Independence Pass in Colorado

I, Zeb the Duck, and Soapy Smith Duck crossed Independence Pass this summer. In Colorado we have several mountain passes. Independence Pass crosses the Continental Divide.

We are almost at the top of the world

We are almost at the top of the world

Just to remind you, the water that is west of the continental divide flows to the Pacific Ocean. The water that is east of the continental divide flows to the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, all of the water does not reach the oceans as much goes for agriculture, for animal use and for human use.

Independence pass is 12,095 feet above sea level. You can see surrounding mountains are higher. This pass is closed in the winter. Today, in the summer, there is still snow on top of the mountains

This is snow is cold!

This is snow is cold!

and we are on top of the snow.

There are no trees up here. We are above timberline. That means the weather is too severe for trees to grow.

Windswept mountain top with summer snow

Windswept mountain top with summer snow

Timberline is determined by temperature and latitude.  Some times timberline is called tree line.

On either side of the pass, the streams, created by melting snow, are just beautiful. In Colorado we have many mountain passes and several cross the continental divide.

Melting snow gives us these cold streams

Melting snow gives us these cold streams

Zeb and Soapy just wanted to remind you about mountain passes and about the significance of the continental divide. Visit Colorado this summer. You will enjoy traveling through our mountains and passes and over the continental divide.

Heritage Museum and Gallery in Leadville, Colorado

While in Leadville, Colorado, Soapy Smith Duck and Zeb the Duck visited the Heritage Museum and Gallery.

A great museum

A great museum

We thought this would be a quick trip, but there is so much in this museum.  Remember Leadville was a successful mining town.  Before entering the museum, we saw all this mining equipment.  This is a side dumping ore car.

Side dumping ore cart

Side dumping ore car

This gravity stamp mill helped crush ore.

Difficult to bring this to Leadville

Difficult to bring this to Leadville

Here is a shaker-concentrating table.

Shaking makes sense

Shaking makes sense

Shaft Cages served as elevators to raise and lower men and materials in and out of mine shafts.

So necessary for mining

So necessary for mining

There is so much mining equipment, education and history in the yard of the museum.  You should see this stuff!

When we went inside we learned much about the silver mining in Leadville.  Remember last time you learned that gold was discovered in 1860 and silver was discovered in 1874.  By 1880 Leadville was one of the greatest silver camps in the world, producing $15,000,000 in minerals per year. Two successful mines, the Robert E. Lee and Little Pittsburg had a contest.  Which mine would produce the most silver in a 24-hour period.  Look at the results!

This is fantastic!

This is fantastic!

Another area of the museum was like a house.  This Cycloid Grand Piano (named for rounded sides) was previously owned by Baby Doe Tabor.

The Tabors were very important in Leadville

The Tabors were very important in Leadville

The Rocky Mountains are beautiful, but were also very important defending our way of life.  During World War II Germany had a highly trained elite mountain division.  The United States created the 10th Mountain Division.

Soldiers trained here

Soldiers trained here

These soldiers trained at Camp Hale northwest of Leadville.

Mountain training

Mountain training

This division is credited with help the war end earlier than previously expected.

We are so proud of these soldiers

We are so proud of these soldiers

Leadville is a fascinating city and this museum is wonderful.   For more information about this museum, visit www.leadvilleheritagemuseum.com   We hope you visit soon.

Leadville, Colorado with Soapy and Zeb Duck

Soapy Smith Duck and I, Zeb the Duck, visited Leadville, Colorado.  Leadville is an old mining town.

First gold in 1860 and silver in 1874

First gold in 1860 and silver in 1874

Leadville, Colorado is North America’s highest incorporated city at 10,430 feet above sea level.   That is almost 2 miles high.  The air is pretty thin up here, so be careful when you visit.  Usual precautions—slow down and drink lots of water.

One of your first stops here should be the visitor’s center.

Beautiful old home and visitor's center

Beautiful old home and visitor’s center

Soapy and I just love these pretty old houses.  There is so much to see and do in Leadville.  A good way to see some of the history is through the self guided walking tour.  You can get directions before you go at www.leadville.com    The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is in Leadville.

National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum

National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum

This statue, Mining:  The Pulse of Civilization, is at the front of the building.

Marble mining statue

Marble mining statue

It is symbolic of Double Jacking.  The marble for this statue is from the Yule Marble Quarry in Marble, Colorado.  Marble from this quarry has been used in the Tomb of the Unknowns and part of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

We love these pretty older homes.

