Friday, July 01, 2016

A Summit County guide to fireworks and free music on Fourth of July

#Summit County #Colorado
Courtesy Breckenridge Tourism Office

Summit Daily News Link

Celebrate Independence Day with lively entertainment, free activities and family fun. Breck’s Independence Day celebration kicks off with a 10K trail run and continues throughout the day with the Firecracker 50 bike race, leading the vibrant Fourth of July Parade on historic Main Street, July Arts Festival, live music, kids’ activities, concerts and more. End the night with the National Repertory Orchestra performing a patriotic concert at the Riverwalk Center followed by fireworks at 9:45 p.m.
Wynonna & The Big Noise; 7:30pm (doors at 7 p.m.); Riverwalk Center
Five-time Grammy winner, Wynonna Judd has sold over 30 million albums with her rich and commanding voice. She was once dubbed by Rolling Stone as “the greatest female country singer since Patsy Cline.” Tickets: $65 - $95
Monday, July 4
*Note - Fireworks show will now begin at 9:45 p.m. They will be shot off from the Gondola Lot and will be visible from all over town.
Day 10K Trail Run;
7 a.m.; Carter Park
This scenic 10k trail running race offers up some of the best views in the Breckenridge area, while finishing just in time to catch the Main Street parade and other festivities. Register or call (970) 453-1734.
The Firecracker 50 Mountain Bike Race;
9:30 a.m.; Main Street
This mountain bike race launches the Fourth of July Parade in front of thousands of spectators. Come cheer on riders as they embark on a 50-mile journey on the beautiful trails in and surrounding the Breckenridge area. Register early as this race fills up very quickly. For more information go
Fourth of July Garden Party; 9 a.m.; Barney
Ford House Museum
Annual Breckenridge Heritage Alliance Garden Party at the Barney Ford House Museum. Enjoy coffee, mimosas and breakfast spread as you watch the Breckenridge Fourth of July parade in style from the best view on Main Street. Advance ticket prices: Adults $50 ($75 day of), children 12-6 $30 and children 5 & under $10. Call (970) 453- 9767 x 2 for more information.
Main Street Parade;
10 a.m.; Main Street
The official parade will start at 10 a.m. with the Red, White & Blue Color Guard. Firecracker 50 Mountain Bike Race will start the parade at 9:30 a.m. and it will take 800+ riders 1/2 hour to get down Main Streets in waves. Reading of the Declaration of Independence by George Washington (C.J. Mueller).
Pony Rides;
12:30–2:30 p.m.;
Main Street
Far View Horse Rescue will be doing pony rides. The rides are free, and they will have a donation jar out.
Kids’ Water Fight;
1–3 p.m.; Main Street
Kids can join the Red, White & Blue Fire Department in an old time water fight on Main Street. Free for kids to participate.
Street Arts Festival;
July 2-4; Arts District
A celebration of street, pavement and graffiti arts that will feature a weekend of 3D murals, chalk drawings, live music and hands-on workshops at the Breckenridge Arts District campus. Presented by Breckenridge Creative Arts.
Dirty Dozen Brass
Band; Free; 2 p.m.;
Riverwalk Center
Come see the band described as the “world famous music machine, whose name is synonymous with genre-bending romps and high-octane performances.” They have revitalized the brass band in New Orleans and around the world, progressing from local parties, clubs, baseball games and festivals in their early years to touring nearly constantly in the U.S. and in over 30 other countries on five continents.
National Repertory
Orchestra; 8 p.m.; Riverwalk Center
For almost 20 years, the town of Breckenridge and National Repertory Orchestra (NRO) have collaborated to present a Patriotic Concert each July Fourth at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge. In order to prevent numerous empty seats due to unused free tickets and in order to offer tickets online at a greater convenience to all of our guests, the Riverwalk Center Box Office will sell indoor reserved seat tickets.
Fireworks (weather permitting); 9:45 p.m.;
Visible throughout town
A full professional fireworks display will be set off in town and can be visible from all over town. Fireworks will be set off from the North Gondola Lot.
33rd Annual July
Art Festival July 2-4
The 33rd Annual Breckenridge July Art Festival is annually ranked one of the top art shows in the United States. Located at Main Street Station at the corner of Main Street and South Park Avenue. For further information please visit Admission is free.
