Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Vacation: River and an Abandoned Mining Town

Update: hey, the mining town was easy to find.  It's Gilman, Colorado.  Toxic lead and zinc, but soon to be fabulous skiing and mountain living.

Don't tell me you didn't know it was coming.  Until there was legalized recreational drugs, what was there to take pictures of other than mountains and rivers?  And the legalized recreational drug pictures seem to be an Instagram thing, so go track down the millennials with a serious preoccupation with strains there.

We spent the day driving up from Colorado Springs sort of taking back roads in the mountains, driving around near Vail and Breckenridge.  On this side of things it was sunny.  When we went through the tunnel at the top of the mountain the rain kicked in.  I was disappointed I didn't have a bicycle in Vail despite the rain.  Neat trail down the mountain.  There were some people riding, but it looked hit or miss when it came to getting very very wet.

A mountain river.  It is illegal to pan for gold here.  If I hadn't been told, it wouldn't have occurred to me that was an option.

Jen hanging out by the river with those other side of the mountain cloud lurking in the background.

I'm not sure what she's up to, but she better watch out for rogue beaver, or muskrat, or whatever lives in that lodge behind her.

Most of the river bank looked undermined by some sort of critter although we didn't see them swimming about.

Closer to Vail we passed this abandoned mining town.  There are 2,800 abandoned mines with over 10,000 entrances, many of them leaching heavy metal tailings into the water table.  That doesn't include places like there where people just packed up and left behind all those structures to deteriorate on the land.

It's eerie, and while I was standing there on the opposite side collecting trash for Litterati, it made me realize that all the trash I ever pick up in my entire life probably doesn't equate to a single house left behind to rot on this mountain.

Another photo of the abandoned houses.  It was interesting to see the different sizes.  It made me think of my classes at Hamline in immigration where we read a book about how the house sizes increased as you went up the mountain, the richer overseers living near the top, physically above their underlings.

Even halfway down what's almost a cliff of loose tailings and trees someone found time to do some vandalizing.

In Minnesota you see people throwing their grass leavings over the back edge of their property in much the same way.  Stinkier, but it also doesn't create a tree-free dead zone.

Panorama view.  Here's a link to the 2048 if you like to scroll.

I don't follow signs so well.  I'm mining for natural resources.  Booger nuggets.  In my defense, there's no vehicle up there.

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