To explore upstream from Rollinsville to the East Portal of the water diversion project and to ascend the old right of way of the former Rollins Pass railroad, was for me a gripping and thrilling experience. The serendipity won me. But the granduer and the color enriched every part of me. I found the man who had been keeping a census of migrating and nesting swallows for the last 31 years. He gently removed the swallows from their nesting boxes, weighed them, measured their wing length, banded the new ones and recorded their details. Then there was the portal, the tunnel through the continental divide, the winding road through the forests, the ice patches, meltwater streams still partly frozen, the birdlife that had no fear of my approach, the glacier around the final corner! And on return to base, the light hailstorm that covered the railroad tracks and road surface with white stones and wispy fog! And a rainbow arcing in the east. Splendid indeed.
I am a lifetime resident of Colorado and have been researchin the area in your photograph for nigh on a year now, and I am pleased you found the area as breathtaking as we do. I know the early morning view towards the portal from Rollins Pass as the mighty gates open and release a dense and all encompassing steam to slink its way down the cool valley is something to behold and remember. That aside, I would like to offer some corrections if I may be so bold, as well as some additional information. First, that building in the foreground is the first true schoolhouse to service the valley, built sometime around 1904 - 1906 and is a pristine example of such, a real treasure. Esepcially when viewed against the overscaled and expansive backdrop. The corrections I offer is that this is not called the Rollins Valley as it were, it is known as South Boulder Park, as it is a high glacial cut rather than a valley. Second, it is the former "Moffat Railroad", built in 1902, now operated by Union Pacific. Rollins Pass was just the segment of the road that traversed over the divide from Tolland over James Peak. In fact, it was one of the most perilous rail trips in the world, nicknamed "The Giant's Ladder" for all the 180 degree switchbacks visible on one face of the mountain and taking several hours to traverse. That's all, I was commenting more because I hope people find the unique story behind this place as interesting as I have, and I feel a great blessing for having had the opportunity to learn it.
On a final note, that is a wonderful picture and it captures the diversity, both natural and man made of the park so well. I am wondering, though, I recall while I was working in Tolland, I gave directions to a German traveller looking for the Moffat Tunnel, some time in September of last year. With a surname like Stehbens, it makes one wonder?
At any rate, cheers, wonderful images and happy travels.
I am indeed indebted to you for adding and correcting, for appreciating and enhancing the summary of my experience with your story!! Thank you so much.
I was alone during my visit, except for the ornithologist that I met and watched and spoke with. And then when I returned from the Rollins Pass route, I sheltered from the hail under a railroad bridge with a man and woman on a motor bike.
I am an Australian, though my surname is of German origin, and I was simply enjoying a "see what I might find up here" kind of afternoon...Serendipity to excess!! The only direction I got was from Bob the ornithologist, who made the remark that the old railroad route went up there, as he pointed to this view point. So I, having grown up in forestry plantation country felt right at home, and comfortable about exploring a road alone. Forestry people maintain their roads for fire protection so I knew I wouldn't have a problem with the road.
But I am fascinated by the trains and the closed doorway on the rail portal, and how often it is opened, and how many trains go in at the same time, and all the details on the tunnel operation. I presume the tunnel is so long that it is necessary to close the airlock so that the train doesn't end up snuffing in its own exhaust that accumulates with it if the tunnel were open at both ends. Is that what was happening?
I could ask you to identify Bob the ornithologist, for I searched the internet thinking I would find some reference to his research. I could ask about the glacial history of the Park in detail. I am interested in the water project and management here. I'd be interested in the social history of the "valley" and of the school, pictured. What was its name?
Thankyou so much for all you have so far added to this image of a special area. I trust you enjoyed the other associated images that are posted in this gallery.
Sign up to comment.
Sign in if you already did it.
Photo taken in Gilpin County, CO, USA
Misplaced? Suggest new location