This week in Aspen history

Two men preparing to go rafting. They are wearing life jackets and helmets, ~1953.
Aspen Historical Society/Mary Eshbaugh Hayes Collection/Courtesy photo

“Bolte and Eaton will float Colorado River,” announced a headline in The Aspen Times on May 27, 1954. “The dream of a pioneer heart will be realized beginning next Saturday when two local voyageurs will begin a two-months trip from Aspen to Hoover Dam via the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers. Charles Bolte and Earl Eaton will leave Aspen Saturday morning about 8:30 at a point near the Hospital in a small rubber raft and float to Glenwood Springs, where they will stay overnight. On Sunday morning the pair will begin the Colorado River part of the trip when they will load their equipment on an Engineer’s pontoon raft and begin a trip that will take two months or longer before reaching their destination. The chief object of the trip will be to take pictures. Several hundred dollars worth of film will be taken along and pictures of several types will be the record of the hazardous journey. They will have a 35mm camera for color slides, black and white for a 4×5 Speed Graphic, and color films for a 16mm movie camera. The pontoon, used by army engineers for building pontoon bridges, is practically unsinkable and will support a load of several tons. It is 28 feet wide and weighs 700 pounds. The men are taking along the smaller rubber raft as an auxiliary boat to be used on the trips up side canyons. The official boat launching will be made about 11 o’clock Sunday morning at Glenwood Springs at the river near the swimming pool. Aspenites are urged to be there to see this expedition off on a thrilling trip.”

The photo shows Earl Eaton (left) and Charles Bolte immediately before launching their light rubber raft to begin their raft trip from Aspen to Glenwood Springs on the Roaring Fork River, 1954.

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