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Friday, July 9, 2021

Barstow Mining Ruins, and Flower Blooms In Spirit Basin


At over 11,200 feet, visiting the old Barstow Mine will certainly test the lungs of "flat-land" tourists. But it's worth every breath just to gaze upon immense piles of colorful tailings plastered against a sheer backdrop of green vegetation and mountaintops that soar into the heavenly blue skies of Southwest Colorado.  But wait, there's more! 

Another couple mile grunt up the old mining road beyond Barstow Mine will land you in Spirit Basin, well known for its magnificent wildflower displays. Wildflower season varies with moisture, but in general begins mid July and often sputters well into August. It's a popular hike, so go prepared to share it with others.

Barstow's main mineral was fluorite.  Interestingly, one of Barstow's mining shafts intersected with one of the Idarado Mine shafts that extended under-mountain all the way to Telluride where some of the miners lived. It was a long and mostly dark commute, but WWII military demands for fluorite kept the mine active well into the 1940's. 

Bluebells, after a mountain shower...

Crimson Paintbrush

Spirit Basin

"Hiker Babes" taking in the mountain majesty... 

and, contemplating the meaning of life

Columbine...a favorite as well as our State Flower (illegal to pick FYI)

Peace out,

Mark and Bobbie...and Ruthie :)


  1. Oh boy... I really felt the elevation in the Sawtooths getting to 9200ft. That's so high for us! Even at Rainier, it's rare to top out over 8000ft on any given trail unless you're summiting. I would need some days to adjust before getting up that high I think haha.

    1. I remember doing the circumferential trail around Rainier and was surprised how much lower timberline is there than here. Come on down...we will let you adjust slowly at your own pace :)
      Mark and Bobbie

  2. When I opened up the blog and saw the mine tailings, I thought Spirit Basin. Ding! Ding! Right! The wildflowers are looking pretty. Hope you get some nice rains to make them last a few weeks!

  3. The seasonal changes in the mountains are so short and sweet it seems to make the year go by so much faster, it's bad enough that we are halfway thru this year and it seems it's only just begun....next thing you know those Aspens will be turning and then it's Thanksgiving and soon Christmas, is it because we are older and the seasons are our big attention getters? I feel it must be. WHO PLANTED ALL THOSE LOVELY FLOWERS SO HIGH IN THEM MOUNTAINS? ☺️
    More Wild flowers please, not ready for another change of seasons just yet :)
    Was released from PT today but still nowhere near back to normal but at least I can walk normally once again and put on socks as before, now it's back to all the chores :(
    Stay Thirsty My Friends
    D & A


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