It seems that we only hear about the mountains in Colorado, but before we got to them, coming from the east, we drove through more plains. Getting ever more hilly, and we were aware we were climbing much of the time, but the terrain was so very familiar.
The skies on the other hands…………..
Those clouds did not lessen our enjoyment of the drive and the terrain at all, we just simply enjoyed the shapes and the movement and the fluffy cotton candy beauty.
As I said, we were climbing, and watched the temperature dropping as we drove (not a lot, just enough to make us more comfortable and able to turn off the AC). One sign of a country that gets cold and lots and lots of snow, were the snow fences – and then we saw living snow fences. What a great idea!
Ever onward and upward, we arrived at Denver, the Mile High City. We thought we’d see the Rockies by then, but
for a while they were just a dim outline behind the Denver skyline. Haze or smog – we didn’t know, found out later that it was smoke, from forest fires far away.
As we got closer, the mountains of course got clearer. We passed ski runs, and saw signs of fast-approaching fall, much earlier at these altitudes than we see at home at sea level.
We arrived at Leadville, a town established with the Gold Rush in 1860, which was visited by both Doc Holliday (of Wyatt Earp/Dodge City fame) and Buffalo Bill, and is the home town of the real Unsinkable Molly Brown. It is now a National Historic Site.
We took a stroll around town, and saw signs of some rejuvenation happening with paint and lots of color, but also see preservation of the old buildings
And as high as we were (over 10,000 feet), there were still higher mountains:
The next day we drove through Vail – a town at this time of year of endless chalets, condos, and lodges just waiting for the skiers to arrive.
The scenery made us feel like we must be in an old western movie or a Louis L’Amour novel
– and then we saw:
That’s right – a real cowboy!
At one rest stop, we learned the story of a train robbery:
June 7, 1804, as a train pulled in to Parachute, CO a gunman jumped aboard and forced the engineer to continue three miles down the line, where two more outlaws also boarded the train. The three outlaws forced their way into the baggage car, and blew open the safe which was supposed to hold gold. It’s not known if they actually got any gold, as it’s believed the shipment may have been sent on an earlier train.
The three gunmen fled across the Colorado River, to where their horses were hidden, and continued on the run stealing horses as they went. They were pursued by a posse of lawmen and local ranchers.
The posse caught up with the outlaws twice, exchanging gunfire both times. The first time, the outlaws escaped unharmed. The second time, after a volley, an outlaw was heard to say, ‘I’m hit and I’m going to finish the job.’ After one last shot…..silence.
When the posse approached, they found one man dead with two bullet wounds, one to the chest, one to the head which was clearly self-inflicted. Three horses had also succumbed in the fight, but the other two outlaws had escaped on foot.
The dead man was Harvey Logan, Kid Curry, a member of the Hole in the Wall Gang (of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid fame). The other two were never identified. And the gold….nobody knows!
At another rest stop, we watched river rafters:
As we approached the Utah state line, we came across the lush green of orchards and vineyards – wine country – but only on one side of the road.
To the left: To the right:
A country of many faces and adventures!
Happy adventures! Blessings, Peg