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Laura Bakken, Terre Haute, IN
When did I first fall in love with Rocky Mountain National Park? That’s easy – when I first spotted the snow-capped mountains from Brush, on my Michigan family’s first trip West in 1964. I was about to turn 14, had been a dedicated birder for about 3 years, and was looking forward to identifying lots of new species with my faithful Peterson Field Guide to the Birds. No fine print in the title to indicate that the guide stopped at the 100th meridian – how different could the birds be, anyway? The campgrounds were full, so we set up in the Hallowell Park overflow area. In the morning, I was overwhelmed by the number of unfamiliar birds. When we visited the Moraine Park Visitor Center, I immediately spotted the colorful Western Tanager on the cover of the Peterson Guide to WESTERN Birds. Needless to say, we purchased the book, which -- now in tatters -- resides 50 years later in a Ziploc bag in a place of honor on my bookshelf. (Yes, Margaret Anderson of Anchorage, I saw my first Ouzel there too – at Dream Lake.)

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