Who the heck was Benson?

Have you ever driven by a place named for someone or some thing that you know nothing about, and wondered the history behind the place? That’s happened to me over the course of this week. Julie’s Deck, Fred’s Lunch, Red and White Mountain Road, Benson’s Cabin. Some are pretty obvious, some are less so. For example, Red and White Mountain Road’s path takes it right next to, you guessed it, Red and White Mountain. On the other hand, on Monday we drove the full length of Muddy Pass Road, and nowhere along the route did I see anything that resembled a muddy pass. Oh, there was a pass all right, but it was in a place that seemed to me that it wouldn’t ever be very muddy. Some places give you the history. Julie’s Deck had a history of Julie, including the foundation that she helped start, complete with cartoon furry animals. On the other hand, some times all you have to go on is a name and a bunch of logs piled on top of each other.

That’s Benson’s Cabin Road, a four-wheel drive road off of Shrine Pass Road, near Vail. It’s named for a small structure that sits very near the road, a shell of a cabin that was built who knows when. Actually, it’s two cabins, and they seemed to be pretty badly constructed. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of the cabins, they just weren’t that pretty. But the name and location caught my attention. Someone built a cabin at 9,000 feet, in a “valley” that is off the beaten path. On the drive, we didn’t see any other cabins or dwellings, and the nearest town, Redcliff, is seven or eight miles away. The cabin would probably be a great spot during the summer, but in winter? The cabin would be snowed in for sure.

It made me wonder who Benson is/was, and why he built his cabin in such a strange place. Why did Benson live so far away from everything else? Was he even real? Why were his cabin construction skills so bad? These are the questions that I pondered on that day.

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