Leadville, CO aspens, bridge, tunnel, caterpillar
If you live in Colorado, September is the month you load up your friends and drive into the Rocky Mountains to see the Aspen trees now turning into a gorgeous gold. Perry drove our van so that Diane and Wayne, our friends from Virginia, could more fully experience the beauty of this drive.
While driving and hiking in the mountains, it’s very important to drink water to avoid altitude sickness and dehydration. BPA free Contigo water bottles are excellent for keeping you hydrated. They are leak proof and can attach to your belt or backpack strap.
To keep the water colder, longer use two Thinsulate insulated Kup Kollar wraps. If you have ice in the bottle, it will melt slower. Slip one Kollar on the bottom then turn the other Kollar upside down and slip over the top of the bottle. The Kollars will soak up any condensation on the outside.
This is the scene you will see repeated though out your drive. If you stand next to the aspens, you’ll see the leaves tremble in the slightest wind.
Completed in 1941, Red Cliff Arch Bridge is one of only two steel arch bridges in Colorado. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it hangs 200-feet above the canyon floor with huge rock outcroppings bordering each end of the bridge. It carries Highway 24 across Eagle River.
Because about 2,500 vehicles travel over the 470-foot Red Cliff Bridge every day, it was restored in 2004. Most of the traffic comes from commuters in Leadville and Red Cliff.
We stopped along Highway 24 for a rest stop. I spotted this tunnel with railroad tracks going through it. After doing a Google search, I learned it’s one end of the Tennessee Pass railroad tunnel near Leadville. The tunnel is one of many built throughout the Rocky Mountains for trains and vehicles.
I found this Spotted Tussock Moth Caterpillar at another stop along Highway 24. During the caterpillar stage, it will hibernate all winter under rocks. In the spring, a brownish moth will emerge.
Knowing winter was close at hand, this caterpillar was scooting along the rocks perhaps looking for a place to stay until spring!
At altitude 10,152 feet, Leadville, Colorado entrance sign reads “entering the cloud city.” It’s the highest incorporated city in the United States. Founded in 1877, it has a population of about 2600.
Leadville has a colorful history as a mining town. In 1880 Leadville was one of the world's largest and richest silver camps, with a population of more than 15,000. There were more than thirty mines and ten large smelting works producing gold, silver, and lead bringing in $15,000,000 annually.
You can learn more about mining in The National Mining Hall of Fame located downtown. You might want to visit in the summer. Winters average 200+ inches from the end of October to the middle of May!
On another day adventure in the Rocky Mountains near Tabernash, Colorado, Diane found a dragon to ride!
Some people will even climb mountain boulders for a hot coffee!