June 8th, 3:50pm

We spent our first week in the Rocky Mountains on the more populated east end of the park, waiting for Trail Ridge Road to open in order to access the west side and Kawuneeche Valley. Although still possible to drive to Grand Lake, it’s a 3+ hour drive without Trail Ridge Road over the mountain range, and 1 hour with it. We were eager to learn about the unique culture of the west side, and it was no surprise to hear Ranger Harry Canon describes the west as more laid back and isolated - and that business relies on the status of Trail Ridge Road.

Harry Canon is a ranger in the interpretive division, and leads a campfire program at the historic Holzwarth Ranch in the park. Guests roasts marshmallows, sing classic campfire songs, and Harry shares stories about life on the ranch. The Holzwarth family started their Trout Lodge in 1917, two years after the park was established. It’s the only one that remains in the park of the early homestead days, and is open to guests when the season gets started in mid-June.

To sing-along with Harry and to hear his stories, you’ll have to visit his campfire program!