Recollections from trips/tours I've been to the Cripple Creek area:
My husband and I left my friends place - Mark - at around 1100 on Thursday the 17th of June and drove south towards Colorado Springs (CS).
We stopped for an hour or so at the Western Museum of Mining & Industry at an old farm a little north of Colorado Springs city.
It was a nice stop, met a very friendly man that I'm real sorry I don't remember the name off, but he told us a few things and gave me a list over things that have happen in the Cripple Creek area over the years - THANKS!
He and my husband talked some geology, and if we had more time we would have stayed longer and probably chatted even more.
But, as it was, we just took a quick look around inside - found a panorama picture of Victor I've never seen before that I wished I could have gotten a copy off, but I never asked so...
Also took some pictures on the outside of the mill they had - looked great as a way to get some textures for my modeling project. Tore also took some pictures for our photo albums.
And yes, I/we bought some more books...
Then, we left the place as it got more darken outside and wind was picking up. Had some food at a Wendy's along Garden of the Gods Rd in CS - and not long after we came there it started to rain outside, it really poured down!
Since it was getting late, around 1500 I think we would just take the US24 up Ute Pass and go to Cripple Creek from Divide - had it been before 1200 I think we would have either gone down south to Florence and taken the Phantom Canyon up, or at least the Gold Camp Road from CS.
But, as it now was late, we took the fastest road - with a detour into Manitou Springs and the Depot for the cog rail up to Pikes Peak, as I had hoped to meet a guy there called Mel McFarland. Unfortunately he was not there that day - but that was okay as I met him on Sunday instead after I had talked to him on the phone a couple of times. Real nice and wonderful man!
It was just that as long as we passed by, and Tore suggested we go up and look if he was there, and we had some time that we did it.
Anyway, we soon left for Cripple Creek again, weather was not great, but rain had mostly gone and as we got up to Woodland Park it cleared up and sun came and we could see the sky become blue again.
A lot had changed since we passed by this area 3 years ago - at least that was what we felt passing by lots and lots of build up areas along the way to Divide where we left US24 for a trip along CO67 down to the Cripple Creek District.
We had gotten our self a room at the Last Dollar Inn, unfortunately my worst fear was met and even more when we saw the room we where to be in for the next 3 or 4 nights!
The room it self was very nice, I sort of liked it, but it was just to damn small for us two. It had a bed, and a couple of other things including a toilet and small shower - but no place to put my computer or hardly our bags/luggage, so the trip looked to be a little less fun then what I had hoped for.
But, I wanted to give it a try, Tore felt real sorry and bad for it - but hey, it was my idea to stay at this B&B so I will deal with it.
Being Thursday night we where the only guests, all the others wouldn't show up before the weekend, and we got the chance to look at some of the other rooms. Two rooms we liked good, both had a view out front over the city of Cripple Creek, one was upstairs the other downstairs - and when we learned that the room downstairs had just gotten a cancellation we sort of just decided that hey, the space here is great, got a desk for the computer, no stairs to climb, a Jacuzzi in the bathroom - who cares if it is double the price, we take it!
We had a great stay here, and we would like to thank Janice & Rick for a lovely time her, good stories and facts about the area - and would love to come back if we can make it!!
I even found a picture in a frame of my most favorite building, the Economic Gold Extraction Mill in their giftshop - had been found in the house when they bought it!! Wow, of course I just had to buy it, $50 for it was a real bargain I've been told afterwards!!
It was just an add from an old newspaper or so, but it was so clear I could make out things I hadn't seen before even if I have this picture already.
Only sad thing was that it had a tear and some missing "info" of the ground in the fold - but all the important stuff is there!
Just hope I can scan it without destroying it - it is after all most like 99 years old dating from 1905. Rick even wrapped it up and packed it in real good for our flight back to Europe - thanks Rick!!
It now hangs on our wall in our upstairs hallway.
I also got another picture of the Economic in a frame, that one I got from Mike Hurtt that I met with that weekend. It was a real nice gift, and I really appreciate it Mike! Thanks!
He, and the others (3 more, a girl/lady named Lori that came with Mike, and a couple out of Grand Junction) + of course Tore - got to see for them self how crazy I am when I first get started.
