The Rocky Mountain National Park Reader


Writer Wallace Stegner once wrote that “No place is a place until things that have happened in it are remembered.”  This collection celebrates one of America’s most loved places, Rocky Mountain National Park, which marks its 100th birthday in 2015. Engagement with place and the events that loom large in park history are the underlying themes that connect the thirty-three selections that make up this anthology.
 
Representative both in subject and approach, the selections reach back to Arapaho and pioneer times before the park was established and move forward to span its entire first century. The voices that speak to us are distinctive: among them are Irish sportsman Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, the Fourth Earl of Dunraven; British travel writer Isabella Bird; mountaineer Frederick Chapin; naturalist Enos Mills; iconic ranger Jack Moomaw and his fictional counterpart, Dorr Yeager’s Bob Flame; and contemporary nature writers Anne Zwinger and SueEllen Campbell—to mention but a few. Some tell us about the past, recalling moments of personal triumph and tragedy. Other voices are quieter; some are more polemic. All capture and share a part of the national treasure that is Rocky Mountain National Park.

The first of its kind, this original collection is a rich literary and historical compendium of the best that has been written about Rocky Mountain National Park. As such it provides an indispensable introduction to the nation’s twelfth national park.   

James H. Pickering is Professor of English Emeritus at the University of Houston, where he served as dean, provost, and president. He has written or edited 30 books on Estes Park, Colorado, and the American West. Since 2006 Pickering has served as Historian Laureate of the Town of Estes Park, where he currently makes his home. His most recent book, Joe Mills of Estes Park (2013), was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award.  

Table of Contents:
Introduction – James H. Pickering
1. Preface to “The Rocky Mountain National Park,” 1915 – Enos A. Mills
2. Native American Presence: The Return of the Arapaho, 1914 – Oliver W. Toll
3. Arapaho Tales and Legends – Oliver W. Toll
4. The 1914 Arapaho Visit: Its True Significance – James H. Pickering
5. First Glimpse of the Estes Valley, 1859 – Milton Estes
6. First Ascent of Longs Peak, 1868 – Lewis W. Keplinger
7. The Earl Comes to Colorado, 1872 – Earl of Dunraven
8. An English Lady in Estes Park, 1873 – Isabella Lucy Bird
9. A Fishing Expedition, 1875 – Lewis B. France
10. My First Winter in Estes Park, 1850–1943 – Abner Sprague
11. Summering at MacGregor Ranch, 1878 – Carrie Adell Strahorn
12. Camping in Moraine Park, c. 1878 – S. Anna Gordon
13. The Death of Carrie Welton, 1884 – James H. Pickering
14. The Peaks about Estes Park, 1887–1888 – Frederick H. Chapin
15. William Allen White and the Boys of ’89 in Moraine Park - James H. Pickering and Nancy Pickering Thomas
16. A Trip to Stones Peak, 1890 – Frederick Funston
17. Exploring and Mapping Wild Basin, 1908 – William S. Cooper
18. The Beaver’s Engineering, 1913 – Enos A. Mills
19. Vanished in the Mountains: The Eighteen-Year Search for the Reverend Thornton R. Sampson, 1915 – James H. Pickering
20. Superintendent’s Monthly Report, 1915 – Charles Russell Trowbridge
21. Squeaky Bob Wheeler and Hotel de Hardscrabble – Clark Secrest
22. The Tourist on the Trail, 1916 – Julia Ann Prouty
23. Publicizing the New Park: The Eve of Estes, 1917 – James H. Pickering
24. “Charlie, Did I Ever Tell You . . . ”: The Death of Agnes Vaille, 1925 – Walter Kiener
25. The Highest Hotel in the World, 1927 – Merrill J. Mattes
26. The Remarkable Stettner Brothers, 1927 – Dougald MacDonald
27. Winter Patrol, c. 1928 – Jack C. Moomaw
28. CCC Days, 1933 – Dorr G. Yeager
29. Conquering the Diamond, 1960 – Stephen Trimble
30. The Tundra of Trail Ridge, 1972 – Anne Zwinger and Beatrice H. Willard
31. The White-tailed Ptarmigan, 2003 – SueEllen Campbell
32. Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park: Dynamics and Management, 2014 – Michael Coughenour
33. The Pika’s Last Stand: The Effects of Alpine Climate Change, 2014 – Thomas D. Gootz

Timeline of Human History
Further Reading 
Sources and Permissions

Praise and Reviews:
“A latter day Enos Mills, Jim Pickering has emerged as the foremost and most prolific historian-champion of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. In this crackerjack anthology, Jim celebrates the park’s centennial with a rich selection of reflections from Arapaho Indians to current scientists studying the scary impact of climate change.”
—Tom “Dr. Colorado” Noel, the University of Colorado Denver