We love these houses.  Did you guess?

We love these houses. Did you guess?

Leadville is very high, but even higher mountains surround the town.  Isn’t this a pretty street?

Annunciation Catholic Church with snow capped mountains

Annunciation Catholic Church with snow capped mountains

The Annunciation Catholic Church dates from 1880.   The “Unsinkable Molly Brown” was married here in 1886.  Baby Doe Tabor’s funeral was held here in 1935.  In Leadville, the Colorado and Southern Railroad Station is still in use.

This train station is used every day in the summer

This train station is used every day in the summer

Tourist trains leave here daily during the summer.  This engine has the plow that was used to clear the tracks in winter.

Snow plow on engine

Snow plow on engine

Leadville, Colorado was home to Horace and Augusta Tabor until 1881.  The Tabors were very wealthy and very generous to the city of Leadville.  The Tabors lived in this house

The Tabor home is open to visitors

The Tabor home is open to visitors.  Pretty lace curtains.

until Horace moved out to be with his future second wife, Baby Doe Tabor.

Downtown Leadville is the location of the Tabor Opera House.

Tabor Opera House in Leadville, Colorado

Tabor Opera House in Leadville, Colorado

When this opera house opened in 1879 it was “the finest theater between St. Louis and San Francisco”.

Across the street from the Tabor Opera House is the very popular Silver Dollar Saloon.  First named Board of Trade Saloon; in 1935 it became the Silver Dollar Saloon.

The Silver Dollar Saloon

The Silver Dollar Saloon

Leadville has so much history and so many stories that you could spend several days here and have a great time.  Please visit www.leadville.com to learn more about this fascinating city and then visit Leadville.  You will be glad you came here.

Leadville, Colorado.  Isn't this beautiful?

Leadville, Colorado. Isn’t this beautiful?

 

Central City for an Opera

Zeb the Duck here and we returned to Central City, Colorado.  Today mom and a friend brought me here to see the opera.  Mom’s friend’s grandson is in the opera!!  We arrived early to experience some of Central City.  First stop was the visitor’s center.  Upstairs the Gilpin County Arts Association displays work from mostly Colorado artists.  I liked this pottery by Steve Briggs.

I like Steve's pottery

I like Steve’s pottery

To learn more about Steve visit www.thepotterystudiogallery.com  About 50 artists are featured at that gallery in Littleton, Colorado.

Then we went on a tour of the Teller House.

Teller House in Central City, Colorado

Teller House in Central City, Colorado

Mr. Teller built this grand hotel in 1872.  Today the hotel is not available for guests, but sometimes the bar and small restaurant are open.   This clock came from Europe especially for the Teller House.

Sent from Europe to Central City

Sent from Europe to Central City

Another room has a wonderful mural on the ceiling.

I like ceiling murals

I like ceiling murals

It is big. This is just one part of it.  From the piano room you can see into another room.

Spacious rooms

Spacious rooms

This sure was a luxury hotel when it opened.  The Teller House is famous for the bar

Great place for a drink

Great place for a drink

and the face painted on the bar room floor.  Mom could not get a good picture of the face on the barroom floor so we bought this post card.

Face on the barroom floor post card with Zeb

Face on the barroom floor post card with Zeb

After lunch at Stella’s Upstairs Café in the Bonanza Casino, we went to the opera.

Central City Opera

Central City Opera

The grand opening of this opera house was in 1878.  We saw Deadman Walking.

Other operas also this summer.  Deadman Walking was ours today

Other operas also this summer. Deadman Walking was ours today

We were not allowed to take pictures during the performance.  This is just before the opera began.  The stage is dark, with only one chair.

Opera will begin soon.  See the orchestra pit.

Opera will begin soon. See the orchestra pit.

You can see the orchestra pit under the stage.  This was my first opera.  Does this mean I am a cultured duck?  I really liked this opera and our friend was fabulous.  He can act and he can sing!

Central City is an old mining town, so we looked around one of the cemeteries.

Old towns have interesting cemeteries

Old towns have interesting cemeteries

This headstone is for William Quiller.

