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Monday, August 17, 2015

Old Mining Remains - Colorado CR 295

On the way to our hike today, we had a beautiful and interesting ride.  From Buena Vista, drive south on 285 to Nathrop.  Take a right on CR 162 -the way to Mount Princeton and St Elmo.  Before entering the ghost town of St. Elmo, there is road to the left...CR 295 to Hancock, another old mining town.  Loved driving through the aspens.  The road is 2W drive, gravel, and narrow in some spots, but no problems.  

elevation is somewhere around 10,000 at the beginning

As you are going up, there are several old mines to the right that dot the landscape

wow, wonder when it will fall into the road :) 
Looks spooky in B&W

Miners started off panning for gold in streams and that was lucrative. When that "panned out", they would go upstream and try to find the vein the gold was coming from and start trying to dig out in a crude mine.

upper views of the building sliding down the hill. See my car?

More ruins up higher

When gold got harder to find, the greed was still there. I've seen this crap in California also. With no oversight, miners would set up high powered hydraulic hoses and starting blasting out the mountainside into sluices. It was finally stopped but it will take centuries for nature to heal these scars.

Looking into an old building through where the fireplace once  was. There is the staircase.

The lovely spruce up here grows very straight. If cut it in winter, the sap is low and it can be pulled across the snow with horses. Properly cured, it will last centuries. A saw, a broadax, an adze, and an ax for making these corner joints are the basic tools you need. These timbers are from a saloon built in the 1800s.

Gold first drew men to Colorado to pan the streams. Places like Placerville and Cripple Creek paid well. Later, vast fortunes were made in mines of gold, silver, and even lead. I love to cross the streams and see the gleaming glint of metals. Click on any picture to enlarge. What do you see?

More ruins

This place is for sale. It even has a nice modern house to go with it. Live at 11,000 feet and  become a gold baron! I'll be you BFF.

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