Sunday, August 12, 2018

Twin Lakes Adventures!

As a kid back in the late 60s, our family and 2 other families of aunts, uncles and cousins would hitch up the Oldsmobiles and the Mobile Scout and Shasta trailers and head west.  I remember one time stopping at Twin Lakes and just being in awe of how beautiful it was.  So when our kids were very young, we stopped by to check it out for a couple of nights and ended up staying a week before we had to head back to work.  It's been a good 25 years since we have been back through to camp.  Twin Lakes is about 95 miles from where we are in South Fork.  We decided to pull out the motorhome for this trip as the elevation is around 9500' plus and they tend to have rainshowers in the afternoon.  We found a great spot at the Lakeview Campground. And believe it or not this was our first time in the motorhome to be unplugged from everything. So we were interested in seeing how that would work, too.  (Wow.....the icemaker made ice, we could watch TV without using a generator, use the coffee pot.......)
Notice the front tires in the air!
With only 2 nights in front of us, we quickly got set up and headed for Leadville where we were going to go jeeping to Hagerman Pass.  Turquoise Reservoir is the focal point for many recreational activities here.  There are also 2 sealed historical railroad tunnels on the trip. The road was pretty wash boarded and I had to close my eyes and look the other way on some of the rocky and washed out areas of the road.

The Hagerman Tunnel was completed in 1886 and connected Colorado Springs to Aspen.  The railroad was the first standard gauge railroad to cross the Continental Divide. 
Turquoise Reservoir

The fireweed up here would indicate summer is about over!

The sealed Carlton Tunnel

A rocky trail going up.

And that evening, sure enough, you can hear thunder and rain and sleet on the motorhome.  Perfect!

One of the things that has been on my bucket list was to paddle across twin lakes to the ghost resort of Interlaken.  The next morning we got up, it was calm and clear, the perfect opportunity for paddling.

Isn't this reflection stunning?

Our destination, Inter-Laken

Leadville’s growth during the 1880s along with the new route to Aspen over Independence Pass created an opportunity to build a resort on the south shore of the lower lake. This south shore resort complex was built over several years, beginning in 1880.  By 1887 it included the Inter-Laken Hotel, a dance pavilion, a fancy stable for riding horses and a billiards hall.  Behind the hotel’s six rooms was a unique, six-sided, circular outhouse, with each stall numbered the same as the hotel rooms. Yes, apparently you could even get a little privacy for your “morning constitution” in those days.

Dexter's Cabin built in 1895.

Can't get enough of the scenery!  Due to the drought you can't paddle through to the other lake.
The resort was placed on the National Historic Register in 1974.  Plans to transform the derelict structures into an interpretive site for the National Forest Service began. First thing they had to do was move the buildings 150 feet up. Their restoration is impressive.  If you don't want to paddle over, you can drive and then hike in.

Clear Creek is a beautiful drainage that contained seven mining camps in the early 1880s, beginning at the confluence with the Arkansas River and stretching all the way to the headwaters of Clear Creek. Today, only the towns of Vicksburg and Winfield have buildings that are left. They are privately owned and in good repair.
What a huge beaver dam!

Cabin on the drive over to Vicksburg

Vicksburg was established in 1880 and quickly grew to about 250 folks and 40 buildings.  By 1885 the town was deserted.

This building has a solar panel on top. They periodically open it as a museum.

Winfield sprung up in 1880 to support the nearby silver and copper mines, although the first cabin was built as early as 1861.  It’s heyday was in 1890 and there were between 1200-1500 people.  However, with only 3 saloons, the size may have been less.  Due to the harsh winters, Winfield shut down during this period and people over-wintered in Vicksburg or lower elevations.


Some short folks lived in these cabins!


A memorial for a Life Flight crew

Well that ends our Twin Lakes adventure for now!  So much more to come back and re-visit and see and do.  Oh, I did go with a bunch of ladies to the casino outside of Durango.  I did good!

Until next time! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

If "Old Yeller" Could Write a Story

We headed out on a cloudy, cool Tuesday morning for Rat Creek and Willow Creek.  To get there, you drive to Creede where we unloaded the UTV's and the ATV "Old Yeller" that we would be driving for the day.
There's Old Yeller!
Rat Creek and Willow Creek are 4-wheel drive roads off of Bachelor Loop.  The scenery and views are outstanding. We like being on the ATV - nothing blocks your views. It wasn't dusty today either which always makes life better!

