After our visit to the magnificent Mesa Verde, we drove on for several hours through beautiful forested country with still a number of mesas visible above the trees, with racing streams and small lakes alongside the road and still the snow clad mountains visible beyond.
Looks like a lion’s head or even a man’s head, or perhaps just a great vantage point, or place for a fortified village.
Charming spot to live or vacation, maybe a little fishing, walking, riding, why not?
However, it was not so good to see that in some areas the pine beetle has killed off
maybe as much as 60% of the pine trees, dulling the vibrant green forests to a dull grey.
Further to the north-east, the forested land was replace by dry grasslands and craggy mountains.
This hospital looked a little desolate against the rocky mountain behind.
The country opened up again and ranches were few and far between.
With evening setting in, the muted colours and slanted rays of the sun gave yet another ‘look’ to the Colorado landscape.
We stayed overnight in the town of Salida on the Arkansas River and the glass of wine and salad
quoffed down next to this tumbling river were very welcome after a long day on the road.
The following morning we were on the road again, and although sunny there was a lot of haze from burning bushfires in Southern Utah. It’s just a few hours drive on to Denver, but of course we did have to make a stop midway at an old town named South Park, although in earlier days it had been bigger and called Fairplay.
Pastel shades in the early morning light.
Rolling farmlands with the mountains behind.
A pretty nice-looking ranch nestled into the hills …
… and horses calmly grazing in a field of flowers.
We decided to take time out to visit the South Park City Museum, a new building but modelled on the old Fairplay Hotel which is no longer standing. Inside there is an interesting mix of Native American artifacts with displays of arrowheads and then many displays of life as it must have been in the goldrush days. Behind the museum, you could walk out into a reconstructed street lined with houses and businesses to recreate the look and feel of an 1880s mining settlement. Local residents have embraced the historic preservation idea and donated some 60,000 items, so the houses are filled with fascinating memories from the past.
The main building of the South Park Museum.
A reconstructed front page of the local newspaper highlighting news of the day from the 1860s
Arrowheads of various sizs and shaped, but all beautifully chiselled and detailed.
Arrowheads, a pottery jug and a buffalo horn.
The law and order of the new frontier with impressive handcuffs and a revolver.
And then came the women to brighten up the goldfields and add some entertainment of an evening…
… and families moved in too, building the communities, and requiring more services.
This bride in her wedding dress was not the most beautiful maiden I have ever seen,
but I did notice it was not too bad an interpretation of the photo it was modelled from.
But her feathered hat and gloves were pretty as a picture !
Two of the reworked houses along the street with an old cart parked outside.
The narrow guage locomotive was built in 1914 and has a tender, two adjoining box cars and a refurbished caboose.
The railway house complete with luggage trolley stands as though waiting for passengers to descend from the train.
An old, recoloured photo depicts other means of transport and the businesses built around them.
Another of the required services of days goneby was the smithy…
… the fire kept alive with huge bellows and a vast assortment of tools to mould and hold the metal into the needed utensils.
The schoolhouse, with children probably dragging their feet, and perhaps having their ears clipped should they be late.
Inside the school house – slates for writing, an old organ, an abacus and a map showing land ceded by Mexico to the US.
In another house, an old roll-top desk, fishing rod, net and creel belonging to the ranger.
A corner of the village store, complete with pot bellied stove where the customers could warm themselves
and no doubt share some news and gossip of the day while they waited for their goods.
On an opposite wall was an old soda fountain, all marble and brass …
… with jars of flavouring from far away Rochester, New York.
What a treat that must have been for young courting couples and hungry youngsters.
A family house on the street with a porch out front from which to watch the world go by. Was it where the 7 sisters lived ?
Who could possibly turn down a hair product with such wondrous advertising!
Plenty of other remedies could be bought over-the-counter to cure all manner of illnesses and ailments.
And if not over the counter medicine from the general store, the apothecary surely had the right treatment …
… amongst his bottles and jars …
… and if nothing worked, you surely had a beautiful horse-drawn hearse to deliver you to you eternal resting place.
Back on the road again on the last lap into Denver, the mile high city, we encountered some rain showers which couldn’t really marr the wonderful scenery and the sun soon burst through the clouds again.
Last stretch before reaching Denver.
The impressive State Capitol building in downtown Denver.
A beautiful striped sunset over the city of Denver with the mountains beyond.
And thus ended a short but very eventful and enjoyable road trip in Colorado. From here I travelled north to Vancouver Island, British Colomubia, Canada to visit other friends, and to help celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. My next blog will therefore be from Canada.
All good wishes to you my readers,