National Repertory Orchestra; 10 a.m.;
Dillon Amphitheatre
For more than 50 years, the National Repertory Orchestra has played an important role in preparing young musicians for careers in the orchestra world, while delivering outstanding musical performances for residents and visitors in Summit County. Today, the NRO has achieved unparalleled success and is at the forefront of the nation’s summer music festivals.
United States Air Force Academy Concert
Band; 7 p.m. ; Dillon Amphitheatre
The United States Air Force Academy Concert Band proudly represents the Air Force Academy, the leading institution for education, training, and inspiring men and women to become officers of character. The Concert Band is composed of 40 active-duty Air Force professionals and is one of nine Academy Band ensembles.
Frisco & Copper Mountain Resort
Family Adventure Quest; 9 a.m. to noon;
Copper Mountain
Presented by the Toyota Kids Adventure Games™ (Kids A.G.), Family Adventure Quest will offer families a chance to experience an adventure course like no other with mud pits, slacklines, cargo nets, trekking, biking and a variety of other unique challenges in the Village at Copper and on Copper Mountain. Teams in the competitive category will consist of two challengers, one adult/teen and one child, who will tackle the course while they work together on building confidence, teamwork, communication and fun. During the Fun Run, families can compete in teams of four maximum and not all participants need to do all of the obstacles. Cost is $150 per team based on a minimum of two competitors. Pre-registration is required at
Fireworks will be shot off over West Lake in Copper’s Center Village; 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 3
Frisco Founder’s Day; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Frisco
Historic Park & Museum
Frisco Founder’s Day is a great chance to experience Frisco’s heritage at the Frisco Historic Park & Museum and to celebrate Frisco’s history. This event features simulated gold panning, burro rides, refreshments and live music and entertainment in the gazebo.
Three Dog Night;
1 p.m.; Copper Mountain
Three Dog Night will be playing a free concert at Copper Mountain.
Monday, July 4
Team Summit Pancake Breakfast; 7– 11 a.m.; old Community Center at 110 3rd Ave., Frisco.
Kids Fishing Derby; 9–11 a.m.; Frisco’s Meadow Creek Park (behind Walmart)
Kids Fishing Derby is staffed by and benefiting the Gore Range Chapter of Trout Unlimited. This free event is open to children 15 years old and younger. Participants must bring their own rods, bait/flies and an enthusiasm for catching the biggest fish. Registration is only available on-site on the morning of the event.
Summit Concert Band; 10–11 a.m.; Frisco Historic Park Gazebo
Fabulous Fourth of July Parade; 12:30 p.m.; Main Street from Madison Ave. to 6th Ave.
This year Deaflympics medalist, Lauren Weibert, will lead off the parade as the official Grand Marshal of the 2015 Frisco Fourth of July parade. Weibert won gold (slopestyle) and silver (boardercross) medals in snowboarding at the 2015 Winter Deaflympics in Khanty-Mansiysk, a city in Siberia. Also, she is often found slinging coffee at Rocky Mountain Coffee Roasters in Frisco.
Frisco also invites kids to take a special spot in the parade and join in on the 16th annual bike parade. This is an opportunity for kids to display their creativity and patriotism. Kids are asked to bring their decorated bikes to the parking lot on the west side of Town Hall at Main Street and Madison Avenue at 11:45 a.m. on July 4. Kids 12 and under are eligible for the bike decorating contest and must be accompanied by their parents who must register and sign a waiver for each participating child. After registering, kids will show off their bikes to a small panel of judges and then join the parade. Children 5 and under must be accompanied by a parent or an older child during the whole parade. Every child must wear a helmet to participate. If parents are not accompanying their children during the parade, then they must be prepared to meet them at the end of the parade route at Main Street and 6th Avenue.
Free Page 6ix concert; 1:30–3:30 p.m.; Main Street
