Backpacking Eccles Pass

Backpacking Eccles Pass, Eagle's Nest Wilderness, White River National ForestBack at camp, we carried out our duty to do nothing. Breakfast and the inevitable to follow, a walk in the woods with a small shovel. Funny how mundane tasks in the city become something of an art form in the high country. Backpacking Eccles Pass will always remain an experience to remember.

What a beautiful late summer outing, backpacking Eccles Pass. Heading up into the Gore Mountain Range near Frisco, Colorado can be some what of an uphill battle, especially with a full backpack. Though, once out of the gulch the trail levels into picturesque meadows surrounded by mountain peaks. Simply put, the hike up is lush and quiet. Aspen groves give way to mixed pine woods with fresh running streams and a much more laid-back environment versus the hustle and bustle of city life.

Arriving in the high valley, you’ll find open meadows thinning out to rugged peaks and big open skies. Wildflowers abound here, while gentle creeks flow from snowmelt high above bring life giving waters to the valley below. There’s room for everyone and everything here, that is, man, nature and wildlife enjoy the pristine unmaintained landscape of the beautiful Eagle’s Nest Wilderness, just the way it should remain.

We camped just below Eccles Pass, somewhere around 11,500′, out of touch and out of time with nowhere to go, no place to be, relaxing and allowing the natural flow of things to overtake our minds. A room with a view, if you will, positioning our tent to face west at the mountain range, prime for sunset and sunrise and a hopeful moose having dinner among the reeds.

Backpacking Eccles Pass, Marmot Tent, Backpacking TentThe nights were quiet, so much so you could hear a mouse chewing on a pine cone fifty yards away. Shadows danced all around the meadow under an almost full moon. We were alone with only nature as our cohabitant. We would drift in and out of sleep with anticipation of first light and exploring further.

“What was that?”

“A bear”


“A rabid moose”


“An alligator…”

The next morning we would wander, aimlessly, exploring fields of wildflowers, cool running streams and eventually up to Eccles Pass for the view of a lifetime. From our vantage point the whole landscape disappeared into further untouched lands waiting to be explored. Trails winding in and out and over further mountain passes. If only we had more supplies we could just walk on in any direction letting our imaginations lead the way.

Back at camp, we carried out our duty to do nothing. Breakfast and the inevitable to follow, a walk in the woods with a small shovel. Funny how mundane tasks in the city become something of an art form in the high country. Backpacking Eccles Pass will always remain an experience to remember.

Does a bear sh*t in the woods? I know we do! Finding that “spot” where you need to relieve yourself can be tricky at times. You obviously don’t want an audience, hell, we don’t even want a chipmunk watching, nor do you want someone to find your, well, you just don’t want someone finding “it.” Privacy, secrecy and no mosquitoes coming up behind you is what it’s all about.

“How deep should I make the hole?”

“I don’t know, how full of sh*t are you?”

After breaking camp, we fueled up, loaded up and began our decent back to city life. How we would love to just stay and never go back. Backpacking Eccles Pass, much less anyplace in the Colorado High Country, just seems to sit well with us. We always feel at home and as if the weight of the world and all its frustrations just lift off of us. Perhaps one day we’ll just take that one last look behind us as we disappear into the wilderness for good.



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When the earth sleeps, Backpacking, indian peaks wilderness

When the Earth Sleeps

When the earth sleeps. In between summer and winter there lies the short and delicate season of fall. Time seems to stand still, the air begins to cool and the colors explode once more before their long winter nap.

On this outing we chose a special place of solace for us, a hidden lake high in the Indian Peaks Wilderness that we have named Lake Shira for our eldest daughter born still, Shira Rose. It is a peaceful lake, surrounded and protected by the outside world just below the Continental Divide.

Our trek took us from deep in the woods, across streams and up high into the sub-alpine terrain of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Pelted with rain and snow, we forged on knowing full well that fall can bring all four seasons in a day in the high country.

camping, backpacking, indian peaks wilderness, when the earth sleeps

Once at base camp we set up camp. Following our traditions of naming the various places around the perimeter, we easily found our bedroom and pitched our tent. Next on the agenda, a kitchen, bear canister for fridge, we soon had a place for our meal preparations. And yes, a living room came next, surrounded by mountains peaks, Lake Shira and even a view towards the distant plains where we would see the sun rise in the morning. Everything was set, we had a place to call home for a few days. All that was left to do was relax and explore.

The evenings and mornings were quite crisp and the daytime cool. We awoke each day to the sound of coyotes running through the valley below, marmots and pikas chirping in the early morning light and the occasional stellar jay looking for a handout. Indeed, this was a special place.

