Zanesville, Ohio

This is not the famous Y-bridge; it’s difficult to photograph effectively from the ground. This is just a railroad bridge near the Y-bridge where we stopped for a picnic lunch last Wednesday on the outbound trip.

Railroad bridge in Zanesville, Ohio

And this is one of the cute little goslings I was encouraging the girls to go try to pet. :-)

Gosling and goose

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Mannings Handweaving School and Supply Center

I’m on my way back from a wedding in the Philadelphia area and it hasn’t been easy to upload pictures on the go, so these will be out of sequence.

Tuesday we left the Philadelphia area. Midday we stopped at Mannings Handweaving School and Supply Center near East Berlin and let Gail have some quality time. Everything was beautiful and beautifully displayed.

Yarn Rooms

Yarn stock at Mannings Handweaving School and Supply Center

Yarn stock at Mannings Handweaving School and Supply Center

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Fargo’s Pizza: A Colorado Springs Tradition

Fargo's Pizza, Colorado Springs

Eating at Fargo’s Pizza is a Colorado Springs tradition in my family. I think it goes back to childhood visits; I know I have a photograph from 1987.

Fargo's Pizza, Colorado Springs: balcony

The pizza’s not super-awesome, but I love the old-timey pizza parlor, with balconies, rows of incandescent lights, staff in lacy dresses, and more.

Fargo's Pizza, Colorado Springs: view from balcony

More? Chandeliers, a player piano, carved statues, and your order number lighting up behind one of a pair of mirrors.

I mentioned to Liz that we were going there and she said, “I was just there! The random statues creep me out and I would die if I had to wear that much lace, but the food is decent. The five-year-old I was with was rather excited, so I just let her be enthusiastic for me.”

Whatcha tryin’ to say about me, Liz?

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Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad

Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad: show locomotive

After checking out of camp late this morning, we continued south on Colorado 67 to Cripple Creek to ride the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad. Standard railroads have 4′ 8 1/2″ between the inner edges of the rails; narrow gauge designates any railroad with a smaller distance, and narrow gauge railroads were common in mountainous regions and mining operations where the lighter construction was a critical factor. The CCVNGRR gauge is 2′, the smallest common narrow gauge.

Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad locomotive

The tourist operation has two active coal-fired 0-4-0 steam locomotives running alternating round trips.

Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad engineer

Our train engineer is a civil engineering student in New Mexico and did a very respectable job of both driving the train and narrating the trip.

self-portrait on Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad

Yup, I was really there.

house for sale outside Cripple Creek, Colorado

Immediately outside Cripple Creek stands a bargain at any price! It is a wonder no one has snatched this up.

Anaconda, Colorado

The far end of the ride is at the ghost town of Anaconda, Colorado, of which few buildings remain.

Anaconda, Colorado ghost town blacksmith shop

The former blacksmith shop is the best preserved.

Anaconda, Colorado: collapsed mining building

Up the hillside is the collapsed head of an old gold mine.

leach heaps of Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mine

Up the hillside are some of the massive piles of the Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mine, Colorado’s largest gold producer and one of the world’s largest open-pit heap leaching operations. They dig ore-impregnated rock out of the ground, crush it down to 8″ or smaller rocks, make mountain-high piles on top of supposedly impermeable membranes, drip arsenic through the piles to extract the gold from the rocks, and collect and process the arsenic at the bottom of the piles.

The Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mining Company has gradually purchased all of the land in what used to be Anaconda and their operation is so successful that they’re preparing to take over the entire Anaconda valley for another leach heap. Highway 67 will be rerouted, the CCVNGRR will tear up its tracks and build new ones, and all of this area will be filled with more rock piles for heap leaching.

Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad: passing trains

At the end of the ride, the train pulls onto a Y track to let the other train pass, then pulls back onto the main track and returns to the station.

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Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp (Abandoned) Gold Mine

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, Colorado: campfire

Since coming here every summer of high school, I’ve been aware of the locked shaft into the hillside behind the campfire area, but I’ve never gone into it.

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, Colorado: gold mine entrance

It’s the entrance to a mine that never produced gold, and the claim for which was purchased to establish the original camp.

