Along Bear Lake Road
Longs Peak Hallett Peak
Many Parks Curve (40 23.267N 105 37.954W)
Longs Peak Moraine Park
Forest Canyon Overlook
Hayden Spire Terra Tomah
As mentioned in the previous post the other part of the second half of the day was a roadside geology tour. In this post I will show you some of the photos from those stops.
Stop #1: Glacial Till – Terminal Moraine (40 24.113N 105 36.289W)
Stop #2 – Sheep Lakes – Kettles (40 24.271N 105 37.120W)
Stop #3: Horseshoe Park – Ypsilon Mnt. – U Shape Valley
Stop #4 – <Nothing found>
Stop #5 – Many Parks Curve – Long’s Peak
Stop #6 – Rainbow Curve / Pika (Animal)
Stop #7 – Forest Canyon Overlook Terra Tomah Mtn
On on second day we head into an area know as Bear Lake and with our early morning start we catch one of the reasons for this name…
We will reach the trail head at ~7:30AM and take the left path where most that travel here go right to Bear Lake itself and then turn back.
Our first planned photo stop is Nymph Lake which takes us about 20 minute to reach since do stop to enjoy the views and take photos along the way,
About an hour into our morning hike, we reach a point on this path where you can split off toward Lake Haiyaha as well as Bear Lake but we are not headed toward either on this hike.
We will reach Dream Lake a few minutes later…
Onto Emerald Lake next which puts us about 2 hours into the hike now. Yea, a slow pace but we enjoy the journey as much as the destination…
Time to head back but we will also enjoy the hike down as well as the light change changes the views. So, here we are back at Dream Lake around 10AM.
Around 10:30 we get back to Nymph Lake
We are back to the Trail Head at 10:45 and the parking lot is “Packed”; sure glad we started early.
Now you might ask what views between the lakes was there to see; who about this one…
Time to go enjoy more of the park in others areas which will be covered in our next post…
To complete the day we still need to get down from the pass; especially with the clouds rolling in…
Spot some wildlife just off the roadway but no good place to stop so a shot out the window and keep going…
Time to stop at an Overlook and enjoy some of the views of the park…
As we get to the lower altitudes we get into Moose territory and bingo we see one…
We reach the point along the route were we cross over the Continental Divide at 10,759ft above Sea Level
Just enough time left in the day for a short hike along the Ute Trail…
Day one over but we still have two more days to share with you still to come…
As we continued our drive on Old Fall River Road, we will enjoy nearly every turn-out we find and then some…
Find another local going about it’s daily tasks as if not to care we were taking photos…
We then reach the top of Trail Ridge behind the Store and Cafe at an elevation of 11,796 feet…
Well, we are at the top so it’s Lunch and then more stops along the way down but that’s the next post…
On August 18 we head to our “Back Yard” to enjoy a mini three (3) day vacation in Estes Park
We will head into the park via US 34 in the Big Thompson Canyon and stop to take some photos along the way. One of those stops is at the Big Thompson Canyon Flood Memorial located at 40 25.787N 105 18.956W.
They Gave Their Lives To Save The Lives Of Others
The Night Of July 31, 1976 When More Than 140 Persons
Died In The Great Flash Flood of Big Thompson Canyon.
After entering the park, we will take the “Old Fall River Road” which today is a One-Way route with wonderful views all along the route. Here is just a small sample of the beautiful scenes long the initial section plus a friend we found at one stop.
We will reach Chapin Pass at 40 26.089N 105 43.821W with an elevation of ~11,000 feet. Here too we see another friend in the distance enjoy the morning sun on a rock face…
We will continue on up the road in the next post…
Our last day of this trip is all about taken a Scenic Drive taking in the Rocky Mountains. As we leave Gunnison, CO we head up Hwy 135 towards Crested Butte, It’s June and there is still snow in the high mountains ahead of us.
Once pass Crested Butte, we take Gunnison County 12 to Kebler Pass where we will also catch one of the residents of the high mountains taking a break catching some morning sunshine.
As we pass County 12E, we catch this view of Ruby Peak
As we pass over a bridge we stop to enjoy this view below
We catch this view of East Beckwith Mountain a bit farther down the road
We make a stop near Road #706 to read about a trail head here (Lost Lake)
Here is a shot we took of Marcellina Mountain
We catch another view of East Beckwith Mountain as well
For the July 4th holiday Lisa and I decide to skip the traditional activities and head up high into the mountains and when I say high I’m talking over 12,000 feet for a portion of the trip and above 11,000 for other portions.
But, before we get deep into the mountains, we stop back at Bailey, CO to the park and get photos of what I thought was an old RR Wait Station on June 2nd. After taking a few photos and doing some research since we got back, sure enough it is. The below structure is actually what is left of the Glenisle, CO and Grousemont, CO RR Wait Stations that were identical in construction. Both were in such bad shape that to save them they took what was restore-able from both to make a single structure as it looked at both Glenisle and Grousemont.
From there we stop at the top of Kenosha Pass (9,997ft) for a quick break to stretch the legs. I took a quick shot of the reconstructed Wye that sits at the top of the pass since it was easy to see from the highway given the light.
Our primary travel goal of the day is to take three (3) Auto Tours around Alma, CO (Highest Incorporated Municipality in the US at 10,578ft) but nearly all the Tour Auto Signage was getting replaced so it made it tough to know when we reach each place along the tour guide. We started off on the Placer Valley Auto Tour – (Fairplay to Alma) but didn’t find much to take photos of.
