My Heaven on Earth, Sept. 30, 2011

Sometimes I struggle with how much to share in such a public forum. My intension is to invite you to join me on this journey through the good, the bad and even the ugly. At times this will also include very personal emotions… maybe even “sailor talk” when I’m upset or hit my hand with a hammer. (Story to be posted at later date) My goal is to be real with you. No, not like reality TV as in “Living With the Kardashians”.

So here is some real. I had two reasons to visit Rocky Mountain National Park this year. One was to watch the Elk in rut. I hope sometime you can hear in person the sound of a bugling bull Elk. Bucket list material. The other reason was to revisit a very special place for me. Someplace I found several years ago that resonated with me like no other place I have seen on Earth, and that’s 60 years of viewing.

Let me introduce to the Cache La Poudre river. So Named by French trappers moving through Northern Colorado in the early 1800’s trapping  for beaver pelts. The name literally means “The Powder Cache”. And that is just what they did. In a bluff overlooking the river, they stashed most of their goods for retrieval on their return trip from high in the mountains trapping furs. This river has the privileged distinction of being designated Wild and Scenic. It will forever be left wild and free from its headwaters to where it joins the South Platte on its eventual journey to the Mississippi and the Gulf.

Stay with me on this as I ramble around getting to the point of my post. If you were from Ft. Collins Colorado, this would not be a very big leap to understand but for my reader in Ohio, well not so much. So here is the Cache La Poudre River, wild and free  forever.  Its headwaters happens to be at the summit of Milner Pass which is in Rocky Mountain Nat. Park. The river’s head waters are springs that feed Poudre Lake which is just a few yards to my right.

Upper and Lower Poudre Lakes at Milner Pass summit

I’ve hiked along side much of this river as it flows from these small pristine lakes as a little stream no more than a foot wide. I have sat beside its waterfalls during spring runoff in total awe of the power and force so great it makes the ground seem to tremble. I’ve drunk the  water from the spring  that starts this river just where the light of day strikes it for the first time. With me always is a bottle of this new water that’s never been drank before, never been dammed up, never been through a sanitation plant or ever flushed through a toilet.

From this spring, the River flows

We all are connected by coming and leaving this world in the same way. We all share the same star stuff, not only with each other but with the Universe. The decisions and choices we make along the way is what makes us different from one another, nothing more. On a Sunday evening March 26, 2006, I made a decision beside this river that closed the book on the journey I was on and eventually opened another that led me to one I’m sharing with you. 

  This is my lake, this is my river. And it is here I have chosen to start a most amazing  journey.  Some far off day when it’s my time to relinquish my star stuff back to where it came, it will be here.  From this small lake perched at the top of the Continental Divide what I have borrowed from the sea shall once again start toward that far off shore.


   This monolith rising above the lake with its single huge pine growing from its face makes a fitting statement testifying to my time here.

I have always been one for adventure and the last one I take promises to be a doozy. Too bad I can’t take a camera!

This is my valley, my river


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trish
    Nov 05, 2011 @ 23:28:45

    Cool! My dad took a picture of 6-year-old me standing in front of the Continental Divide/ Powder Cache sign in 1966. I see they bought a new sign since…

    Seems like you’re happy with your pilgrimage, Rach. I like the mountains, but the Rockies scared me as a kid, too many crazy switchback roads. No idea how my dad towed that Avion all over like there were guardrails.


  2. Trish
    Nov 05, 2011 @ 23:30:18

    And what’s this “last adventure promises to be a doozy” about, then?


  3. rach2bfree
    Nov 06, 2011 @ 11:22:42

    Trish, My last great adventure will begin when my ashes are cast out into Poudre Lake and over the span of time, my star stuff will make the journey back to the sea. It’s my belief I’ve done it before and will do it again. Kinda deep stuff for getting your head around sometimes I agree but it’s also a part of the reason I’m doing this thing I’m doing. Sorting out who and what we are to ourselves and others takes a lot of work and for me, it involves this kind of self reflection.


  4. Renee
    Nov 12, 2011 @ 08:54:12

    sis, next time you are up here you better take me on a hike so I’ll know where this place is. I’d hate to cast your ashes into the wrong lake! You’d probably come back and haunt me if I did that. So let’s plan a little road trip up there next summer, ok? love ya!


  5. bammpamm
    Nov 08, 2015 @ 08:46:22

    Hi Rachel,
    This is 4 years, almost to the day, since you posted “my heaven on earth”. What beautiful words and I understood completely what you were saying completely. My place is on top of Mt. Soledad in San Diego. I hope you find someone along the path of your travels. You deserve it. (I tried posting this yesterday but sure where it is so I am trying again). Ha.


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