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, Colorado: gold mine first gate

The entrance has always been barred by a locked gate to keep guests from mischief or injury and animals from taking up residence.

Last night on the way back from Monkey Rock, I visited with a summer staff member who was putting out the third-grade camp’s campfire. She told me that the lock is mainly to keep young campers out and gave me the combination. This morning I let myself in to have a look around.

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, Colorado: gold mine second gate

Inside the first, locked gate is a second gate that could be, but isn’t, locked as well.

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, Colorado: gold mine

Soon I was walking deep into the dark, with my toy flashlight to provide meager illumination and my camera flash to blind me occasionally. Even though the mine is level, I felt as though I was descending into a cave.

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, Colorado: electrical cables in gold mine

As far as I went, there were abandoned electrical cables on the floor that used to light the mine.

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, Colorado: deeper into the gold mine

It’s just dark in there, and taking pictures ruined any chance of my eyes acclimating. I got a little further than this, at which point the floor had increasingly deep puddles of water and increasingly large piles of debris and I turned back, to return on another trip with more candlepower.

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, Colorado: turning back in the gold mine

Zoomed to my camera’s maximum focal length, the exit doesn’t look that far away. But I could hear water dripping behind me, and my footsteps echoed, and turning your back to an unexplored dark shaft is far creepier than walking into it in the first place with your back to a lighted entrance.

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, Colorado: exiting the gold mine's second gate

A good view of the double gate.

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, Colorado: exiting the gold mine

And out the exit, back to civilization.

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, Colorado: chapel

The short path to the campfire and gold mine has my favorite view of the chapel.

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, Colorado: pink wildflowers

I spotted these pink wildflowers beside the path last night in the dark and was glad to come back to them this morning.

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Climbing Monkey Rock Near Dark

Monkey Rock is an outcropping above camp, a comfortable walk cut into the hillside and not precipitous. But parts are granite faces with loose gravel and a slip would result in a long, scrapey slide. So our walk up it as it was getting dark tonight was maybe not the wisest thing in the world, and the walk down as it was darker even less.

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp: looking down on the lodge after dark

But I do so love looking down on the welcoming glow of shelter after dark.

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Raspberry Mountain

This morning I walked up Raspberry Mountain alone. The second generation went to walk the Crags — longer but shallower — and the fourth generation said, hey, if we run the whole way and go straight up instead of taking switchbacks, we can do a seven-hour hike in three hours, right?

I said, Raspberry it is.

Trail to Raspberry Mountain, Colorado

It’s a hike I’ve done many times and the trail isn’t terribly steep, though altitude acclimation demands a conservative pace.

Trail near the top of Raspberry Mountain, Colorado

The path is inviting

Top of Raspberry Mountain, Colorado

and as Raspberry stands apart from other peaks, the views from the top are grand even though it’s not particularly tall.

Top of Raspberry Mountain, Colorado

The sharp peak on the right is Sentinel Point and the taller range to the left is the Pikes Peak summit approach.

Self-portrait on top of Raspberry Mountain, Colorado

Proof I was really there.

Weathered log on Raspberry Mountain, Colorado

I tend to watch the trail pretty closely, so I saw different things on the way down than I had on the way up.

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, Colorado: looking down on Emmental

Looking down toward camp at Emmental.

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, Colorado: purple flower

I don’t think I’d taken a picture of this particular kind of purple flower yet.

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Denver to Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, the Hard Scenic Way

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After leaving the Da Vinci exhibit, we took US-285 and CO-67 from Denver into Woodland Park from the north, then on to camp for the reunion.

North Fork, Colorado Forest Fire Area

North Fork, Colorado burn area

There’s been a lot of publicity about the Waldo Canyon forest fire between Colorado Springs and Woodland Park. I haven’t seen post-fire photos, and it’s hard to imagine what the area must look like, but here’s an idea.

North Fork, Colorado burn area

The North Fork area had a forest fire this spring. The only surviving trees in the area are those uphill of clearings where the fire didn’t naturally jump. Grass is regrowing, but the trees are dead and it will be decades before they regrow. I question whether the conifers will even come back or whether aspen will regrow faster and take over.

