One of my favorite parts of Colorado were the stretches of the Rocky Mountain ranges that extend half-way through the state. Stretching over 3,000 miles from northern British Columbia down to New Mexico, across Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. It is one of North America’s major mountain ranges. Formed 55-80 million years ago by means of erosion, glaciers, water, and wind … these majestic mountains were home to North America’s first human inhabitants as well as early Euro-American explorers. Most of the mountains consist of public parks, National Parks, State forests, and Bureau of Land Management acreage – it is a major tourism attractor for camping, hiking, photography, fishing, hunting, skiing, biking, and outdoor recreation. Some of North America’s highest peaks are located within this range, such as Mount Elbert at 14,400 feet and Mount Robson at 12,972 feet above sea level. Formed by tectonics, the oldest rock found in the range is pre-cambrian metamorphic rocks that formed the core of the North American continent as well as pre-cambrian argillite (1.7 billions years old). During the Paleozoic, most of this area was under a shallow sea adding dolomite and limestone to its composition. During the Pennsylvanian Period in Colorado, the ranges saw much uplift and erosion producing what is now called the “Ancestral Rocky Mountains” leaving much sedimentary rock layers. Much of this uplift created tilted slabs in Colorado which attract many tourists and photographers to the area especially in the hogbacks. The Rockies have numerous biotic zones ranging from stone with no trees to heavy forests. Landscapes range from rock outcrops, grass slopes, aspens, pines, junipers, firs, oaks, and hemlock. Bighorn sheep, deer, elk, moose, mule, mountain goats, black bears, grizzly bears, lynxes, mountain lions, coyotes, and wolves are predominant. The first human inhabitants were Native Americans such as the Ute, Kutenai, Sioux, Shoshone, Apache, Cheyenne, Crow, Flathead, Blackfoot, Bannock, and Arapaho as well as others. Their archaeological remains date back almost over 6,000 years ago. Euro-American explorers invaded the Rockies, hunting, farming, exploring, mining, trading, and mapping the regions from as early as 1540.