Rodeonexis Photo

Turbulent Cloudscape

But the Colorado Rocky Mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullaby
Rocky mountain high

-Rocky Mountain High, John Denver

J.P. McDaniel, a college professor from Littleton, CO is petitioning the federal government to change one of the peaks on Mount Sopris to carry on the legacy of Aspen’s late folk rock musician John Denver. As seen in the Aspen Times article, she has already collected 1,000 signatures, and plans on collecting more. Her reasoning touches on the fact that the late musician’s influence on environmental issues throughout the Roaring Fork Valley was of great significance.

Sopris and Garrett's, from Snowmass

A shroud of mist and clouds over Garrett’s and Mt Sopris, Roaring Fork Valley, CO

Something of interest that has not been so publicized is the origins of the name Sopris. As seen in another Aspen Times editorial, a passionate reader gave further information to the reasoning behind the iconic peak’s heritage:

Dear Editor:There seems to be much ado over naming one of Sopris’ peaks after “another dead white guy.” This description of Sopris is only two-thirds correct. Sopris the person is indeed dead, and was white, but was a woman.Most people probably don’t know what Emma Sopris did that warranted having a town and our most majestic mountain named after her. She earned this great honor by being the valley’s first schoolteacher. Our forefathers apparently placed such a high value on having education for their children that they held the teachers in the highest of esteem.I have to agree with what appears to be the majority in that naming the peak after another rich or powerful or famous person seems shortsighted. Maybe the people of the Roaring Fork Valley should do something a little more radical and name the two peaks on Sopris after two outstanding teachers, past or present, who have had great impacts on the students from Glenwood to Aspen. Imagine that, giving tribute to those who have given everyone of us so much.

Nancy Humphreys

Hagerstown, Md.

Check back later this week for more details and images from © Rodeonexis Photography…brought to you by Jeremy Weir

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