Son, Caleb, and Dotter-in-law, Kelli, showed up with Arianna a couple of weeks ago. Bobbie and I were introduced to Arianna last September (2016) when she arrived in Lovely Ouray to attend Caleb and Kelli's wedding. Kelli met Arianna when she ran off to live in Denmark to test the waters of freedom, and they've maintained a friendship ever since.
Given that Arianna just stepped off an exhausting flight from Europe, that her internal clock was confused, and that she lives at sea level, I thought a short hike at 10,000 feet would be plenty to start off with. Hey, she's young and fit!
We piled into Sue Bee and took The Million Dollar Highway south out of Lovely Ouray. Just beyond Crystal Lake, we stopped to hike through the old mining ghost town of Ironton.
Sometime around 1879, prospectors found worthy deposits of gold, lead, silver and copper near Ironton. In 1881 a miner by the name of John Robinson founded the fabulously rich Yankee Girl and Guston mines just above the relatively flat Ironton Park.
|Yankee Girl Mine|
|The Million Dollar Highway. You are in big trouble if something spooks the horses here...or if you meet someone coming the other direction.|
Today Ironton is a true ghost town, but a hardy few people maintained residence there as late as 1960, before giving in to the elements and poverty.
Ironton photos from the late 1800's...
Below are winter photos from previous excursions through Ironton with normal amounts of snow...
Here is what it looked like on our visit in a couple weeks ago
Needless to say, we didn't need snowshoes...
From Ironton, we hiked up to the old Colorado Boy mine-head. Arianna seemed to be doing pretty good, for a "flatlander."
|Colorado Boy Mine|
From Colorado Boy, we ascended another shady mile or two up to an old suspended bridge that now hangs by a thread. The photo below is from a previous year when there was snow. You can see the old walkway hanging from a single cable. As well as a shortcut for miners to cross the chasm, the swinging bridge served as a support for a needed waterline.
Below is this year's photograph. Hard to believe it's late December...
Above you can see remnants of the old waterline. It's made out of wood, believe it or not, sort of like the way whiskey barrels are made by abutting tapered staves cut to fit into a circular vessel. The pipe was then wrapped with spring wire to hold it together, as opposed to metal circular bands on barrels. Once the pipe is wetted, the wood pipe staves swell against each other and makes a water tight fit. But talk about labor intensive. There are miles and miles of these pipes all over Ouray County.
After making our way back to the car, Arianna was up for something in the sun. Caleb suggested climbing Red Mountain 3, as the approach is south facing and it should be doable. That hike starts at 11,000 feet and goes to just shy of 13,000. Arianna is willing, says she'll give a go. I warn her about Altitude Sickness and all the symptoms, and that if she feels any one of them we need to get down.
|Arianna, Blissfully unaware of the magnitude of the destination behind her.|
Caleb and Kelli are first to summit. A stunning day with a stunning view. And, NO WIND!
|Kelli jumps for joy!|
|Buddies Kelli and Arianna...|
|Mr and Mrs Guide Noir|
Happy New Year to all of the BCB Audience!!!
We wish you all the best year yet.
And to Arianna: You rocked Colorado!
mark and bobbie... still recuperating in Lovely Ouray :).