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2013 – Silverdale Historic District

Up near Georgetown, there is an old Ghost Town know as Silverdale and we will spend most of the day exploring this area.

To begin with we catch a few signs at the parking area at the trail head…

Silverdale Interpretive SiteSilverdale Interpretive Site

Our first stop will be at the ruins of the Colorado Central Mill and we will also find a friend enjoying the quite morning up here in the mountains.  The mill stopped operating in the 1920’s.

Colorado Central MillDeer near Colorado Central Mill

The vast majoring of the trail we will be hiking is also old mining Railroad bed so you know I will be taking photos all along the route to document it and we will also find a few remnants along the way

Silverdale Mining RailroadSilverdale Mining Railroad

The trail dead-ends where the railroad would have crossed the creek as at a trestle is long since gone and then over another one yet

Silverdale Mining Railroad

We will double back and drive up the road to another trail head where we catch an old mining structure that would have been near where the railroad would have come after crossing the Leavenworth Creek.

Silverdale Mining Ruin

Above this location yet would have been Marshall Tunnel which today is no longer accessible…

Marshall Tunnel Marshall Tunnel

We will head into Georgetown and have lunch at the old Colorado Central Depot that was also used by the Georgetown Loop Railroad.

Colorado Central Depot - Georgetown, CO

Just would be right not to at least catch a photo of the train while in town…

Georgetown Loop Railroad

 

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2013 – Summer Vacation – Part 9B

Once we completed our drive over Kebler Pass we pass over McClure Pass; (8,755ft)

IMG_557939 07.733N 107 17.124W

Found Hays Creek Falls just outside Redstone, CO

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39 09.510N 107 15.065W

From there we head toward Independence Pass with a stop first at the old Ghost Town

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39 06.412N 106 36.200W

We pass over the Continental Divide at Independence Pass; 12,095ft

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39 06.499N 106 33.848W

Time for lunch and we stop at one of our mountain favorites, the Golden Burro Cafe in Leadville

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We will then head towards Copper Mountain via Fremont Pass 11,318ft

IMG_561539 22.105N 106 11.310W

Once we reach Interstate 70 we head for home; 1,889 miles later

 
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Posted by on 06/09/2013 in Trip Reports

 

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2012 – Fall Vacation – Part 4

It’s a new day and we make an early start to catch the Dillon Pinnacles in the Curecanti National Recreation Area from an overlook on US50 over the Blue Mesa Reservoir.  Here the is another sign called the Anatomy of a Mesa talking about this geologic formation.

The Blue Mesa Reservoir is very large and covered over made historical places including Sapinero, CO.  This town was once known as “Soap Creek” when it was formed by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad in 1881.  Today only the fish travel its streets below the water.

Our first hike of the day will be the Pine Creek Trail which is a Rail Trail of the D&RGW with the trail head being at 38 27.013N 107 20.715W.  The trail starts off with a lot of stairs to get you down from the parking lot on the canyon rim to where the railroad Right-of-Way is above water just below the Blue Mesa Dam spillway

Once down on the Right of Way, it is an easy level walk along the railroad grade.  This is also the way to get to the Boat Tour dock (Morrow Point Boat Tours) to tour Morrow Point Reservoir that Lisa and I did several years ago.  With the water levels here also down, the grade for the Denver & Rio Grande Western is above water well beyond the dock so we will take advantage of this and hike until the water levels finally get above the roadbed; I would say we got about 1.5 miles into the canyon before the water cut us off.

Denver and Rio Grande RailroadDenver and Rio Grande Railroad

Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad

While down of the D&RGW roadbed, I spotted a Weasel coming up from the water.  Only got a few shots before it was gone with this being the clearest shot

Pine Creek Trial

Also while on the grade, I would spot a few old Telegraph Polls.