Free concert in front of the Historic Park. Page 6ix is one of the premier funk, soul and R&B bands in the Western U.S. Featuring six musicians who have toured the world to play marquee festival slots in support of renowned artists from every genre, Page 6ix will cover everything from Beyonce to John Legend and from Pharrell to Chris Botti with stunning vocals and stellar chops.
Interactive drum circle; 3:30–5 p.m.; Main Street from 3rd Ave. to 4th Ave.
Some free drumming fun while Main Street is closed for the celebrations.
Eric Lindell Band; 7:15–9:15pm; Frisco Bay Marina
Eric Lindell is an American singer-songwriter, who began his recording career in 1996 as a local/regional New Orleans-based artist. Beginning in 2006, when he was picked up by Alligator Records, he has toured nationally and internationally. Lindell’s musical style borrows from 1970s blues-rock, soul and R&B.
Fireworks; 9:30 p.m.; Over Dillon Reservoir
Fireworks over Dillon Reservoir with the best viewing from the area around the Frisco Bay Marina with a simulcast of patriotic music on Krystal 93 – 93.9 or on
Keystone Resort offers families the ideal location to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday with a weekend of adventurous activities highlighted by an Independence Day celebration on Sunday, July 3. Throughout the holiday weekend, guests can enjoy summer snow tubing, downhill mountain biking, golfing, guided hiking, free family programs, lake activities and more.
Sunday, July 3
Keystone’s Independence Day celebration will offer a day of outdoor festivities and family fun for all ages. The day’s activities will be centered in Keystone’s Lakeside Village, featuring an outdoor barbeque, a stand-up paddleboard obstacle course race on the five acre Keystone Lake, a petting zoo, pony rides, spin art, tie-dye t-shirt making, face painting, balloon animals and more. Many activities are free for the family. The celebration takes place in Lakeside Village beginning at noon and culminates with a spectacular fireworks show starting at 9:30 p.m.
Fishing Derby; 8-9:30 a.m.; Keystone Lake
Enjoy a morning spent at the Keystone Lake with a free fishing derby the entire family can enjoy.
Strider Bike Race; 9-11 a.m.; River Run Village
Keystone’s Kidtopia Strider Balance Bike Series is a free race series designed for children ages 2-5 years old. The race takes place from 10-11 a.m. in River Run Village, with registration occurring from 9-10 a.m. Prizes are awarded to the top finishers.
Free Kidtopia Activities; noon to 6 p.m.; Lakeside Village
Keystone’s signature Kidtopia, offering free daily programming all summer, presents a special lineup exclusive for the Independence Day celebration. Free throughout the day in Lakeside Village, families can enjoy a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, balloon animals, popcorn and snow cones.
Lakeside Village Independence Day celebration; noon to 9:30 p.m. An outdoor barbecue and bar will be available throughout the day, featuring classic American fare and signature adult beverages. Boat and bicycle rentals will be available at Keystone’s Adventure Center, including stand-up paddleboards. A one-day only SUP obstacle course race will take place on the Keystone Lake.
Live music; noon to 9 p.m.; Lakeside Village
Enjoy the sights and sounds of Lakeside Village with live music throughout the afternoon. Caribou Mountain Collective, a quartet from Nederland, Colorado, kicks things off at noon with their original lyrics and instrumental Americana compositions. The Blackdog Band Trio will take the stage from 3-5 p.m., featuring an acoustic blend of blues, funk and jazz. Headlining the day will be Wash Park, a 13-piece, hard-hitting, high-energy dance and funk band set to take the stage at 7 p.m. for a two-hour set.
Fireworks Display; 9:30 p.m.; Lakeside Village
Celebrate America’s independence with a free fireworks show at Keystone’s Lakeside Village, the only July 3 fireworks show in Summit County.
Leon Littlebird and Len Rhodes perform “Circle of Dreams”; Doors at 6 p.m., show at 7 p.m.; Silverthorne Pavilion
Enjoy an evening of Native Colorado music and storytelling performed on guitar, Native American flutes, voice and piano. History will come to life as you are drawn into each story through music. Cash bar, bring your own snacks and munchies. For more information, visit
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Breckenridge councilmembers puzzle over parking solutions

