Hike of the Week: Check out the intersection of natural and human history with a guided tour | VailDaily.com

Hike of the Week: Check out the intersection of natural and human history with a guided tour

By Nathan Boyer-Rechlin
Hike of the Week
The Ute indigenous peoples populated areas in the Rocky Mountains, and their history lies in areas near Battle Mountain and Battle Mountain High School.
Special to the Daily

Here at Walking Mountains Science Center, big surprise, we’re all about natural science education. When we hit the trails, we love to slow down and connect with our natural places, dig into our surroundings – in the case of snowpack, sometimes literally – and interpret the natural communities that surround us. Some of our trails even offer opportunities to connect with not only natural history, but human history.

All the lands surrounding us here in the Eagle River Valley were traveled, hunted on, and used by the Ute people. Even hiking on Battle Mountain, or driving past the high school of the same name, we are opening the doors to Ute legend and stories. Many of our trails also tell the stories of Western expansion.

The Everkrisp trail pays homage to the lettuce farms that covered Meadow Mountain not too long ago, and the Colorado trail near Tennessee Pass winds its way through 10th mountain division lore.

You can’t tell the story of an area’s natural history without crossing paths with its human history. The cross section of these two subjects works together to tell almost every story: from the evolution of Camp Hale from a pristine wetland to historic site to the decrease of Elk populations here in the Eagle River Valley. Exploring cultural history on the trail not only helps tie us to the places we’ve made our home, but also helps us appreciate how we impact the other plants and animals that have called these lands home for thousands of years.

This winter, Walking Mountains is bringing the popular summer series “Hiking Through History” back for a winter iteration. Partnering with the Eagle County Historical Society, a guide will lead participants this Saturday on a moderate snowshoe hike at Yeoman Park to explore the history of Ranger Brown, one of the early forest service rangers. His work here in the valley paved the way for the recreation and conservation we now take for granted.

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Whether you’re just visiting the valley, or have walked these trails your entire life, all are welcome to join in and explore a new perspective on these familiar places.

If you go …

What: Snowshoe Through History

When: Saturday, Feb. 22, 9 a.m.

Where: Meet at Walking Mountains Science Center (inquire about pick-up in Eagle)

Cost: $35

More information: Visit www.walkingmountains.org/hike or email hike@walkingmountains.org

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