Pine Creek Trial

After hiking back up the stairs, we drive over to the Blue Mesa Dam Overlook where you can also see the D&RGW roadbed that we were just hiking below.
Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad

A bit farther down the road, we reach a pull-off where we can get a nice view of the Curecanti Needle; which is also part of the D&RGW Railway logo.  Good thing we spotted this pull-off as the Overlook area was closed for maintenance.   Don’t look down from where we were if you are afraid of heights as you can tell from the photo Lisa took of me it’s straight down!

Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad

We will stop next at Hermit’s Rest Trail but only hike a small portion of the trail.  The trail will take you all the way down to the shoreline but we just wanted to take a few photographs from higher up.

As we turn get close to Crawfrod, CO, Needle Rock would come into view and though there is a bit of a haze from wildfires it was still worth taking a few shots.


At this point we turned off the highway to head for the less seen Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park North Rim.  Most folks tour this area from the South Rim which we will do on Day #5.  On this day (being already late in the day) we will make stops at Chasm View, The Narrows, Balanced Rock, Big Island, Island Peaks, and Kneeling Camel.  We will come back to do Explanation Point Day #7

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National ParkBlack Canyon of the Gunnison National ParkBlack Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National ParkBlack Canyon of the Gunnison National ParkBlack Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National ParkBlack Canyon of the Gunnison National ParkBlack Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National ParkBlack Canyon of the Gunnison National ParkBlack Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National ParkBlack Canyon of the Gunnison National ParkBlack Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National ParkBlack Canyon of the Gunnison National ParkBlack Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

As we head back out of the North Rim, I will stop for a few shots of the Aspen Colors in this area as well.

Time to drive to Grand Junction that we will us as our hotel base-camp for the next few days…

 
 

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2012 – Fall Vacation – Part 3

On our third day we plan a small morning hike in the Curecanti National Recreation Area at Neversink.  The trail was a bit in rough shape from erosion and fallen trees but it was still a nice level hike to get the day started.

National Recreation Area

Our next stop was at Wilson’s Landing in Curecanti the National Recreation Area.  You can kind of tell the water levels are low from the color of the rock that would normally be underwater.  The high water line you can see the clearest on the rock on the left side of the photo.  The gray color on the bottom half show where the water levels normally get too and you can see that gray color as you scan across the photo to the right.

National Recreation Area

To really see how low the water levels are is when we stopped at the Dry Creek boat ramp.  As you can see on our GPS we should be in the water.  The next photo shows our 4×4 at the bottom of the boat ramp sitting in the sand.  We have walked down from there to reach the current water levels.  Looking over the water you can see the rocks and the line where the water levels are at normally.  If you had been watching the news about all the Fires we had out this way because of drought conditions this should give you an idea how little water has falled in recent years

National Recreation Area

From there we planned another hike at the Dillon Pinnacles here in the Curecanti National Recreation Area.  I took a photo of the sign that explains how this geological formation occurred.  The best photos (to me) are from a distance as once you get closer you can see allot of details but cant see the entire structure.

We will stop for lunch at a picnic area in this same area.  Somewhere now underwater is a town know as Iola, CO that once was a stop for the railroad.  When the dam was built that town, railroad and bridges all went to their watery end.  I had hoped with the low water levels maybe something would be visible but no luck.  The weather was also turning on us.

It was the Denver & Rio Grande Western (Lake Fork Spur) that was once here so our next section of this days trip was to travel down the old Right-of-Way from the higher ground into the canyon that is now flooded by the dam.  Along the route there are various places to stop as well as information signs.  Ruins of the old Railroad Camps use to build the railroad here can still be found.  I will also take video while we drove the drivable sections to capture the route.

Also in this are where various small mines.  We spotted one that was gated took a photo through the gate

We will reach a dead-end soon afterwards and hike the old D&RGW route…

With the low water levels we hiked allot farther then planned because some of the old ROW is currently above water so we could go father then the map said we could.  As we got deeper in, dead tree logs that once were floating on the water are now scattered which made the hike more and more difficult.  We never did get to a point where the water once again covered to old roadbed of the railroad before we decided to turn back.  When hiking these old railroad location don’t forget to look up as often you will spot the old telegraph poles.

