Showing posts from September, 2013

Mills Lake - Inspiring Dreams

Mills Lake, Colorado "In years to come when I am asleep beneath the pines, thousands of families will find rest and hope in this park." ~ Enos Mills Enos Mills was a distinguished author, photographer, nature guide, lecturer and adventurer, but he was probably best known as the "Father of Rocky Mountain National Park." He promoted Colorado's pristine wilderness through his articles, books, lectures and photographs. Enos hoped to educate the public about the importance of preserving large tracts of land in the scenic mountain west. After a six-year struggle urging Congress to create such a refuge in the Northern Front Range, the national park was officially established in 1915. Dwarfed in an environment displaying breathtaking views at every turn, Mills Lake may be the prettiest place in the park. Black like an inkwell, the reservoir is exhibited at the bottom of a deep gorge that has been gouged by an artistic creek. The beautiful landscape is strewn

American Dipper - The Hummingbird of Blooming Waters

American Dipper also known as Water Ouzel "He is the mountain streams' own darling, the hummingbird of blooming waters, loving rocky ripple slopes and sheets of foam as a bee loves flowers, as a lark loves sunshine and meadows." ~ John Muir Inhabiting the rivers, streams and waterfalls that cascade down out of the Rocky Mountains is a unique resident with an exuberant passion for life. The American Dipper spends its entire existence in or near fast-flowing water happily focused on the bare necessities; family, food and shelter. Also known as the Water Ouzel, it's a master architect designing spherical nests that cling precipitously to riverbanks, bridges and cliff ledges. Constantly singing and bobbing, the always optimistic dipper goes about its merry way, seemingly unaffected by poor luck, bad weather or human presence. A million years of evolution has equipped the dipper with adaptations that enable it to hunt where others cannot. The stout bird braves t

Christ of the Mines Shrine - Redemption in Silverton

Christ of the Mines Shrine in Silverton High above the clouds in the lofty San Juan Mountains, the Great Redeemer has forgiven the town of Silverton for its wicked ways. Silverton was a major player during the gold and silver rush that steamrolled through Colorado during the late 1880s. The frontier outpost was a "Sin City" where gambling, boozing and prostitution, ran rampant. Later, when the price of silver collapsed, Silverton seemed destined to suffer the same fate as the other played-out mining camps in the area. Out west, frontier justice prevails so the community would probably vanish, becoming just another ghostly reminder of the glory days. By the 1950s, the town was struggling to survive. Father Joseph Halloran spearheaded a proposal to erect a shrine honoring Christ that would be dedicated to the miners. A last, desperate attempt to revitalize the dispirited community, it would be located on the barren Anvil Mountain just north of the equally lifeless town.

Lake Isabelle - A Legacy from the Little Ice Age

Lake Isabelle About 600 years ago North America experienced a slight cooling that produced colder temperatures, longer winters and increased glaciation. During this Little Ice Age, Colorado's northern Front Range was blasted with precipitation. Year after year heavy snowfall filled the deep, east-facing cirques. Over time, the compressed snow transformed into ice which eventually began creeping down the valleys. The glaciers achieved their maximum extent by 1850, then the climate began warming again. The rebellious rivers of ice have been retreating back up into the mountains ever since, leaving rugged crags and turquoise tarns in their wake. There are only fourteen named glaciers left in Colorado today. Born from the melted ice of Isabelle Glacier, Lake Isabelle is a precious legacy from the Little Ice Age. The bowl of frigid water is contained by a steep-walled basin at the top of a spectacular, flower-infused valley. Jagged peaks are crowded around the shimmering jewel,