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2010 Colorado

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It was delightful to choose a great destination and visit the Bairds, too!

The day before the assault on Pike’s Peak, we made a reconnaisance to Crags Camp, the trailhead where Scott was to set out.

It looked like snow in the woods and on the road, on August 5! Turned out this was hail from the storm the night before.

After scoping out the trailhead, we approached Cripple Creek, site of the Molly Kathleen gold mine.

At the mine, we prepared for the descent of 1000 feet into the earth.

We squeezed into a metal elevator cage with 5 other tourists.

The temperature is 50 degrees down there.

Our tour guide was a real 21st century miner demonstrating 19th and 20th century mining equipment.

a mining relic

They are still mining gold in Cripple Creek, though it is almost all at done at the surface.

Here we are in front of the elevator.

Later in the day we attempted to visit Garden of the Gods in Manitou Springs. Ten minutes into our visit, a stormy blast from the gods drove 90% of the tourists away, and after another ten minutes we fled as well. Undeterred, we returned the next day in favorable weather.

Later we visited Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.

We didn’t need to go to California to view sequoias.

The evening’s entertainment was dinner and a show of cowboy singing, fiddling, picking, and humor at the Flying W Ranch.

The next morning, we got up at 4:30 a.m. and Scott drove to the trailhead on the west side of Pike’s Peak.

The hiking trail was in the shadow of the mountain for a couple of hours.

High up on the mountain, the tundra and views were spectacular. A little after this, Scott hit the wall with the altitude over 13,000 feet and became very slow. Kathy reached the summit by car, and waited two hours until Scott came into view hobbling around the parking lot.

After the strenuous day on Pike’s Peak, we recuperated with an elegant dinner at the Stagecoach Inn in Manitou Springs.

A day was spent on a scenic drive to the upper Colorado River, where we had rafting reservations for the next morning.

Near our lunch spot, several of our raft-mates spotted a black bear. It did not molest us.

From Hot Sulphur Springs, we made our way the the Bairds’ home via Rocky Mountain National Park, via the high and amazing Trail Ridge Road.

The next day we traveled to Buena Vista, where we moved in to the Vista Court Cabins.

The next day was dedicated to Rick’s and Scott’s plan to hike to the summit of Mt. Elbert, the tallest mountain in Colorado.

Willie, Andy, and Kimberley joined in.

Clouds rolled in and out, bringing a half hour shower.

The weather began to clear, and then got worse hours earlier than the customary Colorado afternoon showers. Wind, rain, hail, and cold pummelled the hikers, and the lightening missed us. From the 13,400 foot elevation, we retreated down the mountain.

Just below tree line, we were greeted by friendly gray jays.

Once off the trail, the weather improved. Bummer.

A new day dawns under pristine, clear skies. Rick must tear himself away from the river, as the remaining Turner-Baird death-defying, thrill-seeking adventurers conquer the seven class 3 to 4 rapids of Browns Canyon.

On our last morning in the mountains, the men chose to hike.
? ?

For mammalian wildlife, the men’s best sighting was a tiny mouse.

The ladies’ choice for the morning was the Gold Rush Days and shops of Buena Vista.

From this vendor, everyone got falafel and/or gyros.

The final night together featured Scrabble and ice cream. Willie and Scott formed the winning team.

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