Backpacking, indian peaks wilderness, when the earth sleeps

Heading home would come too soon, though the hike back down would be full of the sweet smell of fall and blanketed in color as the aspen trees were putting on quite the show. Streams running full of late snow melt, it was as if the earth was cleansing itself before going to bed for the winter.

When the earth sleeps. In between summer and winter there lies the short and delicate season of fall. Time seems to stand still, the air begins to cool and the colors explode once more before their long winter nap.



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Miller Harrell, Debbie Harrell, MAD Hippies Life, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, Lost Lake

Hiking Lost Lake

Hiking Lost Lake, Colorado, Wildflowers, Rocky Mountains, MAD Hippies Life, Hessie TrailheadWelcome to springtime in the Colorado Rocky Mountains!

The winter thaw is upon us, the creeks and rivers are running fast, the lakes are filling back up and the wildflowers are blooming like a fireworks display on the 4th of July. On the menu for today, four moose, three deer, a black bear and an amazing landscape! Hiking Lost Lake in Colorado is an adventure close to Denver full of wildlife, wildflowers and waterfalls.

Many people are coming out from their long hibernation, along with the bears, and heading up into the mountains to enjoy the cool mountain air, the incredible explosion of colors and trade in their skis and snowboards for hiking boots and backpacks.

Hiking Lost Lake is an old favorite which never lets us down when it comes to an abundance of wildlife, wildflowers and waterfalls. And once again, we were not disappointed as indeed we were witness to several moose, deer, a black bear and an amazing breathtaking landscape full of the life we’ve come to appreciate that springtime in the Colorado Rocky Mountains provides.

Hiking Lost Lake, Middle Boulder Creek, Waterfall, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Hessie Trailhead, Lost Lake, MAD HIppies LifeNature’s air conditioner! Many of our hikes are broken into segments, not necessarily to stop and rest, although in the high country that is not such a bad idea! There are those places along the trail that pull you off the beaten path to explore rare opportunities to experience the wild and untamed landscape. When the snow melt begins in spring and the creeks begin filling, the rapids and waterfalls can be quite dramatic. Here, the Middle Boulder Creek bursts with an incredible volume of fast moving water creating a spectacular sight. The heavy mist fills the air and makes for a great spot to cool down. Exploring such a hidden gem is remarkable, while sitting and soaking up the roar is equally meditative.

As much as you might want to stay here, there is so much more to see when hiking Lost Lake. Though, a quick mental note to return again is always a good idea.

Moving on, the trail deepens into the sub alpine world as you climb higher and deeper into the Indian Peaks Wilderness of Colorado. Snow capped peaks begin to emerge behind the tall pines and the trail resembles more of a creek than a footpath as the ever increasing evidence of snow melt overtakes the landscape. The land is alive and your curiosity begins to spark the imagination of what lies around the bend.

Indian Peaks Wilderness, Hiking Lost Lake, Hessie Trailhead, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, MAD HIppies LifeAnd just as the sun rises in the morning giving way to a vast array of colors in the sky, you turn the bend, rise over the ridge and find yourself witness to an incredible landscape that could only be compared to paradise on earth. Beautifully adorned, Lost Lake is a deep blue wonder surrounded by sub alpine trees that reach high into the sky. The cloudless morning sky is endless, rich and clear and the breeze is ever so slight though crisp and cool. All around, snow capped peaks beg to be summited.

A few backcountry campers, still in awe of their find, begin to emerge from their slumber to fill their lungs with the mountain air while the birds serenade us all with songs of the high country. It wasn’t that long ago we were dumbstruck by a waterfall, yet now that begins to fade as this new encounter has stopped us dead in our tracks. Mouths wide open and our souls leaping with joy, we are now witness to an awesome natural wonder. Yes, let’s build our dream cabin right here and never leave!

Indian Peaks Wilderness, Hiking, Backpacking, Hiking Lost Lake, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, MAD Hippies Life, Hessie TrailheadAfter we collected our thoughts and got passed the awe of what hiking Lost Lake has to offer, we began exploring around and above. It is really quite amazing, while you can keep close to the shoreline, equally fun is to climb high above and look back down for a new perspective. Soaking up such a view not only gives you and bigger and much grander understanding of the landscape, but offers views that would otherwise never be seen. Alas, our time here was growing short, though not short on experience. We took one last good look around and chose the long way back out to the main trail.



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The Loch Rocky Mountain National Park

Overcoming Personal Challenges

 The Loch Rocky Mountain National ParkHave you ever been stuck between a rock and a hard place? Our latest adventure had us in just such a place of overcoming personal challenges.

