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White Rocks

Posted By admin16 On October 23, 2015 @ 11:40 am In Photography | No Comments

The White Rocks Natural Area [1] 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 [2] 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 [3]

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 [4], exactly ​157 years ago to the day as I write.

​Boulder Creek and the Rockies from White Rocks [5]

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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URLs in this post:

[1] White Rocks Natural Area: http://cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/CNAP-Info.aspx

[2] National Register of Historic Places: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Register_of_Historic_Places_listings_in_Boulder_County,_Colorado

[3] Image: http://www.mendosa.com/fitnessblog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Martha-Wiser-House.jpg

[4] the ​first ​gold miners ​came​ here on October 17, 1858: http://www.bouldercoloradousa.com/about-boulder/boulder-history/

[5] Image: http://www.mendosa.com/fitnessblog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/white-rocks.jpg

[6] Image: http://www.addtoany.com/share_save

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