We then cut over to the Buckskin Gulch Historic Auto Tour and our first major stop on that route was the old town cemetery that is still used today by Alma. There are many different headstones from days of old and the guide pointed out one related to Thomas Faley that we were able to track down. There were also many military graves here that someone took the time to place a US Flag next to for the holiday (Thank You!) one that was even listed as a Civil War veteran. Here is a photo of Thomas Faley headstone as well as Daniel M Clack of the 2nd Colorado Calvary.
From here we head up higher and find the Hungry Five Mine clinging to the side of the mountain. Don’t be fouled by the telephoto angle, it’s a long way down to the valley floor!!!
We next spot the Paris Mine which too is hanging off the steep side of the same ridge. Here you can better tell that just below the mine is a vertical rock face that drops and drops and drops some more
On our side of the mountain valley is the Paris Mill that Ore was carried down to via cables. You can tell this historic building is being somewhat taken care of for younger generations to see some day…
We will now reach a turn-off to head up towards Windy Ridge but before we get up there we will find what little is left of the Mineral Park Mine. You can start to tell from this photo that we are nearly at tree line…
We will reach the Bristlecone Pine Scenic Area that was been nearly untouched by logging or mining so these trees here are very old and you can tell what this is called Windy Ridge from their shape. At this point we are also at 11,719ft when we start hiking. From here you can also see Alma far below us…
We turn back down from here to the turn off to head back up towards Kite Lake. At this point we are just below three mountain peak that are above 14,000ft that many hikes come here to hike up. If you are going to take those hikes start really early as you do NOT want to be this high when the afternoon lightning storms hit and have no cover so you become the Lightning Rode. Many a hikers die from lightning at these altitudes.
On the way back down we stop to take a photo of one of the local that call this place home. Nice of him to pose for a few shots. Don’t be fouled by his cute looks, this is one tough / mean critter that rules at this altitude.
From here we will head all the way back down to Fairplay, CO (9,953ft) to have lunch at the Brown Burro which is one of our favorite places to eat in this area.
After a wonderful meal we head out for the third Auto Tour; the Horseshoe / Fourmile Historic Auto Tour. As we turn onto County Road 18 from US285 we are now on the old Denver, South Park and Hilltop Railway grade that serviced the mines / mills of what was Leavick, CO. This railroad hauled the our down to the Denver, South Park, and Pacific that would later become part of the Colorado and Southern Railroad. I believe the DSP&H was a bit over 11 miles in length as it headed up the gulch to the old mining town of Leavick.
On the way up, we will pass the old Mudsill Mill that is in need of some TLC or will be lost to time soon. Yes, that is a For Sale sign and there is a fair amount of acreage that comes with the sale…
We will go as far as motorized travel is allowed which is still well below the mine that you can hike up too. We are at 12,061 ft when we park and get out. It’s starting to Rain and clouds are moving in so it’s time to get down of these high mountain trails. Looking back down the road you can see part of the DSP&H roadway we just travel over to get up here. Yes, there are no trees up at this level so we are the lightning rods right now so down we go.
Part way down now below timber line we pull in to the Limber Grove Trail. Part of the trail crosses over the gulch and I notice the heavy timbers are being supported from below are railroad ties, have I found some small part of the DSP&H still here?
Time to head back towards Alma to track down and photograph the old Alma Junction depot. The first time we looked for it we missed it (in plain sight) and after re-reviewing some old photos we realized the back of the depot was to the road and thus mistook it earlier for one of the cabins. (GPS 39°16’11.52″N / 106° 3’10.18″W). This depot too needs some serious restoration $$$ to save it.
We have one more stop to make of this chapter, we head for Breckenridge, CO. You might recall that Colorado and Southern Steam Engine #9 was restored to operations, placed into service on the Georgetown Loop and quickly was broken from over usage. Well, it’s new home is in Breckenridge where it is once again a static display.
It’s getting late and I do have to still work for a living so it’s time to head home. We will stop in Idaho Springs for diner at one of our favorite places there (Buffalo Bar) and then head the rest of the way home. Not a bad One-Day vacation and a way to celebrate July 4th by visiting various historical places and saying Thank You to a few war vets from conflicts of long ago at the Buckskin Gulch Cemetery…
Dinner Idaho Springs
Lisa and I went out on July 31st to track down more RR Stations that we have not photographed with a long list still to go.
On this day we will add to our photograph inventory the following locations in Colorado
After we left Sedalia and heading towards Palmer Lake we came across a couple of strange cows in a field and when I say strange I mean Camels! Not something you expect to find in Colorado but yet here they were…
During on travels we passed under the Rio Grande Bridge at Monument, CO as a BNSF Coal Train passed by. Time to stop for a few shots
We would then send some time at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry which also has some nice RR equipment there related to the Mining Industry; one they enjoy running up and down a small section of track.
Our last stop of the day would be in Colorado Springs at the Pikes Peak Municipal Street Railway (they seem to go by various names here) which also has lots of other RR equipment around. The highlight here is a ride on one of their operational Trolleys.
The next day we spent out on the Sea of Cortez looking at various rock formations and wildlife; mainly birds. It’s amazing when you look at some of these rocks from Google Earth that they appear completely “White” from all the “Bird Poop” and can be seen from extremely high altitude because they are so reflective.
In the photograph below there was a HUGE nest of the Great Blue Heron; yes right in the middle of that cactus plant.