Which way should we go? I don’t know. One is obvious and unfamiliar, the other is obscured but the only way we’ve ever gone. Both are daunting, difficult and quite intimidating.

There we were, only a half mile away from fulfilling a dream of backpacking in a winter setting to The Loch, an amazing gem hidden deep within Rocky Mountain National Park. There was no way we were going to stop now! Only accessible by hiking in, or in our case, snowshoeing. The Loch is a picturesque mountain setting. Complete with a beautiful lake, clear running streams and surrounded on three sides by towering mountains dressed with glaciers and pristine white snow.

It was the first weekend of spring in Colorado and unseasonably warm in the high country, 20s overnight, 50s during the day. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pack in and surround ourselves with the raw and untamed wild of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Backcountry camping can be a bit overwhelming at first, as you are far from services, your vehicle and people. Cut off, you’re on your own.

Camping at The Loch Rocky Mountain National Park

Not only was it the first weekend of spring, indeed there was something else brewing in the air. It was to be the vernal equinox accompanied by a supermoon and solar eclipse. Say what you will, but the energy in the air just seemed to have an intriguing sensation to it. The area we were in, part of Glacier Gorge, is known for extreme winds, and yet the air was still, calm…deafening. We sat in the pitch black of our campsite awe struck at the innumerable stars, twinkling and shooting across the night sky. The silence was intoxicating.

And yet, we stood in between two avenues. We had come so far and were getting excited that our destination was close at hand. Following a familiar route we came to an abrupt stop on the trail. The summer route we knew well was buried deep in snow, obscured and hidden under the winter snowfall. We had never attempted this in the winter and were not familiar with the winter trail that followed The Loch’s outflow stream that usually is running fiercely through the gorge from snow melt in the summer months.

Snowshoeing The Loch Rocky Mountain National Park

Although we saw evidence of other hikers heading that way, we had never taken it and did not exactly know where it led. It could be to The Loch, or it could be to another valley away from our destination putting us even further away. The winter route dubbed Icy Brook is more of a steep icy / snow climb that didn’t sound too inviting to two weary backpackers who were carrying heavy packs and were all too ready to be at their destination. We opted for the summer route instead.

With no visible trace of the trail we relied on our GPS device to lead the way. Granted we were “supposedly” on the trail, we were also knee to hip deep in snow drudging up the side of a mountain. Indeed, a workout! Once we made our way up the steep snowy slope we came to an area we knew well. Just below The Loch now, we resumed our hike in by our own intuition of the lay of the land. Incredible views all around, we left our uncertainty behind us and made the final ascent to The Loch.

Snowshoeing to The Loch Rocky Mountain National Park

We spent some time reacquainting ourselves with our old friend [The Loch], whom we’d only visited in the comfort of summer. A now frozen over lake and deep snow in all directions, finding a suitable campsite might seem difficult. We’d talked about it before even beginning our trek, we wanted a room with a view! After a short while it’s as if the clouds had parted, the birds began to sing and a ray of beautiful golden sunlight came down from the heavens and shown down on an outcropping above the lake that was free of snow and provided 360 degree views of The Loch and all its beauty. We were there.

Snowshoeing Rocky Mountain National Park, Icy Brook

When it was time to leave we begrudgingly packed up our tent, sleeping bags and belongings, stuffing them back in our packs to make our way back to the trailhead and home. But we weren’t done yet. We had spent some time exploring around The Loch during our stay and discovered that the Icy Brook route was indeed the winter trail that would take us back to where we would meet up with what we already were familiar with. It was like looking over a cliff. We met our fears, took it slow and prepared ourselves for the steep descent. Once at the safety of the bottom we just looked at each other and smiled, let’s do it again…but another day! Exhausted, though happy to have made the trek, we were thrilled to have gotten through some learning curves and uncertainty. It was another one for the books that filled us with new found joy of experiencing the wild untamed backcountry of the Rocky Mountains.

To enjoy more photos of this outing and others like it, visit our MAD Hippies Life Rocky Mountain National Park Flickr Album



Campground Ethics


Camping in busy and crowded campgrounds is an activity we’d rather not endure, though there are times when it becomes a necessary alternative. While many are pleasant even in their heavy use seasons, there are some that would be better left to the unethical and inexperienced once a summer weekend campers. Even trails can become overcrowded in peak seasons, leaving those seeking peace and quiet wondering if they should have stayed at home if everyone is now on the trail!

