Avon library hosts author of ‘Colorado’s Historic Mountain Passes’ | VailDaily.com

Avon library hosts author of ‘Colorado’s Historic Mountain Passes’

Daily staff report
Copies of “Colorado’s Historic Mountain Passes” will be available for sale at Saturday's event.
Special to the Daily |

If you go ...

What: “Colorado’s Historic Mountain Passes” book signing and presentation.

Where: Avon Public Library.

When: 2 p.m. Saturday.

More information: Visit http://www.evld.org or call 970-949-6797.

AVON — Author Larry Rynearson and photographer Rick Jones visit the Avon Public Library at 2 p.m. Saturday for a book signing and presentation on their book, “Colorado’s Historic Mountain Passes.”

The book offers a new look at history by using the state’s mountain passes as the point of inspiration. Much has been written about the peaks of Colorado, about the 13ers and 14ers, about when and how and who climbed them or skied them. As interesting, beautiful and challenging as those lofty peaks are, the real story of Colorado can be found on the passes between them.

By way of these passes, our state was settled by early explorers and adventurers. Rynearson has chosen to write specifically about “92 passes that were built for and used regularly by wheeled vehicles,” including wagons, handcarts and railroads. Most of these passes are located west of what is now Interstate 25 and roads were built between the late 1850s and the end of World War I.

Rynearson begins with a brief overview of the geology of the state and an introduction to some of its early inhabitants: Native Americans, explorers, surveyors, miners and railroad workers. He gives special attention to Otto Mears, who he calls the Pathfinder of the San Juans. Mears built roughly 450 miles of toll roads in important areas of Southwestern Colorado, including what he refers to as the Rainbow Route — the spectacular road from Ouray over Red Mountain Pass to Silverton.

Each account of a pass’ history is liberally peppered with lore, trivia, anecdotes, facts, science and natural history. We learn why the passes were needed, the people who used them, and how the passes got their names.

This is a fun book — one you can dip into for a few pages or get lost in as you explore entire areas of the state. Rynearson is a resident of Glenwood Springs. He will stay after the presentation to sell and sign his book as well as answer questions.

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