When we stopped by the Visitor Center earlier in the day a Ranger suggested scenic drive that is not commonly taken via Highway 149to see Aspen Colors and wonderful Mountain vistas.  He did us good as the drive was wonderful.  These photos I took near 38 10.847N / 107 17.396W based on the GPS we had with us.

Our travel took u also over what was called Soldier Summit (38 10.553 / 107 20.897W)

We would also find the Darrel Duncan Memorial Forest (38 15.290N / 107 22.002W) along this ranger suggested route.

Well, time to call it a day and head back for the hotel but will see more Aspen Color on our way back too…

 

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2012 – Fall Vacation – Part 2

For our second day of our Fall Vacation we will head back to Marshall Pass, this time in the opposite direction from the past trip.  Again, the Aspen Foliage is in it’s full Golden Colors as we make our way through the mountain valleys.

If you recall from my August 18th post (2012 – August Weekend Outing – Part 2) we video recorded Marshall Pass starting from Sargents, CO to US-285, and this trip we will go the other-way to capture the route heading towards Sargents, CO.  Reminder, this is D&RGW Right-of-Way ofn the days of Steam Engines and Narrow Gauge trains that we are recording.

As we travel back towards Gunnison, CO where we are staying again for this section of our journeys we pass by a property that had D&RGW MOW Car #04408 to find they have added another addition; D&RGW #5900.

Our next destination is to travel over Ohio Pass and as we start our journey we can see in the distance along with more great fall colors.

As we close in on our primary Denver, South Park, and Pacific Railroad location on Ohio Pass I will stop for another Mountain / Aspen Color shot.

The DSP&P Railway started to build Grade and Track from Gunnison, CO (which they reached in 1882) over Ohio Pass with plans to reach the Pacific Ocean.  Construction here ended in 1883 with the grade making over the top of Ohio Pass but track laying never reach there.  In building out the grade, the DSP&P had to build “The Great Rock Wall” which still stands today in it partially built along with some Rock Culverts.  The hike was a bit to rocky for us to take all the way for this trip but maybe I will get back here another day to photograph more of this section.

End of the Line

The Great Rock WallGrade - End of the Line

Grade - End of the LineGrade - Big Balloon Loop

While I walked a section of the Big Balloon Loop over the rocky grade, Lisa stayed back and took some great closeup Aspen shots as well as shots of Castle Mountain from this location.

Ohio PassOhio Pass

We will drive over Kebler Pass before heading to Lake Irwin to have lunch along the shoreline.

Our final stop on this day will be at the Jokerville Mine Memorial in Crested Butte, CO.  On January 24, 1884 a serious mine explosion killed several miners   Some of those killed are buried at this location as well.

Crested ButteCrested Butte

Lisa will also get some great shots of Crested Butte and the Aspens colors here too…

See, this is why Lisa doesn’t mind doing these historic railroad trips as we do travel through some wonderful areas with lots of geology and vista and being Fall, we also get great Leaf Peeper shots of the Aspens

 
 

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2012 – Fall Vacation – Part 1

On September 15th Lisa and I will take off for a nine (9) day outing that will contain a mixture of allot of the areas we enjoy and enjoy sharing with others such as yourself…

Our first stop is at as anytime we take this route out-of-town in makes for a good stopping point to stretch a bit. This is also a place where many come to Hike/Bike the Colorado Trail and during this time of year it is also a very nice place to take in the Aspen that were turning into the spectacular colors. Here is just one of many photos we would take to give you just a small hint as what the trail was like…

Aspen Colors

Our next stop will be in Como, Colorado to mainly get photographs of the hotel.  A little history might be in order as to how this has a railroad twist and hopefully I have the dates right; if not, I will correct.  The Denver, South Park and Pacific reach here in June 1879 and the Roundhouse built in 1881.  The Depot was built in 1879 and was later altered into a “L” shape and the depot today is under renovation.  The Original hotel (Gilman Depot Hotel) was built here and opened for business January 1, 1881, extended in March 1882, and taken over by Union Pacific in 1885.  Sadly in November 1896 that hotel was lost in a fire.  Here is an old photo of that hotel that is online at the The Narrow Gauge Circle website (http://www.narrowgauge.org/)