A recent outing we went on to what should have been, or better said, what we hoped would be, a much needed relaxing and uneventful outdoor excursion felt more like a trip to a park in the middle of a city. Let’s just stop and think about this, why do any of us seek to spend time in the outdoors far removed from city life? Quiet? Nature? Hello? Bueller? Needless to say none of those things existed, bummer. In replacement we endured camp gatherings all around that brought with them all their typical inner city entertainment, yeah, they were all plugged in and sharing with the rest of us. If that weren’t enough, the complete and utter disrespect for personal space seemed to be nonexistent. People parking just about any old place they could find to stow their vehicles and walking through other campsites to get where they were going, ultimately the party! Wow, in all our years this one has got to top the list of bad camp ethics.

Is this a blog or a rant? Let’s just call it venting and hopefully it will fall on the right ears, that being the one’s who seem to think the above behavior is appropriate. If it’s a party you want, electronic entertainment or your basic shindig in central park, please, for the love of mankind and his sanity, stay in the city and let those of us who are looking for a serene wilderness experience find it in the unplugged and quiet setting of nature. Just saying 🙂



MAD Hippies Life Scree Field Fern Lake Rocky Mountain National park

The Wilderness Act of 1964


If you haven’t heard already, the Wilderness Act turns 50 this year. In the 50 years that it has been in place, even prior to its induction, many people explored and enjoyed the natural beauty of the outdoors and acknowledged the understanding that our vast wilderness holds an energy that goes beyond the wondrous beauty of what the eye sees. Indeed there is a spiritual essence to being in the outdoors that our psyches thrive on which seems to feed our souls with an unexplained calmness. Our experiences are similar, we too feel a sense of peace and calm when out in the wilderness be it hiking, backpacking, camping or other. Sadly many don’t know about the Wilderness Act, why it even exists or sadly why it would even need to exist. One distinct feature of this act, unfortunately, is the basic need for protecting our uninhabited regions as It doesn’t take long to realize the importance of some type of control when we look at urban and industrial sprawl. We recently took a survey that asks many questions and gives opportunity for questions and comments. What struck a nerve was two questions, “What do you think the wilderness will look like in 50 years and what do you fear about it?” we’d like to know what you think. Our answer was simple and to the point, we fear urban and industrial sprawl and envision [based on current trends] a wilderness not necessarily overrun, but destroyed and void of its primal energy. The Wilderness Act follows, please leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Public Law 88-577 (16 U.S. C. 1131-1136)
88th Congress, Second Session
September 3, 1964


To establish a National Wilderness Preservation System for the permanent good of the whole people, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


Section 1. This Act may be cited as the “Wilderness Act”.


Sec. 2. (a) In order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States and its possessions, leaving no lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Congress to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness. For this purpose there is hereby established a National Wilderness Preservation System to be composed of federally owned areas designated by Congress as “wilderness areas”, and these shall be administered for the use and enjoyment of the American people in such manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use as wilderness, and so as to provide for the protection of these areas, the preservation of their wilderness character, and for the gathering and dissemination of information regarding their use and enjoyment as wilderness; and no Federal lands shall be designated as “wilderness areas” except as provided for in this Act or by a subsequent Act.

(b) The inclusion of an area in the National Wilderness Preservation System notwithstanding, the area shall continue to be managed by the Department and agency having jurisdiction thereover immediately before its inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System unless otherwise provided by Act of Congress. No appropriation shall be available for the payment of expenses or salaries for the administration of the National Wilderness Preservation System as a separate unit nor shall any appropriations be available for additional personnel stated as being required solely for the purpose of managing or administering areas solely because they are included within the National Wilderness Preservation System.
DEFINITION OF WILDERNESS(c) A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.
NATIONAL WILDERNESS PRESERVATION SYSTEM — EXTENT OF SYSTEMSec. 3. (a) All areas within the national forests classified at least 30 days before September 30, 1964, by the Secretary of Agriculture or the Chief of the Forest Service as “wilderness”, “wild”, or “canoe” are hereby designated as wilderness areas. The Secretary of Agriculture shall —

(1) Within one year after September 30, 1964, file a map and legal description of each wilderness area with the Interior and Insular Affairs Committees of the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, and such descriptions shall have the same force and effect as if included in this Act: Provided, however, That correction of clerical and typographical errors in such legal descriptions and maps may be made.

(2) Maintain, available to the public, records pertaining to said wilderness areas, including maps and legal descriptions, copies of regulations governing them, copies of public notices of, and reports submitted to Congress regarding pending additions, eliminations, or modifications. Maps, legal descriptions, and regulations pertaining to wilderness areas within their respective jurisdictions also shall be available to the public in the offices of regional foresters, national forest supervisors, and forest rangers.

