The Geiger Counter: Walking back through time

The Frisco Historic Park & Museum on Main Street.
Todd Powell / Town of Frisco

Don’t know what to do this weekend? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Pull up a seat to the counter, and I’ll tell you about everything that’s hot and happening.

If you ever wanted to learn more about the history of Summit County, Friday, Sept. 6, is your chance to participate in a free historic tour of Frisco. Hosted by the Frisco Historic Park & Museum, the one-hour stroll down Main Street is an opportunity to learn what made Frisco the town it is today. Interested participants should meet at the museum, 120 Main St., before the adventure begins at 10 a.m.

While that’s the only tour happening this weekend, Frisco also has tours later in the year. On Sept. 21, staff will lead a historic tour of the former mining camp of Masontown, located halfway up Mount Royal. As it is a hiking tour, participants should wear sturdy hiking shoes and layers, and be prepared for a variety of trail and weather conditions. Then on Oct. 19, there is a walking tour of the Bill’s Ranch neighborhood, a unique residential area of cabins that were given freely to anyone willing to live there back when the town’s population dwindled to 18.

No reservations are needed for this weekend’s Main Street tour, but reservations are required for the others. Visit for more information.

Breckenridge also has its fair share of historic tours. The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance organizes 12 tours and activities that explore the town’s history, saloons, mines, ghost towns and the paranormal. The current offerings happen Wednesday through Sunday, depending on the tour, during September and October. 

Breckenridge Tours also hosts tours around the town, including the original ghost tour of Breckenridge that has been going on since 2010. The English Tea Tour is Monday, Wednesday and Saturday; Ghostly Tales and Strange but True are Monday through Saturday; and Voices from the Grave is Monday through Friday.

Visit and for more information.

What I’m Listening To

‘The Chernobyl Podcast’

Like many in my generation, I was never really taught the intricate details about the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in school. I knew that it happened and that the land was still irradiated, but the textbooks never really delved into more than a few sentences.

I gather similar situations are why HBO’s “Chernobyl” miniseries resonates with so many people. A fascinating docu-drama, the first of five episodes begins instantly with the explosion, as the rest then deal with preventing nuclear meltdown, evacuating Pripyat and mitigating radiation poisoning along with governmental denial and cover-up. It is worth a watch, but even more worthwhile is the show’s companion podcast.

In it, creator Craig Mazin and “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” host Peter Sagal break down where the show came from, why and how Mazin created it, how closely the retelling tracks history and where and why it differs.

One thing Mazin addresses right away is why the show doesn’t have Russian accents. He figured it would distract from the acting and be too comical. Instead the British actors keep their British accents, thereby illustrating how the citizens would sound to each other since foreign ears are what usually recognize accents. However, all Cyrillic text is preserved and not translated. Since it is impossible to film at Chernobyl, those Soviet-era signs and other set pieces were staged in other former Soviet countries, where the efficient governmental architecture is virtually the same.

It also functions as a recap show with each episode correlating to a part of the series, but it recently came out with a special sixth episode with Jared Harris, who plays Valery Legasov, to discuss the show at a more macro level. While Legasov was a real person, the podcast explains that Emily Watson’s Ulana Khomyuk is a composite character who represents the other scientists working to figure out how the explosion happened.

For a television show focused on spotlighting the truth, to have an audio component that peels back the curtain even further is a delight.

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