostly lover.
Each time Hidgepath’s bones showed up, they were reburied. There was no doubting they were his – each time the bones appeared, his were gone from his grave. The townspeople buried them deeper, got creative with their burial methods, even to the point of putting a very large rock on top of the grave in hopes of deterring him, but nothing worked.
In time, the camp town of Buckskin dissolved and the people moved on – and so did Hidgepath. His bones hied themselves to the nearest place ladies could be found – Alma. Sometimes, Hidgepath took himself on quite a hike and visited some of the ladies down in Fairplay. This “behavior” continued through the remainder of the 1860s and all through the 1870s, when Hidgepath’s bones were finally taken over Mosquito Pass and dumped in an outhouse at the outskirts of Leadville.
Hidgepath – or more rightly, his bones – was never seen again. Conjecture was that because he was such a ladies’ man, even if he could manage to get himself out of the outhouse, he would never visit such an “odure” upon any lady.
However, there is a story of a lady, who upon visiting said outhouse, heard words of love whispered to her from below.
Now the outhouse is long gone, and its location possibly built over by now. Was this someone’s idea of a long term sick joke, stopped only because the bones were no longer available, or was the ladies man so hardcore in love with the feminine figure even death could not stop his affections?