(b) The Secretary of Agriculture shall, within ten years after September 30, 1964, review, as to its suitability or nonsuitability for preservation as wilderness, each area in the national forests classified on September 3, 1964, by the Secretary of Agriculture or the Chief of the Forest Service as “primitive” and report his findings to the President. The President shall advise the United States Senate and House of Representatives of his recommendations with respect to the designation as “wilderness” or other reclassification of each area on which review has been completed, together with maps and a definition of boundaries. Such advice shall be given with respect to not less than one-third of all the areas now classified as “primitive” within three years after September 3, 1964, not less than two-thirds within seven years after September 3, 1964, and the remaining areas within ten years after September 3, 1964. Each recommendation of the President for designation as “wilderness” shall become effective only if so provided by an Act of Congress. Areas classified as “primitive” on September 3, 1964, shall continue to be administered under the rules and regulations affecting such areas on September 3, 1964, until Congress has determined otherwise. Any such area may be increased in size by the President at the time he submits his recommendation to the Congress by not more than five thousand acres with no more than one thousand two hundred and eighty acres of such increase in any one compact unit; if it is proposed to increase the size of any such area by more than five thousand acres or by more than one thousand two hundred and eighty acres in any one compact unit the increase in size shall not become effective until acted upon by Congress. Nothing herein contained shall limit the President in proposing, as part of his recommendations to Congress, the alteration of existing boundaries of primitive areas or recommending the addition of any contiguous area of national forest lands predominantly of wilderness value. Not withstanding any other provisions of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture may complete his review and delete such area as may be necessary, but not to exceed seven thousand acres, from the southern tip of the Gore Range-Eagles Nest Primitive Area, Colorado, if the Secretary determines that such action is in the public interest.(c) Within ten years after September 3, 1964, the Secretary of the Interior shall review every roadless area of five thousand contiguous acres or more in the national parks, monuments and other units of the national park system and every such area of, and every roadless island within, the national wildlife refuges and game ranges, under his jurisdiction on September 3, 1964, and shall report to the President his recommendation as to the suitability or nonsuitability of each such area or island for preservation as wilderness. The President shall advise the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of his recommendation with respect to the designation as wilderness of each such area or island on which review has been completed, together with a map thereof and a definition of its boundaries. Such advice shall be given with respect to not less than one-third of the areas and islands to be reviewed under this subsection within three years after September 3, 1964, not less than two-thirds within seven years of September 3, 1964, and the remainder within ten years of September 3, 1964. A recommendation of the President for designation as wilderness shall become effective only if so provided by an Act of Congress. Nothing contained herein shall, by implication or otherwise, be construed to lessen the present statutory authority of the Secretary of the Interior with respect to the maintenance of roadless areas within units of the national park system.(d) (1) The Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior shall, prior to submitting any recommendations to the President with respect to the suitability of any area for preservation as wilderness —

(A) give such public notice of the proposed action as they deem appropriate, including publication in the Federal Register and in a newspaper having general circulation in the area or areas in the vicinity of the affected land;

(B) hold a public hearing or hearings at a location or locations convenient to the area affected. The hearings shall be announced through such means as the respective Secretaries involved deem appropriate, including notices in the Federal Register and in newspapers of general circulation in the area: Provided, That if the lands involved are located in more than one State, at least one hearing shall be held in each State in which a portion of the land lies;

(C) at least thirty days before the date of a hearing advise the Governor of each State and the governing board of each county, or in Alaska the borough, in which the lands are located, and Federal departments and agencies concerned, and invite such officials and Federal agencies to submit their views on the proposed action at the hearing or by not later than thirty days following the date of the hearing.

(2) Any views submitted to the appropriate Secretary under the provisions of (1) of this subsection with respect to any area shall be included with any recommendations to the President and to Congress with respect to such area.

(e) Any modification or adjustment of boundaries of any wilderness area shall be recommended by the appropriate Secretary after public notice of such proposal and public hearing or hearings as provided on subsection (d) of this section. The proposed modification or adjustment shall then be recommended with map and description thereof to the President. The President shall advise the United States Senate and the House of Representatives of his recommendations with respect to such modification or adjustment and such recommendations shall become effective only on the same manner as provided for in subsections (b) and (c) of this section.

USE OF WILDERNESS AREASSec. 4. (a) The purposes of this Act are hereby declared to be within and supplemental to the purposes for which national forests and units of the national park and national wildlife refuge systems are established and administered and —

(1) Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to be in interference with the purpose for which national forests are established as set forth in the Act of June 4, 1897 (30 Stat. 11), and the Multiple Use Sustained-Yield Act of June 12, 1960 (74 Stat. 215).

