Trip Start Jul 26, 2012
7Trip End Aug 06, 2012
Anyway, the drive to Leadville was beautiful. We had to take a detour as the road we would have used was closed due to a sink hole. Apparently it was built over an existing mine, and gravity finally had it's way. As anyone who took history in school knows, Leadville was teeming with miners back in the day. The most famous, or at least the one I remember, is Baby Doe's Matchless Mine.
Leadville itself is a quaint little town, with colorfully named shops such as "Sweet Betsy's from Pike" Cafe and Antiques
The route was along the old Denver, South Park & Pacific and Colorado & Southern lines to the Continental Divide. This is the same route people took back in the glory days of the 1800's, where a train trip to Denver, 100 miles, would take about four days. One of the more interesting sites was the headwaters of the Arkansas River. Here it is basically just a meandering stream. We enjoyed some beautiful panoramas and wonderfully cool temperatures. After about an hour those of us with our green wristbands hopped off the train for the wildflower tour. I wondered what they would do if you tried to join them and didn't have a designated wristband, as no one seemed too concerned with checking our arms.
So this was the part of the tour I was really looking forward too. I envisioned a meadow covered with wildflowers - a riot of color along a hillside
After returning to the train station and being greeted by a nice steady rain, we went to lunch at Callaway's, located in the historic Delaware Hotel. The hotel itself is a Victorian charmer dating back to 1886, and saw desperadoes such as Doc Holiday, the Unger Brothers and
Butch Cassidy. The hotel has been renovated by the owner - the oak
paneling, crystal chandeliers, and period antiques offer the
Victorian ambiance and charm of an era gone by. The lady at the reception desk even wore period clothing, complete with a broad red feathered hat. I was thrilled we had chosen this restaurant to dine in, otherwise we would have missed an amazing slice of history. The bonus - the food was great. Easily one of the best burgers we'd ever tasted.
On our way out of Leadville we made a detour to see Turquoise Lake - known not for it's color as I was hoping for, but rather for the turquoise that was mined in the area. Then it was back to Avon. As we were driving along the highway I looked up and saw the Leadville, Colorado & Southern RR making it's afternoon trip.