#Breckenridge #Colorado
Elise Reuter /

Summit Daily News Link

With one of the busiest holiday weekends quickly approaching, Breckenridge is seeking solutions to the town’s worsening congestion problem.
Parking dominated the conversation during Tuesday’s marathon town council work session. Despite months of work by DTJ Design and Nelson\Nygaard consultants, the four-hour discussion was just the beginning of a larger comprehensive transportation plan.
Consultants identified parking management (read: pay parking) and real-time parking information as two solutions with the most potential to reduce peak traffic volume within the town. Creating additional parking spaces downtown might seem like a simple solution, but is actually estimated to increase traffic volume anywhere from 2 to 10 percent, depending on the number of spaces.
Councilmembers expressed interest in building a new parking structure: the question was when and where. While F-Lot was recommended in a 2014 feasibility study, the most recent report by consultants suggested a larger, squarer space would be better.
With the passing of Ballot Measure 2A last fall, the town will receive a minimum of $3.5 million toward a parking and transportation fund each year through a 4.5-percent tax levied on Breckenridge Ski Resort lift tickets. The town will begin collecting the tax on lift-ticket presales starting July 1, but it will not affect season passes.
In a turn of events, Breckenridge Mayor Eric Mamula reported he had discussed purchasing the gondola lots from the ski resort. While there is no agreement on the table, Mamula said he was “cautiously optimistic in the discussions that we’ve already had.”
“They seem pretty open to it and we are trying to come up with a price,” he said.
Breckenridge Ski Resort COO John Buhler did not discuss the potential deal when he approached town council on Tuesday, but maintained the town should push for a solution starting next summer:
“We are very focused on ensuring that the Council proceed with adding significant new skier parking in the core of Town, as was promised during the campaign for the tax last year,” he wrote in an email. “We think the Town should consider any option that accomplishes that goal, but it is critical that design of a project commences in 2016 and construction in the spring of 2017.”
Two week prior, Buhler read a statement before the town, requesting they renew the focus on F-Lotand start the planning process soon. While councilmembers expressed mixed opinions about F-lot as a site, most supported additional parking in the town core.
“Personally, I’m not into hypothetical conversations,” Councilman Mike Dudick said. “I think we should have a conversation with the ski resort quickly to see if there’s a deal.”
He added that additional parking downtown, rather than at the edges, would make for a better customer experience. Councilwoman Elisabeth Lawrence echoed these sentiments.
“It’s the guest experience. If someone wanted to mark me two miles out of town, that’s not what I’m paying for,” she said.
Councilman Mark Burke, however, favored incremental parking in lots currently owned by the town.
“That’s gonna be a tough one for me to swallow,” he said. “I don’t see value in paying to buy the lot from them, and then paying to build additional parking for them.”
The gondola lots were master planned in 2010, outlining concepts for hotels, parking structures, skier services and housing. Between the economic downturn, and Vail Resorts moving away from the real estate business, the lot has just seen improvements with the gondola, limited paving and a bus turnaround.
“There was never really a time frame with any sort of triggers,” Mamula said. “We could potentially do some kind of structure that has affordable housing around it. The options are pretty limitless.”
Breckenridge Mayor Pro-Tem Wendy Wolfe strongly supported parking management prior to building a new structure.
“I think it’s an absolute prerequisite before we can add new parking,” she said. “Consequently, the sooner, the better.”
The key, according to consultants, is charging for parking to manage demand; not for the purpose of profiting.
“This is not your grandma’s paid parking,” Breckenridge town manager Rick Holman said. “This is something that is highly, highly recommended by consultants as one of the most important things we could do.”
“We would start as low as we can, see if we’re making the impact we intend to make, and if not, adjust the prices accordingly,” assistant town manager Shannon Haynes said.
Employee parking was another concern: While having a certain number of hours or certain times free was a possibility, councilmembers also discussed permitting. For example, the town could retain employee parking away from heavily-trafficked visitor areas, or charge more for permits in lots closer to Main Street.
“I don’t think it’s right to charge more or start charging for people without giving an alternate option,” Councilwoman Erin Gigliello said.
Councilman Jeffrey Bergeron voiced his agreement, adding the town should improve transit options if employee parking is affected. In his previous term on council, Bergeron did not support paid parking downtown.
“I’m in favor of it with reluctance,” he said. “I think the time has come. I liked this place better in the ’70s.”
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Vail's $25M summer development sparks new era of resort playgrounds


