Part 13: Curtis Gulch, WY to Leadville, CO


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The Trip

Curtis Gulch was a great campsite as we were alone and the weather was kind.  We only spent one night and the following morning we headed out to points south.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

The campsite was basic in that it had no services, but it did have a flat parking area and a picnic table.  Above, Kathleen prepares breakfast.

To the east from the campsite was a huge rocky outcropping.

To the west was another large set of steep cliffs.

We rolled west then south through the valley and surprised this herd of 10 antelopes who were resting in the tall grass.

We traveled about 60 miles on the dirt trail to the asphalt and then headed into Laramie, WY for a resupply.  From Laramie we headed southwest into the mountains.  Kathleen wanted to see the Wyoming Infrared Observatory (WIRO) which was on top of a 9700 foot peak.  As we traveled up the rough dirt track to the telescope we could see thunderstorms dumping rain to the southwest.

From the peak we could see the rain lashing the hills below.

To the north it was still sunny.  The high vantage point allowed us to see a reservoir in the distance.

While the sign at the bottom of the mountain stated that visitors were welcome, there was no one there when we arrived.  The facility was rather "industrial", which was expected.

What was not expected, however, was having a bunch of cattle corraled next to precision, high-value electro-optical equipment.  I have no idea why the cattle were there except that the peak of the mountain was at 9700+ feet elevation so perhaps U of WY were using these cattle for experimental purposes.  Or, perhaps they were there to feed the astronomers.

The wide-angle view from the peak was breath-taking.

The rain finally stopped and gave us a nice rainbow.

From WIRO we traveled west into the mountains and found a campsite at Miller Lake.  Miller Lake, as it turns out, was an abandoned camp area next to a small pond.  We were alone at the camp but the weather turned cold so we retired to the camper.

From Miller Lake we traveled south into Colorado and south towards Steamboat Springs on US-40.  From the highway we could see huge rock outcroppings that towered over the valley.

This portion of US-40 was over 8,000 feet in altitude so the peaks to the east had to be at least 12,000 feet.  The valley was broad and fertile supporting a large number of hay farms.

Further south we came to Silverthorne.  This area has become quite "gentrified" since I lived in Colorado back in the '70s.  The photo above was taken while we were waiting for a traffic light.  Note the nice stone work on the bridge and the fly fisherman in the river.

Our destination for the night was Leadville, CO.  We followed CO-91 over Fremont Pass and saw the towering ridges to the east of the highway.

At the top of Fremont Pass we came upon the Climax Mine.  This facility is one of the largest molybdenum mines in the world and is at 11,000 feet.

This is a big facility, and interesting because it was started around the turn of the (other) century.  There is lots of expensive infrastructure at the top of the pass.

We came to Leadville to visit our friends Rachel and Jimmy.  Leadville is a quaint mining town turned tourist haven with plenty of interesting buildings from the late 1800's.  The building above was right across the street from our RV park.

Also across the street was one of the local watering holes.

Many of the buildings were quaint and interesting.

Rachel has her yoga studio in this historic building.

The building, like many in Leadville, is made of brick.

Mainstreet, Leadville, CO.

Note the architectural details in this building.

Even city hall is in a brick building.

A view looking down main street in Leadville.

I do not consider myself an architecture buff, but it is always pleasing to see old buildings that are well maintained.

Note the folks on the roof of the building.

Leadville is a nice place and worth a visit if you are in the area.  We visited the Mining Museum and it was world-class with great exhibits and a nice mineral display.  Leadville is popular with tourists so if you go during a weekend or a holiday, expect some contention for services like bars and restaurants.

Next, we head south and east toward Colorado Springs.

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