Victor Cripple Creek

20 10 2008

Once we reached about 10,000 feet elevation all of a sudden the terrain abruptly changed. I am not sure if this is altitude related or not, but the forest just gave way to a meadow. Webb pointed out that it reminded him a lot of Tennessee farms.

Victor, Colorado is a mining town of less than 500 residents currently. In the late 1800’s the town was booming with prospectors and miners. The history of the town is quite interesting, you can read more if you follow the link.  History of Victor, Colorado

This is a distant view of Victor, Colorado. The town sits below the tailings of a former large gold mine. This reminds me of mountain top removal mining in KY, the entire mountain in some areas seemed to be nothing but a pile of rubble, and often we know that these areas are poisoned with heavy metals and other waste from the gold mines. To continue the similarities the leftover rubble from the mines are often dumped into valley fills. Below is a photo of one of the mines near Victor and Cripple Creek.

Notice the similarities to Mountaintop Removal mining in Appalachia.

History of Cripple Creek Colorado

Cripple Creek, Colorado was once a city of 50,000 during the Gold Rush years. Now limited stakes gaming has been approved to bring in income to the region.  While in Cripple Creek Webb and I stopped into a little shop and noticed this extremely disturbing sign…

Since it was getting dark and late we decided to drive Northeast to Colorado Springs to access an actual paved highway. We came around the Western side of Pikes Peak through Woodland Park. Below is an image of Pikes Peak viewed from Woodland Park, Co.

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Miramont House

1 08 2008

Today we planned to go up to Colorado Springs to ride the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. The railway takes you to the summit of Pikes Peak. We got up at 8am (very early for us!!!) to travel to Colorado Springs to take this train.

At an altitude of 14,110 feet above sea level, Pikes Peak is the 31st highest peak out of 54 Colorado peaks. According to several people and websites consulted you can see for about 100 miles in all directions on a clear day.

An interesting tidbit about Pikes Peak that should appeal to Melody…

We owe the inspiration for the lyrics of the beloved song, “America the Beautiful ” to the stunning vistas from the summit of Pikes Peak. It was the summer of 1893, and Katharine Lee Bates, a professor of English at Wellesley College, was in Colorado Springs to teach a summer session at Colorado College. On July 22, Katharine, along with several others of the visiting faculty, took a trip in a carriage to the summit of Pikes Peak. Horses got them to the halfway point, and, as was customary, a team of mules finished the climb to the 14,110 foot summit. Because altitude sickness affected of one of the party, they only stayed on the summit a half hour, but the brief experience was enough inspire a poem.

Unfortunately when we arrived at the rail station the 10:40am trip was full, and so was the noon trip. Confused about why the train was so packed on a Thursday we realized that some people actually take vacations this time of year…so…defeated we left. On the way out we discovered the Miramont Castle… below there are a few pictures of this historic building. It looked so neat from the outside that we decided to check it out. It was only 6 bucks so we bought tickets and went along our way…

This is a picture of Miramont Castle in Manitou Springs, CO

This is a picture of Miramont Castle in Manitou Springs, CO

This castle built in the late 1800’s uses 9 different architectural styles. You can read more about it at Miramont.org . There are also several pictures of the interior all done in the Vicotrian style.

The Castle is built into the side of the mountain, with the front entrance on the first floor and the back entrance on the fourth floor.

The Castle is built into the side of the mountain, with the front entrance on the first floor and the back entrance on the fourth floor.

Although the interior of the house was not as thrilling as we’d hoped, and we were surrounded by a large group of children from the YMCA taking a tour. The interior of the house was pretty interesting…especially the fact that there were water fountains everywhere around the house, apparently to raise humidity levels and protect the antique furniture. Here are a few pictures taken after we left the castle and were walking around the garden.

This is Webb expressing his feelings about spending 6 dollars

This is Webb expressing his feelings about spending 6 dollars

I also expressed my feelings about the six dollar cover charge

I also expressed my feelings about the 6 dollar cover charge

However, all in all it was a bizarre and interesting experience… Next time though, we’re taking the train!!!