Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I was given a very special gift

Construction on Trail Ridge Road began in September, 1929 and was completed to Fall River Pass July, 1932. Trail Ridge was built to counter deficiencies of Fall River Road. The Fall River route was too narrow for the increasing numbers of vehicles. Frequent snowslides, deep snow, and limited scenic views also plagued the route.The maximum grade on Trail Ridge does not exceed 7%. Eight miles of the road are above 11,000 feet in elevation. Two different contractors were hired to complete different sections of the road. The first section completed, 17.2 miles, was Deer Ridge (8,937') to Fall River Pass (11,794). The road reached Grand Lake in 1938.

This is important because it shows a little of the story of my Grandma Lowe. During the depression the Kenner's (Grandma's maiden name, and Dad's middle name) lost their home in Boulder. They moved to Estes Park and my great-grandpa worked with the WPA building the highway between Boulder and Estes Park. Trail Ridge Road construction began before they arrived in Estes Park and was completed while they were there and Grandpa was working on the highway project. Grandma was in high school and got a job working at the visitors center at the top of Trail Ridge Road. We call it "the top of Trail Ridge". The visitors center sits at the top of Fall River Pass (11,794). She worked up there for three summers as I remember her telling. One of the attractions at the visitors center was the Indians who made incredible jewelry.

Grandma has some supremely beautiful pieces that she has worn through the years. She recently gave Mom a silver bracelet that is engraved from the Indian gentleman who made it "with love". She gave Mom a bracelet to give to me that has a singular turquoise stone in the middle. The engraving is intricate and fine, the silver thick and sturdy, not like the silver I've bought in Mexico on my visits there. I am grateful that Grandma felt confident enough in me to share such a beautiful piece of jewelry and some of her history with me. I am truly touched.

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