North Fork, Colorado burn area

We saw a lot of cut trees in the burned areas. It wasn’t clear whether the burned trees have been cut down or whether the trees were cut when the fire was coming in an attempt to establish a fireblock.

The Waldo Canyon area will look like this for a long time to come.

CO-67 to Woodland Park

Stream along CO-67

I’m not sure whether this is a stream or a river, but I love the way it winds through the lowlands.

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp

CO-67 entrance to Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp

The entrance to camp, off of CO-67 south of Divide.

Purple wildflowers at entrance to Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp

Yeah, sorry, just can’t resist taking pictures of flowers.

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp lodge

The main lodge. I love Colorado rustic construction.

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp Zurich dining room

The dining room reserved for the Bartel reunion this weekend. We’re an ever smaller group — we used to fill the room and now we only fill four tables.

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Da Vinci Machines Exhibition

Denver Pavilions mall

This morning we went downtown to Denver’s Pavilions mall to see the Da Vinci Machines Exhibition.

While waiting for the exhibit to open, we were serenaded by this pianist — quite talented — outdoors on the 16th Avenue Mall.

The Da Vinci Machines Exhibition is a realization in wood, metal, and canvas of numerous machines drawn by Leonardo Da Vinci. All of them are operable and many are hands-on.

A few of my favorites:

Da Vinci Machines Exhibition: catapult

Catapult with ratcheting tensioner

Da Vinci Machines Exhibition: anemometer

An anemometer, which though simple, is quantitative

Da Vinci Machines Exhibition: mechanical robot

All-mechanical animated figurine

Da Vinci Machines Exhibition: fastenerless bridge

My favorite — a bridge made of notched logs with no fasteners

Da Vinci Machines Exhibition: ball bearing

A bearing with captive balls

Da Vinci Machines Exhibition: post-raiser

My second-favorite — a machine for safely raising posts to vertical to drop into postholes

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Boulder to Westminster, the Hard Scenic Way, Part II: Gross Dam

After a short time on Flagstaff Road above Boulder, I determined that the road continued far enough to intersect Colorado Highway 72, which would bring us into northwestern Denver in the vicinity of our Westminster hotel. So with very little effort, I persuaded my parents to continue on the scenic route.

Mom questioned that decision when paved Flagstaff Road gave way to unpaved Gross Dam Road, we were already lost in the wilderness, we had less than a quarter tank of gas left, and we were driving further into the wilderness. And frequently — one might even say continually — thereafter.

We persisted.

The payoff was worth it.

Gross Dam and Reservoir

Gross Dam, Colorado: northern view

I could see from the GPS that we were approaching a large lake, but I didn’t yet know it had a dam. This was our first view, through the trees looking down from the road.

Gross Dam, Colorado: southern view

Completed in 1954, Gross Dam stores and regulates water for Denver.

Gross Dam, Colorado: spillway shack

It fascinates me to think of how much solid concrete you must travel through to get to this spillway shack … and how far below the reservoir’s water surface you are while doing so.

Gross Dam, Colorado: no-boating area

The red floats, I believe, were installed to give the water birds a place to sit whilst waiting for a meal.

Gross Reservoir, Colorado

The dam creates Gross Reservoir, open seasonally for boating, fishing, and hiking, but not for swimming. Given the amazing views on the way there and the extremely pleasant climate, it looks like somewhere I’d enjoy spending a few days.

(More) Wildflowers

Gross Dam, Colorado: purple wildflowers

Gross Dam, Colorado: purple wildflowers

Gross Dam, Colorado: red berries

Gross Dam, Colorado:

The leaves on the last bush look very like currant and gooseberry, but the berries were small to be currants. And also very red.

Union Pacific Railroad

Eldorado Canyon State Park, Colorado: Union Pacific railroad

Nearing Highway 72 toward the end of our drive, we suddenly came upon this Union Pacific rail line — clearly the railroad at the top of the world.

Eldorado Canyon State Park, Colorado: Union Pacific railroad

A fitting end to a day of travel.

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