The new “South Park Hotel by the Railroad” (or also known as the “Eating House”) was built in 1897 and still stand today.  The DSP&P operated their last train here in April 1937 and the tracks removed a year later.  Here is one of the photos we took of this hotel on this day along with the Roundhouse and Depot…

Como ColoradoComo ColoradoComo Colorado

From here we head down the highway a bit father to Red Hill Pass where some of the old DSP&P route can still be seen.  The Aspen colors from here are also wonderful.  From here you can also see the “” where the old Denver, South Park and Hilltop Railway once operated that you can read more about in this blog from an earlier entry.

From here we will travel to the Fourmile Travel Management Area into an area known as Castle Gulch to view a rock formation know as The Castles.  This will be a Geology (Rock Shot) stop for mainly for Lisa but I do enjoy the geological stops as well; just don’t tell her that…

Fourmile Travel Management Area

From here we head into Buena Vista for several stops which will lead us to another place not on our original plans as we didn’t know it was there!  Our first planned stop is at the Buena Vista Heritage Museum where the Buena Vista Model Railroad Society was founded in February, 1984 until 2004.  Today the model is lightly maintained by the museum and the model is based on the “Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad,” “Denver, and Rio Grande Railroad” and “Colorado Midland Railroad” during the period of 1900 to 1920.

Buena Vista, ColoradoBuena Vista, COHO Scale

We head down the street a few blocks to the last remaining depot in Chaffee County.  We have taken photos of this depot before but every-time we were here it was closed.  This time we setup our schedule to be here when it was open and it was well worth it.  One artifact inside was the old D&RGW Depot’s desk that somehow survived and I also look a photo of a display that showed this depot being saved / moved to the location it is in today.

Buena Vista ColoradoDenver and Rio Grande Western Deport DeskDenver and Rio Grande Western Deport Desk

Now that we made it into the old DSP&P Depot we turn back to our search of the Colorado Midland Ticket office to get a photo for our records.

Buena Vista Colorado

A building that was not on list (since it wasn’t RR related) that I spotted I stopped to get a photo since it was also a nice old historic building from times long since gone by and it is a Depot; just a Stage Depot.

Buena Vista, CO

Our next structure we locate is the Denver and Rio Grande Western Hospital.  This is the second of the D&RGW Hospitals we have now tracked down that the railroad build to take care of their employees healthcare needs.

Buena Vista Colorado

Our final two planned stops took a bit of research to find as you would not know these were railroad related.  Both of these homes today were originally part of the Colorado Midland and were later moved and became private homes.  The first is the old Telegraph Office that is also known as the Key Hole house and the other is the Section House.  Both were moved to the same neighborhood in Buena Vista and today would just pass as homes and not historic railroad structures.

Buena Vista, COBuena Vista, CO

Now back to the “unplanned” stop; while at the old DSP&P Depot I ask where the old Colorado Midland Depot would have been located since the CM route was on the outside of town well above the town itself and then they would have a stage-coach that passengers from there.  This was not as good of a setup as the DSP&P nor the D&RGW but to get the train into town would have been costly for the CM.  Well, I got not only the location but told how to drive the old ROW to get to the original site as well as to remnants of a trestle.  Time to set up the Video camera to record that section of the grade and take photos!!!!  Here is a sample of some of the photos we took…

Buena Vista, COBuena Vista, CO

Buena Vista, COBuena Vista, CO

Well from here we are off to the Christmas 1806 site where Zebulon Pike stopped while surveying the  Louisiana Purchase. Not much to see put it’s still nice to stop to overlook where history occurred.  The sign itself was placed in 1964 and is still in good shape…

Zebulon Pike - Louisiana Purchase

As we head back towards our hotel in Gunnison, we stop for more Aspen GOLD shots as the trees are changing very nicely this year!

