After a busy summer, with little focus on photography I wanted to get back in the swing of things before my travel schedule pics up in a few weeks. To that end I loaded up my truck and headed west after work on Friday. I had a vague idea of heading towards Taylor Park, but without having to coordinate plans with a large group I could let my ultimate destination present itself. After making my way 'up the hill' through traffic, and a quick dinner in Leadville I crossed the continental divide and descended into Taylor park after dark.
No problem, having already eaten I inflated my mattress in the back of the 4runner and was reading myself to sleep in minutes. Waking the next morning I drove through Taylor Park and decided to head up to the Pieplant Townsite for breakfast. I had no idea what this particular ghost town would consist of, some are just depressions in the earth, and others are quite complete. This one prominently featured the remains of a stamp mill.
The stonework of the old mill was still well intact, while the wood had largely collapsed. Remains of cabins were also in the area. A forest service worker I passed on my way out commented that he wasn't sure anyone had made money on the proposition other than the man who recruited investors, but that some people just really had an urge to work hard. It may have been a tough life, carting ore from much further up the mountain, to stamp it in the wilderness, and then cart the sorted ore much further - but it certainly was a beautiful place in which to do it.
Now this young bull Moose has the place largely to itself, at least until the ATV riders start making laps. Wanting none of that traffic I headed back out of the park, and retraced my path to the summit of Cottonwood Pass, and the Continental Divide.
Despite being mid-summer, and a period when birds are not conveniently posing for photographs, I did find one White-crowned Sparrow to get a passable bird shot.
With a view like this, though, I wasn't to broken up by the lack of birds to photograph.
Another consolation are the high tundra wildflowers. Rosy Paintbrush.
Then, it was down the home side of the pass. I took my time, using forest roads to cross between Buena Vista and Fairplay, and then crossing Hoosier Pass north into Breckenridge, and taking the back road to Keystone before crossing Loveland Pass on my way back to I70 and home.
It was a great way to spend a night and day in Colorado, and makes me appreciate all that my home has to offer.
Rare Bird Alert: April 18, 2014
11 hours ago