My curiosity got the best of of me. Due to a ski instructor clinic, I found myself in Breckenridge today, and decided to make a pilgrimage to see him. I got some information from a friend about the trail to take, and headed up Wellington Road.
When I pulled into the parking area, I heaved a sigh of dismay. A sawhorse blocked access to the trail with a big sign, “Trail Closed, Due to Restoration.” Nooooooo. For a moment, I contemplated just sneaking around the sawhorse. Looking at several residential homes nearby, I rethought the idea. As I climbed back in my car, I saw a police car nearby. Good thing, I decided against it. Still, I felt bummed. Breckenridge is a 2-hour drive from Nederland — who knew when I would ever get out here again?
Then I remembered I’d picked up a map from the visitors center along with the trail description. The Wellington Trail was listed as 1.8 miles one way. There must be a another way to get into the trail. I still had hope of seeing the troll!
After examining my map, I realized there was another entrance to the trail and drove up the road. Not sure if this in fact would lead to the troll, my fears were quickly assuaged. A sign stood at the start of the trail saying, “This way to the Troll”. At first, I didn’t see anyone else and again doubted whether I was headed in the right direction. But then another sign appeared.
As more and more people appeared, I knew I must be close. Then as I rounded the corner, I spied the tip of his head, bristly twigs protruding towards the sky, making up his “troll” hair. Coming upon him, at least a dozen people snapped photos and admired this fantastical piece of forest art. Wood made up the entire Troll from head to wooden toes. Smaller types of wood overlapped his torso, looking like small shake shingles on a house.
But his hands truly captivated me. Blocks of wood made up the digits of his fingers, and rocks had been carefully placed at the end, giving him sturdy fingernails. The whole scene seemed magical, like something out of a Harry Potter novel. The setting was perfect — Isaak Heartstone troll sitting among the rocks and trees with the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains looming above.
I would never have known about this ethereal work of art had it not been for public radio. What I love about Colorado Public Radio is they feature lesser known stories about things that don’t normally qualify as “news.” During one of these segments, I heard about the troll. Or perhaps I should say the controversy about the troll.
The troll was created by a Danish artist, Thomas Danbo, of all natural materials for the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts in August. The design of all natural materials would allow the troll to eventually decompose back into the forest, or so he conceived.
However, the troll is not quite in the middle of nowhere. Breckenridge, Colorado is a popular resort town, and has a lot of new homes built outside the main town. Because of this, the Wellington Trail and Isaak Heartstone is within a stone’s throw of new residential homes. Apparently, these home owners are not too happy with the many people like me going to see the troll and asked that he be removed.
After considering taking him down or moving him, town staff voted this week to keep the troll for now. But between the snows of winter and ornery home owners, he may not last long.
If the troll really does need to be moved, maybe we could bring him to Nederland. Our quirky, laid-back town would be the perfect spot for him to call home.