 
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Posted by on 09/15/2012 in World Tour

 

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2012 – August Weekend Outing – Part 3

On this day our primary goal is to reach the West Portal of the Alpine Tunnel and video record the trip up and back.  We will start our assault on this old Denver, South Park and Pacific railroad route up the narrow cliffs to the top of the Continental Divide from the town of Pitkin, CO where the old depot still survives

Pitkin, CO

The first half of the trip is not too tough and it’s also where the first Water Tank the Steam Engines used.  The 47,500 gallon “Midway Water Tank” has been mostly lost to time which is why we are trying to locate and photograph things.  Here is what is left…

Alpine Tunnel

As the climb gets steeper water tanks were needed more often.  The next water tank is at “Williams Gulch” (a.k.a. Tunnel Gulch Tank) which holds 33,000 gallons of water.  This one has been restored in 1965 with additional work down in 2010.  Keep in mind this was originally built-in 1885 in a harsh environment so the fact it’s in this top condition today speaks volumes to the restoration efforts.

Alpine Tunnel

Historically the next Water Tank was at Woodstock, CO.  On March 10, 1884 a massive avalanche swept down the mountainside wiping out the Tank, the Town, and killing 13 including an entire family of six.  The town and tank were never rebuilt but the old stone foundation can still be found.

Alpine Tunnel

When Woodstock was destroyed, the railroad facilities were rebuilt higher up the line in a new town called Sherrod in 1904.  Two years later the railway abandon the town and the depot that was once here was moved to Ohio City.  The Sherrod Loop can still be seen today where a portion of the track still can be found.

Alpine Tunnel

As we get closer to the top we reach an engineering marvel of a stone wall made without mortar.  It is over 100 years old and only a few stones have been displaced.  It’s 2′ wide, 33′ tall, and 452′ wide; it is known as the Palisades.  You can see from our photograph how the roadway has narrowed and you don’t want to make a driving mistake up here!

Alpine Tunnel

Once we near the summit, we must go the rest of the way by foot.  The ruins of the old railway facility can still be found here along with the restored Telegraph Office.

Alpine Tunnel

There was also a water tank that existed here and was later moved to Boreas Pass known as Bakers Tank.

Alpine Tunnel - Moved to Boroes Pass

When Lisa was taking photographs at this same spot she would catch a photo of “Pika” that now calls this place home.

Alpine Tunnel

The last train that passed through the West Portal was November 10, 1910 and in the winter of 1924 the rails were removed.  The tunnel entrances are now buried in rocks so all you can see today is just the top of the West Portal.  The interior of the tunnel is also partially collapsed…

Alpine Tunnel

After taking lots of photos and videos we head back down the same route taking video as we head back down to Pitkin.  This however is not the end of our day…

As we travel back towards Gunnison, CO where we are staying for this chapter of our journeys we pass by a property that has D&RGW MOW Car #04408.

MOW
After passing though Gunnison, CO many times and finding the Pioneer Museum closed for one reason or another or too short on time to visit, this time we planned our trip to tour the museum.

Part of the highlights here is “Cinderella” which is a 1882 Baldwin Steam Locomotive which is D&RGW #268 in its special paint Bumble Bee scheme.  There are several other freight cars, caboose, and a MOW equipment behind it as well.

Gunnison, CO

There are two railroad structures also here, and Water Tank and a Depot.  The depot is the D&RGW Sargents facility and the Water Tank is from Mears Junction that was on the est side of Marshall Pass.

Gunnison, CO

I will also get a couple of Railfan shots of boxcars located near Main and Iowa…

Gunnison, COGunniosn, CO

Another target on our search list is to find and photograph the D&RGW Combination Depot.  BTW, it’s “For Sale” when we were there…

Gunnison, CO

Our final structure we looked for on this day is the old Denver and Rio Grande Railroads Railway Express Agency which today is the Arts Center

Gunnison, CO

 
 

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2012 – August Weekend Outing – Part 2

It’s day two of our four day outing and we start our day in Sargents, CO where the D&RGW water tank still stands on private property.