Summit Daily News Link

For decades, summer has been the offseason for ski resorts — busy with maintenance and on-mountain upgrades, but not nearly as bustling as in winter, when skiers flock and staffs swell.
That changes this week, when Vail Resorts, the continent’s largest resort operator, opens its new Epic Discovery summer projects at flagship Vail Mountain and at Heavenly, near Lake Tahoe in California.
After pushing for federal legislation allowing more year-round recreation at ski areas on U.S. Forest Service land, Vail on Tuesday officially unveils the new face of the ski resort industry. And that face is no longer goggle-tanned.
Vail’s $25 million summer investment is designed to turn its ski areas into 12-month playgrounds, with mountain coasters, ziplines, aerial adventure courses and more hiking and biking trails. All of it stems from the 2011 Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act, which allows the Forest Service greater leeway when approving projects at resorts that initially were designed for downhill skiing.
Vail’s $25 million summer investment is designed to turn its ski areas into 12-month playgrounds, with mountain coasters, ziplines (and) aerial adventure courses.
To read the full version, Click the Summit Daily News Link above.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Summit County again solicits public insights on Lake Hill project

#Summit County #Colorado.
Courtesy of Summit County government

Summit Daily News Link

Work on the blueprint for Summit County’s hallmark workforce-housing project continues, and the primary decision-makers and their design firm are again coming to the community for advice.
County officials have called the almost 45-acre Lake Hill property — located northeast of Frisco between Dillon Dam Road and Interstate 70 — a defining residential enterprise and now, as they move forward in the master plan process, desire further local input. They’ll host a second open house concerning the site Wednesday, June 29, to take thoughts on next steps in order to influence conceptual plans.
“This will be kind of the first meeting where there are some ideas on paper that start to provide options for how the property could be developed,” said Kate Berg, Summit County senior planner. “These are just the very first drafts of our ideas, so they’re certainly not set in stone. That’s why it’s really important for people to come and take a look and give us feedback.”
Housing in Summit — and throughout the mountain resort communities — that is both available and affordable remains a hot commodity. It’s why when the county was able to acquire the Lake Hill site from the White River National Forest late last year through a complex federal process that even required President Obama sign off on the purchase, it jumped at the chance.
“The needs are so large in the county,” Gary Martinez, county manager, previously told the Summit Daily. “We really need to challenge ourselves to make this the best we can possibly have, to maximize the value.”
So constructing this vital swath of land, which cost the county $1.75 million, into its most useful end-product is what everyone has on their minds. After the formation of a stakeholder advisory committee, assemblage of focus groups and the first open house in April — now having interacted with no fewer than 250 people — the county is ready show off its wares.
Meeting Quota
The pair of layouts on display Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. at the Summit Community and Senior Center in Frisco (83 Nancy’s Pl.) will show similar design plans but with some important tweaks. Their primary differences are the division of space for multi-family versus single-family homes, and the amount of parking needed to correspond with that degree of development. Essentially, more units means more parking.
“The two concepts show the same overall road network,” said Berg, “but they just show different ways of building out the neighborhood within this overall framework. People can see that if we end up doing more multi-family, this is what it’s likely going to look like; if we end up doing less multi-family and more lower-density, single-family and townhomes, this is what it will look like. And people can tell us what’s there preference — what do they think is more appropriate for the site.”
One plan imagines 403 total units, 255 of which would be multi-family apartments, while the other fits in another 27 units for a total of 430, where 340 are stacked apartment-style living. Both draft designs emphasize a large greenbelt running through them for full public use as well as a centralized community center with potential child care, estimated at 12,000-square feet.
The 73 surveys from about 150 attendees at the April open house showed the public’s desire for mixed-income neighborhoods and both rental and ownership options, as well as styles of homes. Concerns over parking and traffic, particularly on the Dam Road, in addition to the availability of amenities like storage and laundry and access to open spaces, the area trails system and regional transit were consistent requests.
That assisted the architectural minds at Norris Design in Frisco with coming up with a group of guiding principles in which to divvy up the land. Keeping the Lake Hill property compatible with other area structures and also creating the greatest possible benefits for the greatest number of people — all while keeping it affordable to a variety of economic levels — are chief among them.
In the time since that first open house, Corum Real Estate Group and its consortium of partner organizations have also been studying the land extensively, recognizing that just better than 45 percent of the property is unusable predominately due to its gradient; so how the space that is viable is erected is that much more important. With approximately two parking spaces per unit and 30 percent dedicated to open space, as laid out, only about 7 percent will go toward actual housing structures.
“They’ve really been analyzing the site,” added Berg, “looking at the topography, looking at all of the studies that have been done. The plans that we’ve laid out have taken into account all these aspects that we need to think about, as far as the slope, as far as the water and sewer capacity and the traffic needs and all of that.”
After a final infrastructural estimate is set by July 1, the next question once the design plan itself is settled upon by no later than September is how to phase the massive project and whether to install infrastructure first or do that in stages, as well. From the county’s perspective though, the sooner units are move-in ready, however, the better.
There’s also the matter of some additional land to the east of the property — the so-called “Lake Hill II” — that the Forest Service still owns, but the county may also be able to pry from the federal agency. Summit has already expressed its initial interest in obtaining this adjacent acreage if possible, and a collaborative effort between the two may ultimately be what develops that area, too. For now, the current master plan keeps open the option open for a road to connect through the two.
That’s a potential path to be traveled at a later point. Meanwhile, the county encourages residents to show up on Wednesday in Frisco to once more help in steering the build out of their local community with developments in the Lake Hill design process.
“At this stage of the game,” said Berg, “we just want people to see what we have done with the input they’ve given us. We would like to get the community’s direction on whether or not we are on the right track.”
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Summit County organizations host sesquicentennial celebration of a summer trip on Ute Pass

