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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

White Rocks

October 23rd, 2015 · No Comments

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The White Rocks Natural Area is only 9 miles from my apartment in Boulder, but I hadn’t hiked there​ before​, and it wasn’t for a lack of wanting. ​I finally got there on a fine yesterday morning.​

Because this area is so fragile and ​is ​the home of nesting Bald Eagles, it’s normally closed to the public. It’s only open from August to October and only with a Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks guide. And before 2011, when the city bought it from the heirs of Martha “Ricky” Weiser for $4 million, it wasn’t open at all.

​The so-called White Rocks Trail off Valmont Avenue is open to the public without any guide, and I’ve hiked it dozens of times. It’s a lovely trail, but it doesn’t come close to the real White Rocks.​

About 1960 conservation proponent Ricky Weiser bought the 240 acre property for $50,000 that she had just inherited. Local architect L. Gale Abels design​ed​ ​the​ home​ for her family on a bluff overlooking Boulder Creek between two outcroppings of pale Fox Hills sandstone, from which White Rocks takes its name. Completed in 1963, the result ​became a distinctive ​Contemporary Style​ building that maximize​s ​views of the surrounding landscape and the Rocky Mountains​,​​ and it isn’t visible from any street.​​

It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in October 16, 2013, two years to the day before I ​was able to ​visit it. ​​The home is one of 82 ​historic places in Boulder County.

The Martha "Ricky" Weiser Home in White Rocks

The Martha "Ricky" Weiser Home in White Rocks

Click on the picture above to enlarge

​Undercutting action of Boulder Creek​ ​exposed the White Rocks sandstone. ​It formed about 65 million years ago, ​when a large inland seas covered the whole area. The surface of the sandstone displays interesting patterns ​known as turtlebacks. ​Regular wetting and drying of the rocks caused these fractures.

The​se pale sandstone​ cliffs ar​e north of and high above one of the​ most beautiful​ sections of​ ​Boulder Creek​. This creek flows through the city ​and ​is ​the reason why ​settlers picked the site of what became the city​​​ when the ​first ​gold miners ​came​ here on October 17, 1858, exactly ​157 years ago to the day as I write.

​Boulder Creek and the Rockies from White Rocks

Boulder Creek and the Rockies from White Rocks

Click on the picture above to enlarge

​This natural area is one of five state natural areas in Boulder County and the only one that I had not previously visited. I am so glad that I finally got there.​


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