Estes Park as we know it was founded by Joel Estes in the 1800s but its roots go back thousands of years to the Ute, Arapaho, Cheyenne and other indigenous tribes who used these mountains for season hunting and plant gathering. To them, this land is apart of their identity. Listen along as they retrace some of their steps. And use this guide below for more information post listening.
In this episode, Aaron talks to the Director of the Cheyenne and Arapaho historic preservation office about original names of common places around Estes Park. For example, the Arapaho called Estes Park "The Circle." They called the Big Thompson River the "Pipe River" because they'd find stones big enough there to make pipes from. "Child's Trail," or Trail Ridge Road, got its name because the trail was so steep that the children had to dismount their horses and walk up. Discover more of the indigenous names of your favorite places around Estes Park here.
For a deeper dive, read the two books mentioned in this episode;
Arapaho Names and Trails by Oliver Toll
"Oliver Toll was 22 years old when he accompanied two Arapaho elders and their interpreter on a mid-summer pack trip through some of America’s most spectacular mountain country. The following year, most of the land they visited would become part of Rocky Mountain National Park. Almost five decades later, Toll published his notes from the excursion."
Coyote Valley: Deep History in the High Rockies by Thomas Andrews
"What can we learn from a high-country valley tucked into an isolated corner of Rocky Mountain National Park? In this pathbreaking book, Thomas Andrews offers a meditation on the environmental and historical pressures that have shaped and reshaped one small stretch of North America, from the last ice age to the advent of the Anthropocene and the latest controversies over climate change."