#Summit County #Colorado
Special to the Daily

Summit Daily News Link

“This landscape is unlike anything I have ever seen. How inadequate are my words....” That was written 150 years ago next Saturday (July 2, 1866) by Bayard Taylor, famous travel writer whose trips had spanned the world, including the Alps. He was astride his pony on Ute Pass, above the Lower Blue River, looking straight west into the heart of the Gore Range, and what would become, more than a century later, the Crown Jewel of Summit County, Eagles Nest Wilderness. The trip is described in Taylor’s book “Colorado: A Summer Trip.”
Three “Friends of …” organizations — Friends of the Eagles Nest Wilderness (FENW), Friends of the Lower Blue River (FOLBR), and Friends of the Dillon Ranger District (FDRD) — will host a sesquicentennial celebration Saturday morning, July 2, at 9 a.m. on Ute Pass (map at They are billing it as a refreshing and inspiring way to start your July Fourth Holiday Weekend, with a spectacular, panoramic view of the Gores, readings from Bayard Taylor’s book, “Colorado: A Summer Trip,” other quotes that celebrate wilderness and the rural lifestyle of the Lower Blue River Valley, and a special guest. Colorado poet Erin Robertson will read her composition, commissioned especially for this event.
The program will begin at 9 a.m. after light breakfast refreshments. Hosted by Summit County sages Currie Craven and Sam Kirk.
8:30 a.m.: coffee, fruit & pastries, meet & greet
9 a.m.: Welcome, invocation, introductions
*Sam Kirk will read from “Colorado: A Summer Trip,” by Bayard Taylor.
*Readings from the audience. Bring your favorite quote about Wilderness or the rural life (keep it short, please), or choose one from several dozen that will be available.
*Colorado poet Erin Robertson will read her composition, especially commissioned for today.
Background: (A map of the entire trip is at Over Berthoud Pass and down the Colorado River through the heart of Middle Park they rode, and then up the Williams Fork River, following an old Ute Indian trail, crossing on July 2, 1866, the Williams Fork Mountains at what was then and is now Ute Pass — exactly 150 years to the day before our July 2 celebration. The party descended part way down from Ute Pass into the Blue River Valley before the full panoramic view appeared.
“From the top [of Ute Pass] we looked down a narrow, winding glen, between lofty parapets of rock, and beheld mountains in the distance, dark with shadow, and vanishing in clouds. The descent was steep, but not very toilsome. After reaching the bed of the glen, we followed it downward, through beds of grass and flowers, under the shade of castellated rocks, and round the feet of natural ramparts, until it opened upon wide plains of sage-brush, which formed the shelving side of an immense valley. The usual line of cotton-wood betrayed a stream, and when we caught a glimpse of the water, its muddy tint — the sure sign of gold-washing [in Breckenridge] — showed that we had found the Blue River. We had crossed the Ute Pass, as it is called by the trappers, and are among the first white men who have ever traversed it. We now looked on Park [Ute] Peak from the west side.
