Lake Mead N.R.A.

Lake Mead N.R.A.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

St. Elmo, A Mining Ghost Town REDUX and Hanging with Friends

July 12, 2011 Valley Mobile RV Park.
Saturday the 9th, a young friend, Nicki D. whom we had met as an intern at the Bill William's River National Wildlife Refuge came over to visit with us for the weekend. She has been working nearby in the Gunnison, Co. area doing hydrology work. We had all bonded instantly when we met at the NWR and we all stayed in touch through this blog and FaceBook.We were thrilled to see her and have her stay with us over the weekend. 
Saturday afternoon, we took a trip in the Jeep up Mt. Princeton to the old mining town of St. Elmo. On the way up we stopped for a picnic lunch and to remove the Jeep tops.
Nicki D. and Joyce
Nicki D. and Me
The weather was cooperating but threatening to rain as we reached the old mining town of St. Elmo. Joyce and I had visited last year but were pleased to take Nicki to St. Elmo.
St. Elmo
Joyce and Nicki D. outside a St. Elmo Home
St. Elmo is a ghost town in Chaffee CountyColoradoUnited States. Founded in 1880, St. Elmo lies in the heart of the Sawatch Range, 20 miles southwest of Buena Vista. Nearly 2,000 people settled in this town when mining for gold and silver became evident. The mining industry started to decline in the early 1920s, and in 1922 the train discontinued service. The community is listed on the National Register of Historic Places asSt. Elmo Historic District. It is one of Colorado's most preserved ghost towns.

After leaving St. Elmo we decided to take a side trip to the Iron City Cemetery. It's an interesting cemetery in that it is the final resting place for many of the folks who once lived in St. Elmo and the Iron City an old smelter and mining town. A sign at the entrance lists the names of the deceased and the cause of death for some of the folks.
We left the cemetery as the clouds continued to gather above us and continued down the road which we were told was the old stagecoach route and suitable for 4wd high clearance vehicles. We didn't get far before we pulled off at an abandoned old building and put the tops back on the Jeep as it was raining pretty hard. While putting on the tops we saw a pick-up followed by a sedan go down the road ahead of us. We got back on the old stagecoach road and continued down the now very wet and rocky road.  We were surprised to see that the car was able to negotiate precariously down the road over large rocks and wet conditions. I'm sure he was scrapping the bottom of his car and wishing he hadn't followed his friend. I say they were friends because both vehicles had Florida tags. However, they were already committed as there wasn't any place to turn around. I'm just glad they didn't get stuck in front of us!
After only a few miles we made it back to the main road and continued down the mountain and back home.
Later we all went to EddyLine for Pizza in Buena Vista and met up with one of Nicki's college girlfriends, Lizzy who happened to be living in BV and working as a rafting guide. Lizzy gave us a walking tour of downtown after dinner before saying goodnight.
When we got back home to the RV we all watched a movie before calling it a night. We've never had a guest sleep over. We blew up the air mattress that fits on the couch and made the bed. Nicki got set up in the bed but it wasn't long before Rico jumped into the bed with her. Rico had quickly become very fond of Nicki!
The next morning we awoke slightly chilled. We discovered Nicki on the air mattress under two blankets wearing her jacket and hoodie! We didn't realize we had all gone to bed with most of the windows open and the temps were in the 50's by morning! We felt bad for Nicki who insisted she was fine and that Rico helped keep her warm. 
That morning we went for a hike on the Barbara Whipple Trail in BV and again met up with Lizzy on the trail. Unfortunately I forgot to take the camera. We had a great hike enjoying the vistas and gorgeous weather. Afterwards we again said good-byes to Lizzy and the three of us went for brunch at the Evergreen in BV.
After getting back home to the RV it wasn't long before Nicki had to say good-bye and head home over Cottonwood Pass. Before Nicki departed we learned that some "on the road friends" of ours asked us to stop by for a visit in Gunnison when we leave BV. So with no real hard plans we decided to move to Gunnison Co. when we depart here Thursday. So, we will probably see Nicki again soon.
Monday, Joyce and I took a trip to Salida, Co. and walked downtown and along the Arkansas River before doing some shopping at Walmart.
Today, our former neighbors in Florida, Dean and Billie Techlenberg met us at our campsite. We had visited with them last year at their home in Hartsel, Co. Together we went to lunch in town and spent the afternoon catching up. It was an enjoyable visit.
It's been fun meeting up with friends here in beautiful Buena Vista. It's has rained every afternoon since we arrived on Thursday. But the sight of the clouds rolling in over the mountains is gorgeous and the rain keeps it cool. Gotta love the Rockies!

1 comment:

  1. How nice that you got to mee up with so many of your friends... Sounds like a really great day! We went to Fat Belly's in White Springs yesterday. It was great!!!
    Have fun & Travel safe