Saturday, June 21, 2014

6/20 Monarch Pass & Leadville, CO

I left Gunnison early this morning heading for someplace closer to Frisco, because I knew doing it in one day was a longer day than I liked to drive.  It would be all two-lane roads and go over two major passes. 

I have been over Monarch Pass before, but it is still impressive because it is over 11,000 ft in height. 

I also knew there was a gondola ride up to the top of the pass, and even though I took it last year, I paid my $8 and did it again!  This is a big ski area and you can see all the ski runs in the distance.

The only things growing on the top of the pass were some very low wildflowers, none of which was taller than 4".  I will post some photos tomorrow. 
Still some dirty snow up here.  Winds were about 35-40 MPH right on the top, which made it easy to get blown around.

As I headed down the east side of the pass, I stopped at this mining operation.  Looks like they are just tearing down the entire mountain!

The old buildings don't look like much, but I could hear the sounds of equipment in the distance.

Here is a front-end loader moving stuff around.  Could see no big dump trucks or anyone digging into the hillsides, but it was definitely still an operating mine.

 These are the mountains surrounding Leadville.  Still lots of snow to melt this year.  I spent the night in a campground about two miles out of town.  Air is really thin up here! 

Leadville is a historic town known for being a mining town and union battles.

This is heading out of town through another pass.  Can't remember its name, unfortunately.

This, however, is Clinton Gulch Dam Reservoir.  I pulled over into a parking lot, and somehow managed to get out again.  Tight fit and my vehicle has a about a 150' turning circle.

The dot in the lake is a guy in one of those inner tubes where you stand in waders and float at the same time.  He was fishing.

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