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A Tour of the Lonesome Lawmen Settings

Take a little tour!

Lonesome Lawmen Promo Image Pauline Baird Jones

Clear back in 1999, I wrote a book called The Last Enemy. For reasons I have blogged about previously, it was set in and around the Denver, Colorado area.

So I thought it might be fun to take a little tour of the area.

Estes Park, Colorado

The Colorado town of Estes Park is a basecamp for the Rocky Mountain National Park. Downtown Estes Park is lined with quaint coffee shops, restaurants, and boutiques. It also features a scenic Riverwalk that runs from the Visitor Center to Performance Park. 

One of the most famous visitors to Estes Park was Stephen King. He stayed at the regal Stanley Hotel built in 1909 by F. O. Stanley, inventor, and founder of Stanley Motor Carriage Company, which manufactured steam-powered cars before the 1920s. The Historic Stanley Night Tours, about the hotel’s history, architecture, pop culture, and hauntings are a favorite attraction for the hotel’s visitors and guests. 

A Front View of the Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

The haunted hotel is infamous for its paranormal activity. It was the actual inspiration behind The Shining. In 1974, King and his wife slept in room 217, where he had nightmares of his three-year-old screaming while being chased down the hall.

Tourists and residents of Estes Park also like to hop on the Estes Park tram and ride to the top of Prospect Mountain, for picturesque views of Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, and the Continental Divide.

Longs Peak, which plays a key role in The Last Enemy, is a lofty, prominent summit in the Rocky Mountains about 9 miles from Estes Park. It rises 14,259 feet above sea level, earning itself the label of being a “fourteener” to climbers. It is also the only fourteener that can be hiked during the summer months (with minimal technical climbing).

In Jules Verne’s From The Earth To The Moon, a reflecting telescope stood there to track his fictional giant-bullet projectile on its flight to the Moon. 

Flat-topped, Longs Peak towers over all other summits in the Rocky Mountain. It can be seen from almost anywhere in the national park. In the summer, thousands climb the Keyhole route to Longs’ summit. The climb entails crossing enormous sheer vertical rock faces, often with falling rocks. It would be fatal to not use a rope there. Additionally, the narrow ledges, loose rocks, and steep cliffs call for a lot of scrambling.

There are three significantly challenging sections:

·         The Narrows – an uneven path no more than two-feet wide at parts, that’s flanked by a drop of several hundred feet. 

·         The Homestretch – a steep slab of rock with limited holds

·         The Trough – a steep climb through a loose rock field, especially dangerous on crowded days due to falling rocks.

Panarama of Long's Peak and the continental divide in Rocky Mountain National Park as seen from deer ridge.

Frosty blasts of wind can hit climbers hard on this peak. Actually, blowing them off the side of the mountain. To avoid afternoon storms, climbers need to start on this peak as early as 2 or 3 AM. Also, the trail is steep, causing aches and pains in the knees. Climbers need to bring extra food and water, plus basic survival tools. It also a good idea to find out if you are susceptible to altitude sickness before getting too far along. The only cure is to get down fast. 

For their safety, climbers have to be ready to turn back at any time especially during sudden, drastic weather changes. However, for those who are prepared, the Keyhole Route on Longs Peak is a phenomenal adventure.

medallion at summit of Long's Peak

As I mentioned above, Long’s Peak plays a big part in the finale of The Last Enemy. As part of my research, the hubs and I climbed partway up the Peak, far enough to be impressed by those who climb the whole way to the summit. (We stopped because we weren’t prepared! I was wearing sandals!)

The Last Enemy is the second book I ever wrote (after The Spy Who Kissed Me) and was my first attempt at trying to write the romantic suspense/romantic thrillers that I loved to read. It remains one of my top-selling books twenty years later. 

It probably also set me on my multi-genre path, since it was such a departure from the over-the-top comedy of The Spy Who Kissed Me. But…

cover artI can close my eyes and remember how it felt to write The Last Enemy. I poured my heart onto the page, hoping against hope, that it would be the book to break me into publishing (traditional was the only option back then!). It did open a few doors for me and gave me the hope to keep going. And readers asked me about the other brothers and I ended up with my Lonesome Lawmen trilogy and a short story. 

The Last Enemy was important to me in one other way. It proved to me that writing a book wasn’t a fluke. I’d written another one and I could do it again.

I’ll be honest, every time I start a project, whether it is a short story, a novella or a novel, I wonder if this will be the time I won’t finish. This will be the time my process fails me. 

So far I’ve been wrong. I’m still writing. 

Anyway, if you read this far, thank you for sticking with me and my meanderings into the past. If you haven’t read The Last Enemy yet, and if you like classic romantic suspense, I hope you’ll check it out. It can be purchased as a standalone or you can get all the Lonesome Lawmen in one, cost-friendly bundle!

And if you’ve visited the Este Park/Rocky Mountain National Park area, what did you think? (I’ll bet you had more fun than my character in The Last Enemy! Lol)

Perilously yours,


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