(2) Nothing in this Act shall modify the restrictions and provisions of the Shipstead-Nolan Act (Public Law 539, Seventy-first Congress, July 10, 1930; 46 Stat. 1020),the Thye-Blatnik Act (Public Law 733, Eightieth Congress, June 22, 1948; 62 Stat. 568), and the Humphrey-Thye-Blatnik-Andersen Act (Public Law 607, Eighty-fourth Congress, June 22.1965; 70 Stat. 326), as applying to the Superior National Forest or the regulations of the Secretary of Agriculture.

(3) Nothing in this Act shall modify the statutory authority under which units of the national park system are created. Further, the designation of any area of any park, monument, or other unit of the national park system as a wilderness area pursuant to this Act shall in no manner lower the standards evolved for the use and preservation of such park, monument, or other unit of the national park system in accordance with the Act of August 25, 1916, the statutory authority under which the area was created, or any other Act of Congress which might pertain to or affect such area, including, but not limited to, the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225; 16 U.S.C. 432 et seq.); section 3(2) of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 796 (2) ); and the Act of August 21,1935 (49 Stat. 666; 16 U.S.C. 461 et seq.).

(b) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, each agency administering any area designated as wilderness shall be responsible for preserving the wilderness character of the area and shall so administer such area for such other purposes for which it may have been established as also to preserve its wilderness character. Except as otherwise provided in this Act, wilderness areas shall be devoted to the public purposes of recreational, scenic, scientific, educational, conservation, and historical use.

PROHIBITION OF CERTAIN USES(c) Except as specifically provided for in this Act, and subject to existing private rights, there shall be no commercial enterprise and no permanent road within any wilderness area designated by this Act and, except as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this Act (including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area), there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.
SPECIAL PROVISIONS(d) The following special provisions are hereby made:

(1) Within wilderness areas designated by this Act the use of aircraft or motorboats, where these uses have already become established, may be permitted to continue subject to such restrictions as the Secretary of Agriculture deems desirable. In addition, such measures may be taken as may be necessary in the control of fire, insects, and diseases, subject to such conditions as the Secretary deems desirable.

(2) Nothing in this Act shall prevent within national forest wilderness areas any activity, including prospecting, for the purpose of gathering information about mineral or other resources, if such activity is carried on in a manner compatible with the preservation of the wilderness environment. Furthermore, in accordance with such program as the Secretary of the Interior shall develop and conduct in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, such areas shall be surveyed on a planned, recurring basis consistent with the concept of wilderness preservation by the Geological Survey and the Bureau of Mines to determine the mineral values, if any, that may be present; and the results of such surveys shall be made available to the public and submitted to the President and Congress.

(3) Not withstanding any other provisions of this Act, until midnight December 31, 1983, the United States mining laws and all laws pertaining to mineral leasing shall, to the extent as applicable prior to September 3, 1964, extend to those national forest lands designated by this Act as “wilderness areas”; subject, however, to such reasonable regulations governing ingress and egress as may be prescribed by the Secretary of Agriculture consistent with the use of the land for mineral location and development and exploration, drilling, and production, and use of land for transmission lines, waterlines, telephone lines, or facilities necessary in exploring, drilling, producing, mining, and processing operations, including where essential the use of mechanized ground or air equipment and restoration as near as practicable of the surface of the land disturbed in performing prospecting, location, and , in oil and gas leasing, discovery work, exploration, drilling, and production, as soon as they have served their purpose. Mining locations lying within the boundaries of said wilderness areas shall be held and used solely for mining or processing operations and uses reasonably incident thereto; and hereafter, subject to valid existing rights, all patents issued under the mining laws of the United States affecting national forest lands designated by this Act as wilderness areas shall convey title to the mineral deposits within the claim, together with the right to cut and use so much of the mature timber therefrom as may be needed in the extraction, removal, and beneficiation of the mineral deposits, if needed timber is not otherwise reasonably available, and if the timber is cut under sound principles of forest management as defined by the national forest rules and regulations, but each such patent shall reserve to the United States all title in or to the surface of the lands and products thereof, and no use of the surface of the claim or the resources therefrom not reasonably required for carrying on mining or prospecting shall be allowed except as otherwise expressly provided in this Act: Provided, That, unless hereafter specifically authorized, no patent within wilderness areas designated by this Act shall issue after December 31, 1983, except for the valid claims existing on or before December 31, 1983. Mining claims located after September 3, 1964, within the boundaries of wilderness areas designated by this Act shall create no rights in excess of those rights which may be patented under the provisions of this subsection. Mineral leases, permits, and licenses covering lands within national forest wilderness areas designated by this Act shall contain such reasonable stipulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary of Agriculture for the protection of the wilderness character of the land consistent with the use of the land for the purposes for which they are leased, permitted, or licensed. Subject to valid rights then existing, effective January 1, 1984, the minerals in lands designated by this Act as wilderness areas are withdrawn from all forms of appropriation under the mining laws and from disposition under all laws pertaining to mineral leasing and all amendments thereto.

