Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Colorado Trip-Part II

We've been busy tackling a redo of our home office space so I've been without a computer and Internet for a few days. Therefore, the lack of blog postings. But I will have some new projects to share including building and staining desks and a new paint color on the walls.

For now, I wanted to share the next installment of photos and stories from our grand trip around the lovely state of Colorado. After a couple of nights hanging out around Colorado Springs, it was time for the next leg of the trip. We left Colorado Springs and headed towards Leadville. The scenery along the way was just as gorgeous. I can only imagine the view from up in a hot-air balloon like those in the second photo.

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Hot air balloons

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We took a slight detour on the way to Leadville to visit the ghost town of St.Elmo. St. Elmo is one of the best preserved and most visited ghost towns in the state because it can be accessed by car, no 4-wheel drive required. The town is nestled near the Collegiate Peaks. The town boomed when silver was discovered in the area. Now there are many preserved buildings remaining and an operating general store. You can purchase sunflower seeds to feed to the chipmunks and squirrels that hang out around the area. They will eat right out of your hand. I didn't feed them, but I had fun taking pictures of their fun antics and watching some children feed them.

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Ben walking the streets of St.Elmo

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We stopped at rushing stream just off the road outside St.Elmo before continuing on to Leadville.

Stream near St. Elmo

Leadville is at an elevation of 10,152 ft. The Leaville Airport is the highest elevation airport in North America. The downtown is full of historic buidlings housing shops and restaurants. We stopped for lunch at the Delaware Hotel which continues to operate as a bed and breakfast. After lunch, we stopped for a quick visit to the Mining Museum and Hall of Fame.

Downtown Leadville

After the museum, it was time for a real wheeling adventure. Just outside of Leadville is rough road you can take over Mosquito Pass to Fairplay or Alma. The route passes the remains of numerous mining operations in the area. The views are so worth the rough ride.

Old mine buildings from 1800s and early 1900s.

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They aren't joking with this sign either. I think we went up the pass at about 4 mph.

They aren't kidding.

The road climbs higher and higher, and the views are breaktaking. If you are afraid of heights, this is not the route for you. Actually, Colorado is probably not the state you want to visit if you have a problem with heights and steep drop offs.

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Finally, we arrived at the summit. I don't know how they managed this route back in the 1800s, especially with snow. There were still some remains of ice and snow around during September.

Top of the pass, 13,000 ft.

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Time to continue on down the pass. The road wasn't any smoother, but the views were just as amazing.

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London Mine

An old tram ran from the mine to the mill.

We finally made it through to Alma and continued on past the lovely towns of Breckenridge, Frisco, and Dillon. So many cute towns all begging for an afternoon of exploring.

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