By Boating Life Editors
I'm not sure if it was the spectacular alpine scenery that took my breath away, or if it was the altitude. There, a bit more than 10,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by some of Colorado's highest and most spectacular peaks, sat Twin Lakes. This is where we would shoot the inaugural cover images for Boating Life in 1997. It could have been the 78th cover, as the significance of the moment leaned most heavily on the place, not the occasion.
Originally formed by glacial activity, the natural melt-water reservoirs known as Twin Lakes were enlarged to provide water storage — a process that created some 1,700 acres of clean but cold water for recreational boaters to enjoy. It's easy to understand, after a mountainous drive that tests a truck's transmission, why the place is not overrun with boaters.
Furthering the adventurousness of Twin Lakes is the fact that shore-side amenities tend toward the rustic. Five Forest Service campgrounds dominate the accommodations, though there are a couple of small lodges and trailer parks. Most other lodging and eating establishments are at least a half-hour away in either Buena Vista or Leadville.
A robust set of trailer brakes are advised for anyone approaching Twin Lakes from the north, as the route crosses the Continental Divide and entails miles of cliff-hanging two-lane roads. Yes, we got our shot. I'm not sure the original cover left any casual readers breathless, but all who were live on the scene, like me, could certainly say otherwise.
Overshadowed By: Grand Lake, Blue Mesa Reservoir
If You Must Know: Twin Lakes is adjacent to Mount Elbert, the highest Rocky Mountain peak in the U.S. at 14,440 feet.
Most Popular Boats: Fishing boats and small runabouts because of the trailering challenges up mountain roads.
Shared with permission from Boating Life Magazine.