Tom Lybeck Original Rams Horn Lodge

Rams Horn Lodge

I knew this photo would make a good subject for a painting.

The Flat Tops Wilderness Area is home to many places rich with beauty, dotted with scenic mountain lakes. One lake in particular has drawn us to visit it whenever we head to Yampa, a tiny mountain town roughly 20 miles from the much better known Steamboat Springs. Rams Horn Reservoir holds favorite childhood memories for my wife Robin. She camped there often with her family as a child. Four-wheel drive is a necessity to drive up, so we have always chosen to hike the mile-and-a-half trail that takes you to the top.

Back in 2013, we retraced her footsteps to find the exact location of their campsite, relying on photographs taken years ago. Many of her happy childhood adventures started here. This particular day was awe inspiring in its beauty and serenity. Our dog Holly was with us and enjoyed the freshness of all the new aromas that dogs pay close attention to. With my camera clicking photos of the spectacular views found in every direction, I found one in particular that I knew would make a good subject for a painting. A string of beaver ponds create a half circle around the lake. There, in the center of the largest one, was this impressive beaver lodge. The stillness of the day made the pond a mirror, creating a perfect reflection of the mountains and sky. It was midday and no beavers were in sight. But with nature chattering all around me, I felt blessed to be in this special moment provided by God.