Calvin - what a gem of a guy!

Looking forward to fall with the aspen trees turning.

There's our road!

So sad to see what the beetle kill has done to the pine trees.

We had a large group of riders today.

Beautiful flowers

Ron and Walter in deep discussion.

Huge beaver dam
We made it to the summit!  I think the elevation was over 12,000'. Hard to breathe, a little chilly, but WOW!  What a view it was!  A great place for a picnic lunch!

Standing on the edge!

I do get scared of heights!

Now, as I understand the story about Old Yeller, who is about 18 years old, he's done more trails than any other ATV or UTV anywhere, and he ends up costing most folks a lot of money. You see, they like him so much they decide to go out and buy their own.  He's been rolled a time or two. For all of his wear and tear he is still in the best of shape. As we are leaving the summit, the road ahead of us has a few "bad and treacherous" spots.  No biggie I say to myself.  We're the last in the long line. Ron leaves plenty of space between us and the folks in front.  When it's our turn Old Yeller starts the climb down slowly. I am hanging on tight to Ron.  And oh my!  The UTV in front of us is stopped. They are enjoying the beautiful scenery. So what happens next is that Ron applies Old Yeller's brakes which lock up and we start sliding down. We start hollering (me screaming most likely) for them to Go! Go! Go!  (The scenery is just fantastic!)  So as we are sliding down and tipping heavily to the left I am having flashbacks to our daughter Liz and her golf cart accident where she put her foot out to try to stop it from laying over.  My sweet hubs I see is doing the same thing, but I guess his tree trunk legs are stout enough to save us.  The UTV in front of us hears us hollering and moves on so we don't crash into them. We end up slip sliding slowly down and life is good.  So good that I get off and walk the rest of the way down.  I am dizzy from the lack of breathing.  And Old Yeller has one more story to tell.
What you can see here is that I'm not on there and what you can't see is there's a really deep patch of road. He can navigate better without me on the back. Wish I would have caught the picture as the back tires are in the air!

Marmots enjoying the sun

This looks easy but it was another stretch of trail best done without me on the back. Thanks David and Barbara for letting me hitch a ride!

Stopped at an old mine.

Decided it was a core sample.

All the lady riders

All the men drivers, including Old Yeller!

And we made it back, all in one piece and no broke foot or legs!
Our next day we took a jeep ride by ourselves on a road outside of South Fork. Destination Cathedral Campground.  The drive took us alongside Embargo Creek and we found the campground to be perfect for us!  We decided to bring the tent back tomorrow and stay the night by the creek.  As we left we took a fork in the road that wound up taking us up a beautiful pass!  The views allowed us to see Del Norte from way up there.
Embargo Creek

Beautiful flowers

One of the biggest antelopes I've seen

Beautiful views


We came back the next day with the tent and set up camp.  So peaceful. I had it on the agenda to do a little hiking, but the elevation was around 10,000' and we huffed and puffed just walking around the campground!  We really enjoyed hearing the creek and napping in the hammocks and listening to the birds.
Perfect spot to sit and relax!

Nap time!

Happy spot!

Perfect way to end the day!
Back at the park we did a few more fun things!  One of the guests, Marie, is a talented artist and loves to share her gift.  About a dozen of us gathered to do a little painting. It was fun!
JoAnn and Rhonda

JoyceAnn and Barbara
South Fork had their Logger Days Festival this past weekend.  The festival was held right by the RV Park. Saturday morning they started their chain saws up for all the activities.  Yep that noise got a little old after 2 days.  There were various competitions.  Lots of craft booths.  A lot of preparation went into this festival.  See those 6 trees that were replanted?  That was a lot of work to only have them cut down again.
I guess you have to be a logger to know what to do on this obstacle course.

The last competition was cutting down a tree and making it land on a full beer can.

One contestant made it.
And then there was a rodeo that night, which is also located by the RV Park.  I do like small town rodeos!

And last but not least, both of our grandkids had birthdays over the weekend!  There's one day a year that they are both the same age.
Happy 7th birthday Lucy!

Happy 8th birthday Aiden!!  He always gets a donut cake for breakfast on his special day!
Until the next adventure......