Boondocking - National Forest
The Mineral Belt Trail does a loop through the historical mining town of Leadville. It's a paved, high-elevation (over 10,000 feet) trail offers with amazing views of the Sawatch and Mosquito mountains. It winds through pine forests, aspen groves and meadows. The trail has access to the Leadville National Historic Landmark District and Leadville Mining District.
There are interpretive signs and markers along the way that tell the stories of the famous people who got rich off the mines. In winter the trail is groomed for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and winter biking.
As you go around the trail you can see many, many old mines. It blew us away just how many mines were up here in this one area. It's such an eerie place. You can walk around just about anywhere. Some areas are fenced off for safety as there are open mine shafts, collapsed and partially collapsed buildings and retention ponds full of dangerous chemical run-off.
There are some superfund cleanup sites here. Pretty but dangerous!
You do get beautiful views of Lake Turquoise down below. We are camped near the lake.
While doing some geocaching in the area, we came upon the remnants of an old building. Through the window you can see Turquoise Lake.
If you look closely, you can see Steve in the top of the window in red up the hillside.
I don't remember what these are called, but they hold different parts of the stone walls together.
The tailing piles can be very colorful.
I don't know how or why they got this checkerboard look to this pile of tailings.
Driving around some of the roads in this area there are numerous tracks for the mine carts.
It had been raining off and on most of the day. Good thing Steve checked this out before continuing up this dirt road as it was a very deep sink hole and the cliff side is very steep. If we continued to drive up with our heavy dually truck the road could've caved in. We decided to back down instead.
Driving back to town we found another cache in an old cemetery where one of Buffalo Bill Cody's pals is buried. He and a friend paid for the headstone. So much history in this town.
No more time left to do the tour, but we'll be bad another day. It's a huge museum.
I stopped in at the library to work on the blog. They kept some of the original furnishings. It's a gorgeous library. Loved all the leaded glass in the cabinets. What a nice place to work in.
There are so many cute and colorful Victorian homes in town. I wish I had gotten more pictures of them. They do an incredible job with the paint and detail work on them.
These poppies are planted in almost every yard.
We got back before the next thunderstorm rolled in. They've been a pretty daily occurrence in the late afternoons. This was the largest hail we've had. It made so much noise! I sat outside under the awning for a bit until the winds kicked up and I had to go inside #1 I needed to put the awning up and #2 the hail HURT! It was the size of my big toenail.
I didn't get the awning down quick enough and while it is tilted a bit so rain runs off without making a huge pocket of water, it was warm enough that it was sticking to it. I didn't notice that quick enough and next thing I heard a bad metal sound. The weight of the melting hail caved one of the awning arms down. Yikes! Awning damage is not cheap to fix. Steve came out and held up the awning while I got the auto button to bring it in. With a little adjustment and some WD-40, all is well. No permanent damage. Thank goodness!