The range of mountains known as the Gore Range in Middle Park has a long, rugged history. The land itself is too harsh for a year-round residence prior to modern infrastructure. Winters are cold and long. The rocks and vegetation led to thriving elk and buffalo herds but made it difficult for sheep and cows.
Even those who were deeply native to the land, the mountain Ute peoples, only hunted in Middle Park when the game was rich and the months were warm. They retreated to places like Hot Sulphur Springs to make use of the natural resources there.
It speaks to the hardiness and, arguably, the insanity of the mountain men who began exploring and mapping the West. Trappers, hunters, and explorers, these were the men who first brought the idea of permanence to the nomadic life that was the west before they came.
Jim Bridger was one such character. Born in March of 1804, he was an American mountain man, trapper, Army scout, and wilderness guide who explored and trapped the West. He participated in numerous early expeditions into the western interior, often working as a mediator between Native American tribes and the westward-migrating settlers. He was described as having a strong constitution that allowed him to survive in the previously described extreme conditions in the Rockies. He explored what would become southern Colorado all the way up to the Canadian border. He spoke a smattering of European and native languages, in spite of having no formal education and living his entire life illiterate.
Bridger was a contemporary of many of the other famous explorers of the early west and knew many of them personally. He was hired by Sir St. George Gore, an Irish baronet from Sligo whose sole purpose was to break records and fill his trophy room. The very Gore for whom Gore Pass and Gore Range are named, the range where Latigo is nestled.
When the government signed treaties with the southern Ute tribes and started giving access to interested white settlers, very few made any kind of living outside towns like Kremmling, Granby, and Toponas. Eventually, technology evolved, roads spread, and that which was once only accessible for a few months of the year is now incredible vacation material nearly year-round, from the cool and refreshing summers to the absolutely pristine snow trails for winter skiing, Latigo has it all.
What are you waiting for? Latigo is waiting for you!
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