(4) Within wilderness areas in the national forests designated by this Act, (1) the President may, within a specific area and in accordance with such regulations as he may deem desirable, authorize prospecting for water resources, the establishment and maintenance of reservoirs, water-conservation works, power projects, transmission lines, and other facilities needed in the public interest, including the road construction and maintenance essential to development and use thereof, upon his determination that such use or uses in the specific area will better serve the interests of the United States and the people thereof than will its denial; and (2) the grazing of livestock, where established prior to September 3, 1964, shall be permitted to continue subject to such reasonable regulations as are deemed necessary by the Secretary of Agriculture.

(5) Other provisions of this Act to the contrary notwithstanding, the management of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, formerly designated as the Superior, Little Indian Sioux, and Caribou Roadless Areas, in the Superior National Forest, Minnesota, shall be in accordance with the general purpose of maintaining, without unnecessary restrictions on other uses, including that of timber, the primitive character of the area, particularly in the vicinity of lakes, streams, and portages: Provided, That nothing in this Act shall preclude the continuance within the area of any already established use of motorboats.

(6) Commercial services may be performed within the wilderness areas designated by this Act to the extent necessary for activities which are proper for realizing the recreational or other wilderness purposes of the areas.

(7) Nothing in this Act shall constitute an express or implied claim or denial on the part of the Federal Government as to exemption from State water laws.

(8) Nothing in this Act shall be construed as affecting the jurisdiction or responsibilities of the several States with respect to wildlife and fish in the national forests.


Sec. 5. (a) In any case where State-owned or privately owned land is completely surrounded by national forest lands within areas designated by this Act as wilderness, such State or private owner shall be given such rights as may be necessary to assure adequate access to such State-owned or privately owned land by such State or private owner and their successors in interest, or the State-owned land or privately owned land shall be exchanged for federally owned land in the same State of approximately equal value under authorities available to the Secretary of Agriculture: Provided, however, That the United States shall not transfer to a state or private owner any mineral interests unless the State or private owner relinquishes or causes to be relinquished to the United States the mineral interest in the surrounded land.

(b) In any case where valid mining claims or other valid occupancies are wholly within a designated national forest wilderness area, the Secretary of Agriculture shall, by reasonable regulations consistent with the preservation of the area as wilderness, permit ingress and egress to such surrounded areas by means which have been or are being customarily enjoyed with respect to other such areas similarly situated.(c) Subject to the appropriation of funds by Congress, the Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to acquire privately owned land within the perimeter of any area designated by this Act as wilderness if (1) the owner concurs in such acquisition or (2) the acquisition is specifically authorized by Congress.

GIFTS, BEQUESTS, AND CONTRIBUTIONSSec. 6. (a) The Secretary of Agriculture may accept gifts or bequests of land within wilderness areas designated by this Act for preservation as wilderness. The Secretary of Agriculture may also accept gifts or bequests of land adjacent to wilderness areas designated by this Act for preservation as wilderness if he has given sixty days advance notice thereof to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Land accepted by the Secretary of Agriculture under this section shall become part of the wilderness area involved. Regulations with regard to any such land may be in accordance with such agreements, consistent with the policy of this Act, as are made at the time of such gift, or such conditions, consistent with such policy, as may be included in, and accepted with, such bequest.(b) The Secretary of Agriculture or the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to accept private contributions and gifts to be used to further the purpose of this Act.ANNUAL REPORTS

Sec. 7. At the opening of each session of Congress, the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior shall jointly report to the President for transmission to Congress on the status of the wilderness system, including a list and descriptions of the areas in the system, regulations in effect, and other pertinent information, together with any recommendations they may care to make.

Approved September 3, 1964.

