Memories of Rocky Mountain National Park

Memories of Rocky Mountain National Park


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Relive your visit to Rocky Mountain National Park, one of America's most loved national parks with this beautiful photo book by professional photographer Erik Stensland. Memories of Rocky Mountain National Park is filled with stunning photos showing the park as it transitions through the year.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780996962629
Publisher: Rocky Trail Press
Publication date: 08/22/2016
Pages: 80
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range: 5 Years

About the Author

Erik Stensland was born in Minnesota in 1968 but moved many times before he was 18. His first real memories are from the mountains outside of Helena, Montana, where at ages 5 and 6 he would spend his days hiking through the forest, exploring miles of mountain terrain around his house. Everywhere he moved he was drawn to the natural world, spending his days creating his own secret trails up to the top of nearby hills or climbing a tree to get a better view. His junior high and high school years were spent cycling throughout the countryside where he could enjoy quiet and beautiful views. Throughout Erik’s life, the beauty of nature has called to him.

After college Erik moved overseas, living in Austria, Bulgaria, Albania, and Kosovo. He met his wife, Joanna, in Austria and they spent over a decade working with the Albanian people, doing everything from creating an ecotourism program, teaching English, assisting local artists, starting a refugee agency, helping local churches meet the needs of their society, and many other projects.

After suffering severe burnout, Erik and Joanna moved to Colorado in 2004. Erik became a landscape photographer in the hope that this might be a way to get paid to hike, as the silence of the wilderness is where he is renewed. While it has involved more office work than he ever imagined, he’s still managed to explore nearly every corner of Rocky Mountain National Park, hiking every trail, most of them more times than he can count.

In 2007 Erik opened his gallery in Estes Park. Since then Erik has become one of the primary photographers focusing on Rocky Mountain National Park. He’s published numerous books, opened other gallery and display locations, and contributes to various local and national publications.

Erik tends to avoid the spotlight and can most often be found heading in the opposite direction of the crowds, looking for quiet trails that lead into places of beauty and silence.

Read an Excerpt

We all have our own stories of the ways in which Rocky Mountain National Park has made a deep impression on us or changed us in some meaningful way. For many, it was love at first sight as they crested Pole Hill and saw Longs Peak and the rugged mountains of the Continental Divide stretch out high above the Estes Valley. This initial glimpse made it clear that they were entering a place they had been longing for deep within—that nature was something their hearts were craving, though they didn’t know it until this moment.

There is little wonder why Rocky Mountain National Park is one of our nation's most visited national parks. Its jagged peaks and lush green meadows are enough to set any heart aflutter. The park’s 350+ miles of hiking trails make it one of the premier hiking destinations in the country. Grand vistas, quiet meadows, and pristine mountain lakes abound within its 415 square miles. It is a place that would take a lifetime to fully explore. Even the roads within the park are memorable. Not many places on earth can one drive up to over 12,000 feet above sea level and enjoy snow in July.

Rocky Mountain National Park is also home to abundant wildlife. Herds of elk can be seen grazing in the meadows seemingly without a care in the world. In the air above, hawks and eagles soar in the currents while mule deer and coyote play below at the edges of the forest. It is as if someone left the door of the zoo open. Yet this is no zoo. This is a home—a home to over sixty different species of mammal that can wander freely, much as they did before the arrival of civilization.

One of the reasons we seem drawn to Rocky is our subconscious need for the natural world. Nature has the ability to push the Reset button inside of us. As we walk along gentle trails, sit beside a stream, or enjoy the open expanse of the tundra, we start to regain a sense of what is truly important in our lives. All that had previously weighed heavily upon us starts to be viewed within the larger picture of life and seems far less pressing than it had before. At the same time, the things that are truly important begin to become visible. The veil of our artificial world loses its power in the presence of the wilderness. Spending time quietly walking through the forest, watching a beaver build his dam, or enjoying a sunset over the Never Summer Mountains causes us to slow down and regain a sense of stillness within. For many, Rocky has become their place of refuge, their restoration area.

Rocky Mountain National Park is a place shared with family and close friends. Here, we are finally able to spend time with each other, renewing and strengthening these relationships that are so often neglected in the constant hustle and bustle of life. Hikes up to Dream Lake and drives along Trail Ridge Road at sunset become family traditions that are passed down from generation to generation.

Our national parks exist to preserve and protect some of our nation's last remaining areas of wilderness, but at the same time, they are also protecting and preserving us. We may not realize it, but we need the natural world just as much as it needs our protection. In Rocky, we remember this beautiful symbiotic relationship that has existed for as long as mankind has walked this planet.

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