Sargents, CO

This will also be our starting point over Marshall Pass where I will setup my new HD Video camera as a dashboard to capture the route of the D&RGW railroad.  We won’t be 100% of roadbed the entire route but most of it will be so the camera will catch what it was like to ride over this section of track.

We will stop at various spots along the way to search for a few remnants but the main objective is at the top of the pass where the old Turntable pit still can be seen.

 

Here is a shot of one of the D&RGW Bridge abutments that can still be found on the other side of the pass where the vehicle road is just beside the old roadbed.

Once on the other end of the pass we find we are just below another pass so we take a small detour to get to that summit.  Here is the sign at Poncha Pass where the Rio Grande River watershed is separated from the Arkansas River watershed…

From here we head to Saliad, CO to goto the museum there that we know also contains railroad history along with other great artifacts from this areas history.

Near by is the Visitor Center where we find a 0-4-0 Tank Steam Engine of unknown history

Salida, Colorado

Also here in town at the end of F Street is where the old depot once stood.  Looking right to the South East you can see the old Engine House when the D&RGW once was a major company here

Salida, Colorado

This building here is what remains today of the old D&RGW Hospital, yes, the railroad had it’s own medical facilities to take care of its employees and families in those days.

Salida, CO

Another building with railroad history here is the Manhattan Hotel.  In many cities the railroad also owned the local hotel where train passengers would stay at.  I do not know if that was the case here but Colorado Historical Society does state that D&RGW Passenger train passengers did use this hotel.

Salida, CO

While at the D&RGW hospital I spot a female deer and two fawns using the grounds like they owned the place.  They had little fear of me being within a few yards of them.  In fact, the female left one within 10 yards of me and then left to go get the other one she had stashed out of sight somewhere.  She was gone for about 10 minutes before she returned with the second one.

Salida, CO

Our next destination for the day was about 10 miles SE along US-50 where we would take a side road to get a close shot of one of the old railroad tunnel portals.  I would only get a shot of one side on this trip.

Wellsville, CO

Our final stop for this day would be in Smeltertown, CO where we find the old Ohio-Colorado Smelting and Refining Company smoke stack.  This remnant stands 365 feet tall so it is one heck of a historical landmark and in 1976, during the American Revolution Bicentennial, the smokestack was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as a “highly visible monument to the mining industry and its workers.”

Smeltertown, CO

 
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Posted by on 08/18/2012 in RRAdventures, World Tour

 

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2012 – July 4th Outing

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

 
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Posted by on 07/04/2012 in RRAdventures, Trip Reports

 

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2012 – Wichita Kansas – Part 1

We head to Wichita Kansas to attend my nieces college graduation and add some time before/after to make a mini vacation out of it.

Well our flight out turned out to be a Turbo-Prop but at least we sat far enough back to be away from most the noise.

We get in to our hotel close to midnight and then get up early to start our next RRAdventures of 2012 by heading for Hutchinson, Kansas to track down some depots; including the Arkansas Valley Interurban Depot.

From there we head for Fort Larned National Historic Site near Larned, KS

We then head down the road a bit to the Santa Fe Trail Center that has lots of historical stuff but not as much on the Santa Fe Trail as we had hoped but still very much worth the stop; especially since they have a depot there!  The depot is from Frizell, KS and is AT&SF

With the major outside activities done (to avoid the heat) we head back into Larned itself to track down another depot

From there we head for Pawnee Rock, KS to track down their historical depot

Our next stop in Pawnee Rock is Pawnee Rock itself which was a geologic structure that mark the midpoint of the Santa Fe Trail.  We also find a lone grave to Nehemiah Carson (PVT Mexican War) who died here from an unknown illness.

We don’t have much time left but we quickly pass through Great Bend, KS to track down AT&SF Steam Engine #3416

Time to head back to Wichita, Kansas to call it a night

 

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