Western Rises: Lost Lake, Roosevelt National Forest


” Follow the road through the valley to the town of Eldora, where the pavement ends…” directions  compliments of the US Forest Service, custom made for me.

riverbedSpend enough time in Colorado’s Front Range, and you’ll find that where the pavement ends, is more ubiquitous than where it begins. There’s lots of jokes about going “hiking in Colorado” especially now with the new changes in regulations on marajuana use. But jokes aside, hiking in Colorado, is some of the best. Much like the European Alps, trails are easy to come by, the American West has something long gone in the East. Space. Space for the wilderness. That’s not to say that Eastern outdoors doesn’t have its virtues, it does. Ever hear of a little thing called the Appalachian Trail? But the vastness of wild public lands in the Western US are of staggering proportion.

The Roosevelt National Forest is part of a contiguous chain of federally managed lands that include the Arapaho and Colorado State Forest, all together covering over a million acres of wilderness. Nestled in the heart of the Roosevelt is the teeny tiny town of Eldora, Colorado. Not Truckeven large enough to be recognized by the government as a town ( but rather a CDA- Census Designated Area) Eldora boasts an impressive population of 200 people.  cabin

Drive through Eldora’s single street to where the pavement ends and on any given day you’ll find more cars parked on the roadside than there are people in the town. A hugely popular trailhead, get the the Hessie early, or you’ll be adding at least a mile to your hike. From this main trailhead hikers can access beautiful alpine lakes, dispersed backcountry overnight sites, and stunning views of the peak’s of Colorado’s Mid Range. trail

Roosevelt National Forest, and The Hessie Trailhead is a trip well worth it, any time of year. Offering beautiful hiking in the summer, and pristine snowshoeing in the winter.  So go, get out, and follow the road to where the pavement ends…

Want to know more? For additional info on Lost Lake, the Hessie Trailhead and Roosevelt National Forest, check out the Forest Service’s Website at: http://www.fs.fed.us/

Western Rises: Rocky Mountain National Park

Enos Mills

Signed in as a National Park by President Wilson Woodrow in 1915 Rocky Mountain National Park is one the Nation’s oldest and most spectacular natural treasures. It’s  majestic peaks, valleys and meadows  were carved by ancient glaciers, the remnants of some can still be viewed today. Surrounded on three sides by the Roosevelt, Routt, and Arapaho National Forests the abundance of wildlife, dramatic landscapes and recreational opportunities rivals that of any of the other Western Parks.RMNP12

Unlike many of the large Western Parks, RMNP has never boasted its own rail system. Many of the early visitors to the park toured by automobile, a commodity at the time. In response to the Great Depression, under the New Deal Act, the Civilian Conservation Corps put in great efforts to create what is now the central attraction of the park; Trail Ridge Road. Trail Ridge Road allows visitors to experience a glimpse at the various ecosystems of the park, rising a staggering 12,000 plus feet above sea level.  Similar to the roads to the tops of neighboring Mount Evans, and Pike’s Peak, Trail Ridge Road allows visitors to experience  high alpine environments, that many would never experience otherwise. Wildlife viewing is abundant throughout the park, Trail Ridge Road offers visitors the opportunity to view nearly every major species to include; Elk, Mule Deer, Moose, Big Horn Sheep, Mountain Goats, and Black Bear.


Visible from almost any location within the park is the impressive outline Longs Peak, clocking in at a staggering 14,259 feet in elevation Longs is a mountaineer’s dream and is the only one of Colorado’s impressive fourteener’s ( mountains taller than 14,000 ft.) to be found within the park boundaries. First summited in 1868, by the surveying party of John Wesley Powell, Longs has become a premier mountaineering destination in the lower 48. Technical skills are required above the Key Hole Route and altitude demands that climbers be prepared for winter like conditions, and drastically changing weather even in the summer months. If high altitude mountaineering isn’t your thing, no sweat. Even day visitors to the park can experience the majesty of Longs, several day hikes are available below the summit area, but do require some level of fitness preparation, as exertion at higher altitudes can be extremely strenuous.


Want to know more, or see the park for yourself? Check out the National Park Service’s website at: http://www.nps.gov/romo/index.htm

Can’t get to the park but love the views? Images of Rocky Mountain National Park in all its splendor will be included and for sale in the Western Rises Series coming soon to: rebellephotographie.smugmug.com

Western Rises: Seeking Desert Solitude In The High Plains

Jack Kerouac, beat generation novelist, wrote about the travel. Every time I crack open a Kerouac, I’m instantaneously compelled to throw random belongings into a bag, put the key into my ignition and never look back. Tomorrow our suitcases will be piled high, and the road will call; after all, according the Kerouac, “The road is life”. Continue reading Western Rises: Seeking Desert Solitude In The High Plains