Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tuesday August 3, 2010-Garden of the Gods Campground

Here we are, getting ready to leave on another narrow-gauge railroad ride around the Cripple Creek Colorado area. As soon as this man, the conductor, gets aboard, we will leave.
The town of Cripple Creek. We were told that less than 2000 live here now, but around the turn of the 20th century, Cripple Creek was one of the largest cities in Colorado and only lost the vote to become the state's capitol by 4 votes to Denver. Imagine that, the Cripple Creek Broncos. The Colorado Rockies baseball team playing in Coors field in Cripple Creek. The city came very close to becoming a ghost town in the 1970's and 1980's however the state allowed gambling to come into Cripple Creek, which has increased the population and caused new buildings to be built as well as remodeling many of the old buildings.

A view up into the hills above Cripple Creek showing some of the old mines and tailings from the mines. The ride was very interesting with the history of Cripple Creek and the mines. The original name for the area was Poverty Gulch. It was renamed Cripple Creek by one of the cattlemen of the area when he lost some of his animals due to broken legs trying to cross the creek. A miner named Bob Womack made the first gold find in the Cripple Creek area and his claim started the last of the gold rushes in Colorado. Old Bob loved to drink and it is told that he went on a three day drinking binge and when he woke, he learned that he had sold his claim for $500 and a case of whiskey. About five million dollars worth of gold was removed from that claim, so he didn't do too well in the sale. Ol' Bob died penniless.
Approximately $500,000,000 in gold ore was removed from the hills and valley around Cripple Creek, and this figure was at the going rate of gold at the time of $20-25 per ounce. Gold now sells for about $1,200 per ounce.
I knew I should have bought some land there...
This is Echo Canyon near Cripple Creek. The railroad train engineer demonstrated it by blowing his horn a few times and letting us listen to the echo. It was a very impressive display.

This is the old blacksmith shop that remains standing. Most of the old town burned down in the late 1890's, but this and a few other buildings remain.
The road is laid on the old rail lines. Behind the road are more old mines and buildings that remain there. The land now belongs to a new company that has been strip mining for gold.

We are on the siding, waiting for this train to go by so we can back into the station. Our ride is almost over.

Here is our happy group, Patrice, Tyler, Cameron and Ryan. Mike's arm can be seen taking a photo on the left side of the picture.
Here is little smarty Cameron, standing just inside the doorway to one of the casinos, in violation of the law of no one under the age of 21 being allowed to enter a casino. Actually, I told him he could do this, so don't get mad at Cameron for being a lawbreaker. His PePaw put him up to it.
After our trip to Cripple Creek, we returned to town, intending to go to the Cave of the Winds today. We stopped off at Wal Mart to pick up a few items, and while there, the afternoon rains came, so we decided not to go to the cave today. We will do that one later in the week when the weather cooperates better.
We all came back home and watched the rain for the afternoon. We have big plans for the next two days, so check back here for more fun.
So long.

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