Saturday we first took a trip with the NG train again from Cripple Creek to Anaconda so I could get my film from the trip back to Cripple Creek, then we needed to go look for batteries for our camera in the gift shops along Bennet avenue.
I used the time to get some pictures of the fronts of old buildings that seamed correct for my timeframe along 1 block of Bennet Avenue + a few more along Bennet.
If that didn't scare my company off, after lunch and as soon as Tore and I had found some batteries at the Ace Hardware store (and a couple of more rolls of film) we met up with Mike and Lori(?) to do some exploring of the District.
Mike had told me that he was to my disposal, so he and Lori came with us in our rented Blazer for a trip to what was just suppose to be American Eagle overlook...
It was just it took us about 3-4 hours to get there, and normally it would have taken us about 30-40minute or so...
It was just that first I wanted a look up at Hoosier Pass - was a quick look that day - but next day I was back... Then, Mike told me about a mine in the forest a little back down on the east side of the hill from Hoosier, but we had a big problem finding it again - was walking all over the place before he finely spotted it again - quite a while from where the car was parked...
And, of course, the mining company was working around it, so we had no access to it and could just barely see the backside of it through the trees...
After getting back to the car we drove down the hill some more before another stop - this time so Mike & Lori could show me the old bear cages from the Pinnacle Zoo and a mine close to it.
That was fun, seeing the cages I just had heard/read about before - and the mine, unfortunately it was quite barely hanging on so I guess it will soon fall over and be gone...
From what I understood Lori & Mike had seen it in better shape, but still leaning.
A little later we moved further down the hillside, suddenly we could see a roadbed coming in on our left side - next day I conformed it for my self that it was the roadbed for the Midland Terminal (MT) coming up from the Camaron/Grassy site towards Bull Hill - and that the road we was driving on is mostly on the old roadbed for the Short Line (CS&CCD).
On top of Bull Hill we took a road in towards the Vindicator Mine - and it's trail system there. Suddenly I knew I was on more of the roadbed belonging to the Short Line because suddenly there was a cut on my right side and a fill on my left side - this was the spot where the High Line (Trolley) came in from the top of the hills and turned 180 degrees and continued down to Goldfield/Victor on the Short Line trackage, cool!
I was in heaven, sort of - one of my questions got answered. After seeing how all my hope of finding anything of the site of the Economic Mill had faded because of the road realignment and big fill where it should have been - I could at least find something of the things I had been wondering about.
And, something I knew about. Mike was talking about the mines and such - I don't have much knowledge about them, where they where, the names and such - but the railroads and their roadbed, that I seam to know quite well thanks to Trainz!
Anyway, got my self some pictures, film and wanted to go around the Vindicator site to see if I could find the whole circle the Short Line had done here (okay, not a circle, more like 270 degrees or something), but it got lost thanks to some dirt fills, private property; keep out signs and fences...
But, I spent at least 1 hour here, maybe up to two - didn't check my clock - just wandering around on the trail within distance of maybe 1km - not following the trail down the hill. Taking pictures with my digital camera for textures, taking pictures with our analogue camera (6 rolls of film I think it came to) and film some with our digital video camera so I sort of have lots of footage from the scene just around the Vindicator Mine.
Finely, we could go down the valley - as in drive down - through Goldfield and into Victor and then head up to the American Eagle Overlook.
Road had changed in the 3 years since we was up here - back then you could come down to Bull Hill, no it was just from Victor, we even crossed the big roads for those heavy dumpers they use in the active open pit mine they utilize to get the gold out of this place.
I was both tired, happy and sort of feeling bad for both Tore and Mike/Lori for have putted them into a long waiting while I was "running" around the upper part of Vindicator Trail so I never used my video camera on the trip up to American Eagle.
Which I now regret very much - as the only memory I have left of that trip up there is a few pictures around the mine site - had to save them as I was out of film for the camera... - and what still is stuck in my head.
That evening I took advantage of that Jacuzzi...
Next day I had hoped to start real early and go down Phantom Canyon before meeting Mel in Manitou Springs around 1230 - but we never made it.
Tore seamed very tired of me and Cripple Creek - and we had a slow morning with stories around the breakfast table from Rick and so on.
Had to go down Ute Pass on US24 again...
