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Who Is Ivy Baldwin?

Ivy Baldwin

You may need to look carefully at this photo. The photograph is old. The resolution is poor. Near the top, against the sky, a faint line stretches from one side of the image to the other. The line is a high wire, less than an inch thick. The wire is 582 feet above the ground, 530 feet across the canyon. And, yes, there is a man standing on the wire, a balancing pole in his hands.

Meet Ivy Baldwin. In 1907, or so.

Ivy Baldwin

No, Compound Fractures isn't set in 1907, and it isn't about Ivy Baldwin. But what Ivy Baldwin did between 1907 and 1948 -- he crossed Eldorado over eighty times, the final time on his 82nd birthday -- is an important part of the backstory of the book. And, yes, the image on the front cover of Compound Fractures is a high wire.

Eldorado Canyon

This is a view of the entrance to Eldorado Canyon from the west, looking toward Denver. A hundred years ago this area was known as South Boulder Canyon. Imagine standing on top of the rock formation on the right. It is called The Bastille. Now imagine standing right on the edge of that cliff, and . . .

Ivy Baldwin

Photos courtesy of the Boulder Historical Society Collection of the Carnegie Branch Library for Local History.

Compound Fractures (USA)

Q & A
Ivy Baldwin
Stephen's Essay

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