“Instead of descending to the river, our trail turned southward, running nearly parallel with its course, near the top of the sloping plane which connects the mountains with the valley. The sun came out, the clouds lifted, and rolled away, and one of the most remarkable mountain landscapes of the earth was revealed to our view. The Valley of the Blue, which, for a length of thirty miles, with a breadth varying from five to ten, lay under our eyes, wore a tint of pearly silver-gray, upon which the ripe green of the timber along the river, and the scattered gleams of the water seemed to be enameled. Opposite to us, above this sage color, rose huge mountain foundations, where the grassy openings were pale, the forests dark, the glens and gorges filled with shadow, the rocks touched with lines of light — making a chequered effect that suggested cultivation and old settlement. Beyond these were wilder ridges, all forest; then bare masses of rock, streaked with snow, and, highest of all, bleak snow-pyramids, piercing the sky.
“From south to north stretched the sublime wall — the western boundary of the Middle Park; and where it fell away to the canyon by which Grand [Colorado] River goes forth to seek the Colorado, there was a vision of dim, rosy peaks, a hundred miles distant [Flat Tops]. In breadth of effect — in airy depth and expansion — in simple yet most majestic outline, and in originality yet exquisite harmony of color, this landscape is unlike anything I have ever seen. I feel how inadequate are my words to suggest such new combinations of tints and forms.”
Those are pretty potent words from a man who had traveled — and described — the world, including the Alps. The party next moved on upstream along the Blue River to what is now submerged under Lake Dillon, then on to Breckenridge, and over Hoosier Pass to South Park, over to the Arkansas River Valley via Mosquito Pass, and back (via South Park and Kenosha Pass) to Denver.
Bayard Taylor wrote “Colorado: A Summer Trip” in 1866. John Wesley Powell first climbed Mt. Powell two years later, in 1868 (the year before his first descent of the Grand Canyon), the trans-continental railroad completed three years later, in 1869, and Mark Twain published “Roughing It” six years later, in 1872.
Bayard Taylor was a prolific travel writer, lecturer, novelist and a poet. He was born in 1825 in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. At the age of 19, he set sail for London; the two-year grand tour not only served as Taylor’s college education but also determined his new career. Although his true passion was poetry, he learned early that he could earn more money by writing prose.
In 1850, Taylor married a childhood friend, Mary Agnew. She died only two months after their marriage, leaving Taylor bereaved and anxious to travel again in order to cope with his grief. He went on a two-year trip to Arabia.
During the Civil War, Taylor served as Washington correspondent for the NY Tribune until 1862, when he was appointed secretary to the U.S. Minister at St. Petersburg, Russia.
In 1866, Taylor traveled to Colorado and took a strenuous loop trip through the northern mountains on horseback with a group that included William Byers, founder of Denver’s Rocky Mountain News. His letters describing this adventure were later published as “Colorado: A Summer Trip.” During this decade, Taylor published 11 works and delivered more than 600 lectures (including in every mining town visited on this trip).
Taylor’s deep interest in German life and literature (especially Goethe) culminated in his appointment as Minister to Prussia in 1878. Sadly, he suffered repeated illnesses, and died in December 1878. “Colorado: A Summer Trip” is available for $2 at Amazon Kindle.
Bill Betz is a volunteer with Friends of Eagles Nest Wilderness.
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.