Headstone of William Quiller

Head stone of William Quiller

He was born in England on March 31, 1816 and died January 10, 1897.  That is an old headstone.  It began to rain, so we left.  You might remember that I was in Central City last September.  To read about that visit, click on this link   www.coloradotravelingducks.com/2013/09/09/zeb-visits-central-city-colorado/  We like Central City and we think you would also.  Hope you visit here soon.  It is so pretty!

Giant Redwood Trees in Colorado

What a surprise.  The redwood trees of California used to live just west of Colorado Springs.  I, Zeb the Duck, and my mom visited the 6,000 acre Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.

Let's see the fossils!

Let’s see the fossils!

Thirty-four million years ago, the meadow was Lake Florissant.  There are many rare fossils from here.  Colorado has the fossil of a tsetse fly.  The tsetse fly now can only be found in equatorial Africa.  It used to live in Colorado with giant redwood trees.

Redwoods in Colorado

Redwoods in Colorado

In the visitor’s center you can watch a short film about the fossils.  The visitor’s center has great displays also.  Here is one with fossils.

Great display

Great display

Fossils of insects and plants have been recovered from this area.  If you hike through the 15 miles of trails, you may see wildlife.  We saw this prairie dog close to the front entrance of the visitor’s center.

Official greeter?

Official greeter?

Now, about those redwood trees in Colorado.  This sign shows that these are redwoods.

Yes.  Redwoods in Colorado

Yes. Redwoods in Colorado

This one is just behind the visitor’s center.  That really was a huge tree!

GIANT  Redwood!

GIANT Redwood!

Wandering along the trails, this is a peaceful view.

Stress free area.

Stress free area.

Hard to imagine this meadow was once a lake.

A couple miles from the visitor’s center you can visit the Hornbek Homestead.  This homestead was built in 1878 for Adeline Hornbek and her four children.  It was the first homestead in the Florissant Valley.

Hornbek Homestead

Hornbek Homestead

This homestead is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and now belongs to the National Park Service.

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is a great place.  You will like it if you visit.  For more information visit www.nps.gov/flfo   We really like this National Monument.  Visit it when you are in the area.  You will be glad you did.

You should see this place!

You should see this place!

 

 

A Glimpse of Victor, Colorado with Zeb the Duck

A few days ago I told you about the Donkey Derby in Cripple Creek.  After the Donkey Derby, we went the short distance to Victor.   Victor is often referred to as the city of mines.

Entering Victor, Colorado

Entering Victor, Colorado

Gold was discovered there in the late 19th century.

This is one of the old homes in town.

Very nice home

Very nice home

I love the design of these older homes.  The Baptists were the first to organize a church in Victor, and that church is still an important part of the community today.

Baptist church in Victor, Colorado

Baptist church in Victor, Colorado

This church has a two-story brick bell tower.

This is the fire department.

Great fire trucks!

Great fire trucks!

Isn’t that a great door!  Near the fire department we found an ore cart.

Wow!  A ton of gold ore

Wow! A ton of gold ore

This cart, when filled, contains one ton of gold ore!

Here I am riding a blue elk.

Zeb riding the blue ek

Zeb riding the blue ek

Even historic mining towns  have cute things for tourists and this traveling duck.

A reminder of the gold days of the late 19th century and early 20th century, this gold mine looks pretty good.

Old gold mine

Old gold mine

And, today they are still mining here in Victor.  In 2012 they brought 250,000 troy ounce of gold from the mines.  The Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mine is a successful, working gold mine.

Visit this museum

Visit this museum

Victor, the city of gold mines, is nearly 10,000 feet above sea level and is on the southwest side of Pikes Peak about 50 miles from Colorado Springs.  You will enjoy a visit to this town.  We did!

National Pina Colada Day

Zeb the Duck here with some important news for humans.  Today, July 10 is Pina Colada Day.  You don’t need to be on a beach to enjoy this refreshing tropical cocktail.  No matter where you are in the world, a pina colada is a great way to sit back, relax and enjoy a little taste of summer.

Did you know that pina coladas originated in San Juan, Puerto Rico?  The term, “pina colada” means “strained pineapple” in Spanish, which makes perfect sense.  A traditional recipe calls for pineapple juice, light rum, and coconut cream poured over crushed ice.  Yes, these are good even without the rum, so humans of all ages can enjoy this beverage.

If you like pina coladas, fix yourself an ice cold drink, top it with a mini umbrella, and celebrate National Pina Colada Day!

Thanks to http://www.punchbowl.com for this information