Aug 2006 Photo Trip Part II - Colorado and Back Home to Oregon
Posted 10 November 2006 - 04:02 AM
After an exhausting schedule of driving and photographing towns in Montana and South Dakota, I was excited to get back to my old stomping grounds in Colorado. I stopped in Boulder to stay with some friends and then headed to Central City to start yet another round of mining town photography.
Central City is one of the most historically significant mining towns in the West and one of the best preserved. There are hundreds of beautiful old commercial buildings and victorian homes, all built on narrow streets situated in Gregory Gulch. Central City, and nearby Blackhawk less than a mile away, have legalized gambling to revitalize the local economy.
Blackhawk is an interesting place. A lack of historical designation protections has resulted in much of the old town being torn down or moved to make way for massive casinos. It's a strange sight to see a tiny old victorian house sandwiched between huge casinos and hotels.
I camped at the Columbine Camp Ground outside of Central City. The CG was nice and 12 bucks a night
Central City at Western Mining History
Photo: Central City
Posted 10 November 2006 - 04:28 PM
At Idaho Springs, I stopped and toured the Argo Gold Mill which was very interesting. The mill processed ore that came out of the 4.5 mile long Argo Tunnel, which took 17 years to build and extends all the way from Central City to Idaho Springs. What men will do for gold.....
Idaho Springs at Western Mining History
Photo: Argo Gold Mill
Posted 10 November 2006 - 04:58 PM
Headed west on 70 and stopped in Silver Plume for some photos. Silver Plume is a rustic old mining town with dirt streets and buildings of varying degrees of upkeep. It's a neat place - well worth a stop if you are passing through on 70. There is a fantastic bakery on the main street (not sure of the street name).
Next I drove to Breckenridge and up Boreas Pass to camp at Selkirk Campground. Today is the day that I realized that the pace and workload of this trip was wearing me (and my wallet) out. I decided to cut out New Mexico and Arizona and head home after my Colorado travels were finished.
Georgetown Colorado at Western Mining History
Silver Plume Colorado at Western Mining History
Photo: Georgetown Colorado
Posted 10 November 2006 - 05:37 PM
But alas, my luck started to return. Woke up to improved weather. Mysteriously, my laptop started working again. With the help of a local camera store, I got my camera working again. Back in business! Took some photos of Breckenridge and hit the road again - destination Cripple Creek.
Colorado has had a VERY wet summer. The regular rains resulted in fields of green grasses and wild flowers in the middle of the summer, where usually there would just be fields of dry grass. The scenery was spectacular. I took highway 9 east and then took county roads from Guffey to Cripple Creek. These county roads are well maintained and don't get a lot of traffic.
As I approached Cripple Creek I started seeing signs of yet another problem - bikers everywhere. Another biker rally! These ralleys cause two problems for me - it's hard to properly photograph a town when there are thousands of bikers, event tents, and everything else that is involved in these events, and the thousands of bikers occupy every campground and hotel within miles of town. I managed to get a handful of photos in Cripple Creek before more nasty weather moved in and cut my day short. The nearby town of Victor is also an important mining town but I could find nowhere to stay in the area so I decided to hit the road and return to the Cripple Creek district on a future trip.
That was it - all this hard luck could only mean one thing. I need some R&R in my favorite mountain town - Lake City! Back on the road! I decided to take an alternate route to Lake City and took 114 south to FS KK-14 for a long drive through the mountains on beautiful gravel roads. Camped at the side of KK-14.
Breckenridge, Colorado at Western Mining History
Cripple Creek, Colorado at Western Mining History
Photos: Breckenridge Colorado; Cripple Creek Colorado
Posted 11 November 2006 - 04:34 AM
Photos: Lake City - first photo courtesy of Hall Realty
Posted 11 November 2006 - 05:05 AM
The Crystal River Valley is an amazing place. The fascinating history of Marble, the quaint and peaceful former company town of Redstone, and the unique natural beauty of the area (even by Colorado standards), make this valley one of Colorados best destinations. I hope to spend a few weeks camping here at some point.
Onward to Glenwood Springs where I stayed at the historic Colorado Hotel.
Photo: Marble Colorado
Posted 11 November 2006 - 06:12 PM
I decided I would start in the direction of home and hit Dinosaur National Monument on the way. The map shows a long road into the monument so I skipped the visitor and drove the 50 miles into the monument expecting to find dinosaurs. I was exasperated to find that there aren't actually any dinosaurs in this part of the monument. Actually there really isn't anything except for some canyonland views. I wrote more about this experience in the journal part of the site (see link below).
Drove west and got a hotel in Park City.
Aspen Colorado at Western Mining History
Dinosaur National Monument
Photo: Dinosaur National Monument...... Sans Dinosaurs
Posted 11 November 2006 - 06:23 PM
I left Park City about noon to start the EXCRUCIATING drive from Salt Lake City to Boise. This five hour drive through barren plains and treeless hills is usually against the wind the entire time. I burned about $100 in gas just to get to Boise - OUCH! I've done this particular drive more times than I can count and it sucks worse every time. I need to move out of Oregon just so that my trip home can be on a different route than the Salt Lake-Boise March of Pain. The one redeeming part of this drive is that it ends in Boise. Boise is a nice city - easily accessible downtown from the interstate, well planned, low traffic and great restaurants. I stopped for Egyptian food before proceeding across the border into Oregon. Camped just off of highway 26 in NE Oregon.
Park City Utah at Western Mining History
Posted 11 November 2006 - 06:34 PM
I had been anxious to get home over the last few days but now as I sit in the parking lot of the Blue Basin Trail, soaking up some sun and enjoying a brewski, I some trepidations about finishing the trip. It has often been a difficult trip due to the rigid photography schedule, the sometimes bad weather, and some equipment problems, but the bad was far outweighed by the great experiences of life on the road. The Western United States is a vast and fascinating place, full of mystery and adventure. Reluctantly I finish the drive home, and as I pull into town I am already planning the next trip into the great unkown.
John Day Fossil Beds
Photo: John Day Fossil Beds - Blue Basin