And up again - my mood was now real bad, got rain while in Woodland Park and I saw they I would have no time to get both Phantom Canyon and Gold Camp, and they both was very important for me on this trip.
When we came back to the District I drove up to Hoosier Pass and got my self some pictures of the Hoosier Mine that was leaning heavily up there...
Called Mike, they where then down in Florence and was about to come back up Phantom Canyon (they never done that before either) so I got sort of real pissed and more or less started down on Gold Camp with a slight hope of being able to make it up Phantom Canyon...
But, with a stop down in the valley where Cameron/Grassy used to be to get the traces of the old "Y" for the Short Line and a few other rail things there it was clearly not working out.
In the end we made the part of the trip down to Cathedral Park and tunnel #9 - Tore drove and I filmed the trip and asked for stops in the cuttings along the way when I felt a need for it in order get hopefully good samples of rock textures.
It was a nice Sunday afternoon, weather was good - and therefore we met quite many cars - not like when we came up this road a little over 3 years ago in march 2001.
Coming back into the District again I used quite a lot of time around Goldfield and Victor trying to get as much pictures and film as I could since my time now was almost over with us leaving the next morning...
Met up with Mike at the evening for dinner, as we had every night since Friday - and after words he came our room and had a look at what I had done in Trainz.
Of course the computer wasn't quite happy with running Trainz, and I haven't had so much else then track done - but it gave him an idea how it was - and I think he liked it, he said so at least.
Tore promised me a trip down to Gold Coin in Victor and then Phantom Canyon on our way back to Golden and Mark - but when Monday morning came we found the by then common morning fog and not a very healthy husband of mine - he was very sick that morning.
So, after breakfast I had Tore laying down relaxing on the bed while I took the car down to the museum - was to cold (7 degree Celsius), and time was important to walk - and took more pictures and looked at the ore cars around there in hope finding one matching some pictures I have...
No luck in matching, but I got at least a film or two out of it...
Back in the B&B I found Tore waiting, a little better - but not much. After freezing my hands off in Victor knowing that Phantom Canyon was a "goner" I spend much time taking pictures of what's left of the Gold Coin before drawing up one of the ore cars near the city hall.
Also took a ride along the streets and found the shop I bought my printed Sanborn Maps from - The Victor Trading Co. & Manufacturing Works.
Of course I wanted a trip in there - and I also had a short trip into the City Hall and the visitors center there to see if I found some nice pictures + a quick trip into the Lowell Thomas and Victor Museum where I discovered some magazines I just had bought from someone at eBay for a cheap price! Got my self 2 I didn't have - but was sort of mad I had bid on something I could have gotten here...
Tore got even worst, and we left the area a little over 1300 just as the rain was sort of starting. Found something in the backyard to the museum in Victor, but didn't have more time left so it must be until next time.
Had some problem with a dog that jumped into the driver's seat and didn't wanna go out again - sort of, I want to go with you, find my self a good home, life here is awful...
Really felt for the dog, but Tore was getting frustrated and real sick - so I had to throw him/her out - real bad for me.
As we got into Gillett the rain hit us, fog had already been over us as we drove into Goldfield and over Victor Pass - and when we came near the old Midland Terminal tunnel - now closed off - along CO67 it started to snow...
Temperature dropped to 1 degree Celsius as we passed Midland and while driving towards Divide I actually drove in a small snow storm and it was about 2-3cm of snow on the road!
21 June, the longest day of the year - and it snows!!
It was cool, it was scary, it was fun, it was not fun - whatever it was, it was an experience I never suspected would happen me in Colorado mid June!!
Not even in north Norway had Tore experience weather like this. Later it turned into rain as we passed Divide/Woodland Park and then it rained all the way up to southern Denver where it cleared up and we got sun the rest of the way to the hills above Golden/Denver where we stayed with Mark for the night.
Next morning, we left for Denver airport and headed home - with only 26 films in a bag, about 4 hour of video - 1 hour Georgetown Loop, rest Cripple Creek area...
So, that was my Cripple Creek experience for this time - third time I was here - next time, we do it first and not last of the vacation trip, and, during the week, not the weekend since people come up for gambling and Cripple Creek was not that fun with all that people around messing up my pictures...