Dreams Do Happen

On yet another wonderful adventure to Rocky Mountain National Park, we were greeted with amazing early spring weather in the Colorado high country. We went into this overnight trek not fully aware of what surprises lay in store for us. While the calm Springlike weather was indeed a treat, other hidden gems began to unfold around each corner we ventured to explore. The most prominent and decisive feature that would define our experience wasn’t even realized until we returned home and, what to our surprise lay hidden within the memory card on our camera was indeed what would, and has become the theme of this latest experience…Dreams Do Happen.


[Dream Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park]

We’ve said it many time before, those moments in life that leap off the page and define who we are can’t be made, they just happen. In the flash of an eye without realizing it, the circumstances appear for a moment and then they are gone. Question is, did we pay attention, did we see it and did we grasp it with all of our being and hold on for dear life? We often dream of what we want life to be never really understanding that it’s constantly unfolding all around us, every day waiting for us to accept it and move on. We’re not waiting for the train to come into the station, life is happening now, constantly, what are we doing with it and how are we responding?  The picture above is a great example of the little things all around us, here for a mere moment, and when the ice melts, its gone. A sign along the trail calling to us to take notice of our surroundings. We almost fell off the couch when we noticed this picture…a heart shape appearing on the water for a moment in time at Dream Lake.


[Moonscape Above Our Tent]

The stage was set, the evening before our hike was spent in utter relaxation around a campfire, deer meandering through, fire crackling at our feet and a cool Spring moonscape rising in the sky to let us know another day had ended and an incredible one will begin soon. An evening of dreams and elk bedding down all around us, we awoke in the morning mesmerized by the natural beauty of not only our base camp, but the incredibly calm mountain weather that was calling us to rise quickly, hit the trail and be the first [and perhaps only] people to witness manifesting dreams of what already is.


[Dream Lake 10,000′]

Funny how you can go through life wanting something that has been right under your nose the entire time. Pardon our boasting, but we have been married now for 30 plus years, meeting in high school we never looked back. Jumping into life head first, we became parents at an early age [three beautiful daughters] and went through all the motions life seems to have for all of us to get from one stage of life to the next. Years later here we are, just us as it was in the beginning wondering how we were supposed to redefine our lives on the backside of parenthood. The answer was simple, we’re still the same young lovestruck teenagers we were when we met, no redefining needed! We’ve been talking about this quite a lot lately, curious as always about life and what it all means. And yet here we are, contemplating at the edge of Dream Lake about to realize dreams do happen and we’re still living it…


[Nymph Lake along the trail to Dream Lake]

Sure, we’ve endured our share of problems, issues and all things in between, just like anyone else endures their own set of life’s dramatic ordeals. We were busy living life I guess you’d say. The clouds would gather together overhead and declare the change of season while we pulled up our pants and weathered the storm. Each challenge a moment of extreme character building to etch out who we would become after each lesson of life passed. Sometimes we failed, other times we passed the test no problem. Don’t we all? And today we are alive, staring into each others eyes amazed at the ride we’ve taken together through life. That’s something to celebrate. And if trouble comes tomorrow, we’ll deal with it.


[Dream Lake’s Dreamy Woods]

What’s on the other side…who cares. Life, energy, rebirth into the hereafter. One thing’s for sure, we’ll all find out one day! For now live in the moment, in each other’s arms, hand in hand, cheek to cheek, running naked and laughing at each other for the incredible gift we’ve all been given to live our dreams, to have dreams, to be a dream…to be at all. Dreams do happen, and indeed are happening! If that weren’t enough, this blog is being closed out while a seemingly appropriate song drifts in the background just as the heart shape appeared on Dream Lake, might we share the lyrics and perhaps prick your imagination to dream a little…

“Still, You Turn Me On” by Emerson, Lake and Palmer [1973, Brain salad Surgery]

Do you want to be an angel,
Do you wanna be an angel
Do you wanna be a star
Do you wanna play some magic
On my guitar
Do you wanna be a poet
Do you wanna be my string
You could be anything

Do you wanna be the lover of another undercover
You could even be the
Man on the moon

Do you wanna be the player
Do you wanna be the string
Let me tell you something
It just don’t mean a thing

You see it really doesn’t matter
When you’re buried in disguise
By the dark glass on your eyes
Though your flesh has crystallised
Still…you turn me on

Do you wanna be the pillow
Where I lay my head
Do you wanna be the feathers
Lying on my bed
Do you wanna be the cover
Of a magazine
Create a scene

Every day a little sadder
A little madder
Someone get me a ladder

Do you wanna be the singer
Do you wanna be the song
Let me tell you something
You just couldn’t be more wrong

You see I really have to tell you
That it all gets so intense
From my experience
It just doesn’t seem to make sense
Still…you turn me on

Click here to view more photos of this hike!