Legend of Spirit Lake

Legend of Spirit Lake

For me when I live in a place the history seeks me out or I seek it out. Either way, I first heard the legend of Spirit Lake many years ago. For those that are not familiar with Colorado, there is a village that is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park named Grand Lake. Grand Lake the village got its name from the largest natural body of water in Colorado that it happens to sit next to. Before, any white man ever set foot in the Rocky Mountains the Ute Indians ruled the Never Summer Mountains and the waters of what is now Grand Lake. The Ute Indian’s name for this high mountain lake was and is Spirit Lake. The name Spirit Lake was born out of tragedy.

Legend of Spirit Lake
In the Rocky Mountain frontier Spirit Lake sits at the base of Mount Baldy’s peak,
Deep within the Never Summer Mountains the Ute Indians ghost’s forever speak.

Legend tell us it was a fine and cloudless day when the Utes were camped along the shore,
Little did they know this summer day would bring tears, suffering, blood, and war!

Death was lurking just out of eyesight and just beyond the line of the evergreen trees,
The sound of men moving toward the Ute camp was brought along on a mountain breeze.

To keep their loved one’s safe, they set them adrift on a raft they built to the best of their ability,
Children and women now safe, the battle-hardened warriors would fight their foes with hostility.

A storm brewed above with flashes of lightning and a frightening thunders roar,
From the trees came their ancient enemy—more Arapahoe’s than they had ever seen before.

The battle raged with knives and arrows as the clouds blackened when the thunderstorm rolled in,
Storm and pounding rain raged as did the battle – the Ute warriors knew this combat they had to win.

Fighting for the lives and the lives of those on the raft—blood and pounding rain ruled the day,
From the heavens a maddening wind showed its fury and capsized the raft into the choppy water sway.

Soaked, bloodied, and wounded the Ute fighters fought off the Arapahoe enemy and won on this day,
Looking to the raft, and it was empty as their loved became the lake and the thunderstorms prey.

Grief flooded the surviving warriors who survived the battle, but their love ones they could not save,
As fate, destiny and the mountain winds sent the women and children to a watery grave.

The years pass and people say eerie things can be seen and heard around this haunted Spirit Lake,
Seen are the ghostly figures of women and children rising in the morning mist from the watery wake.

Others have heard the desperate screams of the Ute children coming from the early morning mist,
Sunrise on Spirit Lake to this day you can see the Ute Indians ghosts and know they truly do exist.
Kurt James

Kurt James © 2018

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Kurt James

Kurt James was born and raised in the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. With family roots in western Kansas and having lived in South Dakota for 20 years Kurt naturally had become an old western and nature enthusiast. Over the years Kurt has become one of Colorado’s prominent nature photographer’s through his brand name of Midnight Wind Photography. His poetry has been featured in the Denver Post, PM Magazine and on 9NEWS in Denver, Colorado. Kurt is also a feature writer for HubPages and Creative Exiles with the article’s focused on Colorado history, ghost towns, outlaws, and poetry. Inspired at a young age by writers such as Jack London, Louis L’Amour and Max Brand have formed Kurt’s natural ability as a storyteller. Kurt has published 7 novels all based in and around the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Using the Midnight Wind Publishing brand Kurt has also released a poetry collection called the wandering man collection - Poetry and Thoughts of a Wandering Man - (Uniquely Colorado edition) and now this collection - Poetry and Reflections of a Wandering Man (Random Thoughts edition). Kurt has also published 3 historical reference books, and one humor book. All are available in print or download on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads and other fine bookstores. And a few shady bookstores as well. Kurt is working on his 9th Colorado adventure tale novel “Rocky Mountain Moonshiner”.

7 thoughts on “Legend of Spirit Lake

  • December 6, 2018 at 12:11 PM

    Ooh. Spooky yet errily cool story Kurt. Very sad one though. Nice work.

    • December 6, 2018 at 7:05 PM

      Thanks Paul for stopping by my campfire for a tale from the Rockies my friend.

  • December 21, 2018 at 1:19 AM

    What an interesting but sad read, Kurt. How devastated would the Ute warriors would have been to have fought so valiantly to protect their loved ones only to find they had perished in the lake? Tragic. Thank you for sharing this tale. I too grew up on story tellers like Jack London “Call of the Wild” followed by “White Fang” probably the first two novels I ever read, and subsequently can be credited for my love of reading and writing.

    • December 21, 2018 at 2:38 AM

      Thanks John for stopping by and just like you “Call of the Wild” was a huge influence in my life.

  • December 21, 2018 at 3:47 AM

    So much sorrow lingers still at Spirit Lake. How sad it was for the warriors who fought so hard to save their women and children, only to lose them to the lake. Great work, Kurt, on this well penned piece.

    • December 21, 2018 at 7:35 PM

      Thank you Phyllis for taking the time to read this. I think you are like me in that we were born a century to late.


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