Life’s Most Beautiful Places

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Each summer I visit a cabin on Grand Lake, Colorado, a village at the eastern entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. It is my life’s most beautiful place.

To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Rocky in 2015, the Grand Lake Area Historical Society is creating a special exhibit on the park for its Kauffman House museum. One facet of it involves interviews with longtime park rangers.

 I had the privilege of conducting three of the interviews last summer. Barbara King is an interpretive ranger who gives imaginative programs for kids. Al Simonds, a longtime back country ranger, is a great story-teller. And Jim Caretti has paired teaching high school art in the winter with park service in the summer.

Talk about stories! They’ve survived terrifying storms, encounters with wild animals, and tussles with difficult tourists. But most awe-inspiring was their common love of nature, including being absolutely alone in nature, and their passion to “interpret” its wonders to people of all ages.

 This question was answered almost identically by all three of them:

“Do you have a favorite site in the park?”

 With a far-away look in their eyes each responded, “Yes, but I’m not sure I want to tell you where it is.” Then they each proceeded to tell me, because the location was so beautiful they couldn’t resist talking about it.

What is your life’s most beautiful place? Do you prefer to be alone in it? With whom would you want to share it?