When I set out to write a new book series, I knew I wanted to explore a different part of Colorado than most people think of when they hear the state’s name–less mountain vistas and evergreens, more rugged desert and old-fashioned buildings. The perfect inspiration came in the form of Salida (sah-LIE-da), a high plains/foothill town at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. If you look at photos and think it looks more like New Mexico than Colorado, you’d be right… the neighboring state is just on the other side of these beautiful mountains, named because of the bloody red color they turn at sunset.
But Salida itself is a booming town which has seen both a massive increase in tourism and in residency in the past few years, so there was no way that I could actually set a book series there and pretend that it was in trouble. Enter Haven Ridge, which is rather vaguely set between Salida and the neighboring bedroom community of Buena Vista (pronounced BYOO-nah VIS-ta–yes this is it’s official pronunciation, apologies to my Spanish speakers out there!). Even so, I took my main inspiration from the buildings and settings of Salida as I was building my fictional town.
It seemed like a perfect time to share some of my favorite photos from a research trip I took to Salida in 2020… Enjoy this glimpse into what the town of Haven Ridge might look like in real life! (Click to enlarge.)