Liz’s painting of the Gore Mountains, Colorado
If you are lucky to get to know Liz Schoeberlein and visit her cozy Colorado home, you are treated to walls filled with beautiful landscape paintings. Her use of bright cheerful colors and the inclusion of curious children – her own when they were young – demand smiles from all who visit. Liz doesn’t spend as much time in the wilderness as she used to, but she continues to bring the outdoors into her home through painting.
Liz’s love for the outdoors started during World War II in a cabin perched 9,000 feet high in the Colorado mountains. “My great grandmother and grandmother bought an old broken down miner’s cabin in Ward, Colorado in 1911 and would spend summers up there with my mom, aunt and uncle,” explains Liz. “The cabin had no electricity or running water, but they’d spend three months of the year up there to escape the heat.”
Andrew’s Glacier, Colorado
When Liz’s father was sent overseas to England during World War II, her mother decided to come back to the cabin during the summers of 1944 and 1945, this time with her four children, her sister-in-law and her three kids, plus two cousins from Chicago. Liz was only 10 at the time and laughs heartily as she recalls those fateful summers. “There were 11 of us in that three room cabin, two adults and nine kids from age two to 15. There was nobody up on that mountain and we just wandered all over the place. We all fell in love with Colorado that summer.”
Liz and her three children on a summer visit to their cabin in Ward, Colorado in 1960. Liz’s son and daughter still visit the family cabin regularly and bring their own grandchildren.
Liz moved to Colorado permanently in 1958 and became an art professor, but she always found time to explore the outdoors, spending much of her time kayaking, canoeing and later on, rafting. She is proud to say she rowed the Grand Canyon twice, as well as numerous other rivers throughout Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah.
When her college closed, she earned a master’s degree in social work and went to work for a local mental health center. It was here she found a unique way to blend her professional life with her love of the outdoors – as an instructor for Outward Bound. “I would take my clients, many of them victims of abuse, on a four-day wilderness course, and it was amazing to see what happened,” she explains. “These people didn’t trust anything, including themselves, they had no confidence. But in the wilderness they felt success. I could see it immediately. It was quite remarkable.”
In her free time, she continued to explore the west, seeking out rivers, mountains and forests from Utah to Washington and everything in between. It’s important to Liz that she pass on her sense of adventure to the generations that follow her, not just because it’s fun, but because it makes them better people. So when her three children were old enough, she made sure they were included in many of her adventures.
Liz painted this exquisite image of her children playing at the base of a tree trunk in 1969
“My kids are much stronger and more resilient and more in touch with themselves because they got to do so many outdoor things,” says Liz. “And my grandkids feel comfortable in the outdoors as well, which is not true of a lot of people their age.”
It’s difficult for Liz to recall a favorite memory of her adventures, since her life has been full of them – like the time she came face to face with a berry-eating bear in Glacier National Park, or when she was stuck on a high mountain trail waiting for a mountain goat to let her pass by, but her paintings tell some of her stories. If only the walls in that three room cabin high up in the Colorado mountains could talk…
Why Liz Schoeberlein Supports the Trust
Liz stands in front of a large landscape she painted of the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park, Texas.
Liz Schoeberlein has been a supporter since 2004 when she was introduced to the Trust by a family friend. Liz says it’s critical to preserve public access to our nation’s wilderness areas.
“I think wilderness lands are very precious. I want to save them and not let them become and inaccessible,” says Liz.
Sign up to receive more stories like this.