Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ghost Towns, Dirt Roads, and Abandoned Mines

On Tuesday, my husband and I were in Idaho Springs for a late afternoon appointment and decided to take a ride on a route that I'd not been on in almost 30 years.  So you know what that means - pictures!

Not too far up the road, the first of the mines appears. The mountain in the middle is where we are going, and down the other side - all the way to the top.

Mine, over mine, over mine.

Rainstorm on the distant hills.

The old mine, and out of the picture is the new workings of the same mine.  I respect the privacy - some miners get upset about pictures.

This used to be a home and working mine - I don't know when they left the building, but it is clear it has been quite some time.

Quite some time.

The house and mine building are still rather intact, but the garage has seen better days...

The original mine tracks that com from inside the mine and out to the road or loading area.  The house and deck of the house were clearly  built over a part of the rail.

The rail continues inside the building.

Sleeping quarters at the top of the mine, usually used by someone on guard duty.

Looking down into the mine building.  I did not go past this doorway, cause sometimes, I'm a chicken.  The stairs seemed firm, but no telling what was on the next level.  Looking through this doorway, it became clear that several people have used it to dump all manner of things.  The mine entrance was not readily visible, but it was on a much lower level than I was on.

You can see the rail continue across the next level, and a section out the door to let the carts dump the tailings.

Perhaps someday we'll go look in there more closely, but a guy who drove past us twice, once in each direction, convinced us it was pretty much time to move on. 

The left side of the mine building.

The right side of the mine building - you can just see the dumping platform on the back.

Standing on the deck of the house, this is a mine across the valley.  I decided to see just how far my camera would zoom in.

Not too bad.

Actually, pretty darn good!

Russel Gulch - once a thriving town, even just 30 years ago, now, sadly, mainly a ghost town.  That is the old school in the distance.

Looking down the old business district.

One thriving business.

Others, not so much.

IOOF building is still in excellent condition.

The school and some mining equipment.

I do not remember what this building used to be - I'm going to have to look it up - it burned, apparently.  But not all of it.  Looks like someone is living in the far end.

Now, we actually drove through here twice.  The first round, we went to the next town over - a rather thriving community - and then drove back, since I was looking for the cemetery.  When I was younger, it was my favorite cemetery. However, we didn't find it this trip.  We did, however, find  some other interesting things. But first, more pictures of Russel Gulch, from a different direction than we first came in on.

Back side of the non thriving business.

One thing the town does have is a frisbee golf course - appropriately named.

The school from the upper road - it looks like someone is fixing it up, which makes me very happy.

Interesting property with several cabins on it.

First time I've seen indian paintbrush flowers in several years.

And then, up on the far hill,  we saw this.

Truly baffled,  tried the close up picture.

Looks like a grain barn, but that's not something we'd have up on the mountain.  Likely something to do with mining - and yet another thing to look up.

We found the road going up to it, but seeing as it was already around 7:30pm, we left it for another day.  Thank goodness for long summer days.

Never did find the cemetery - left that for another day as well.

And I'll continue our trip in the next blog post!

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