Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 7 July 22, 2011

Last night we camped high in the mountains. We were almost as high as the Alpine Tundra. The Alpine Tundra is so high, and the air is so thin that trees cannot grow there so the tops of the mountains are bald.

There is an old abandoned mining town up where we camped, named St. Elmo. Almost 25 years ago my parents and grandparents were camping in this campground. It is VERY far away from anything. The next night my mom went in to labor with my sister Elizabeth. My mom was 7.5 months pregnant and fixing to head back to Texas where 6 weeks later she would have her first baby. Elizabeth had other ideas apparently she wanted to be born in Colorado. Thankfully she waited until they were semi-near a hospital before she decided to be born. She was born in Boulder, Co in a hospital where she stayed for nearly a week before being released to fly home with my mom.

Elizabeth woke up early as usual

I slept until the sun woke me up

Matthew was cold so he curled up in a sleeping bag outside in a lawn chair

Daniel woke up and read his Kindle

We started off the day with a hike around the old Iron City Cemetery.

It was a very interesting cemetery. They had a sign at the entrance that told who most of the people where and how they died.

I always wonder how people died when I am walking around a cemetery, especially the young people. There were 2 brothers buried here that both died of Typhoid fever one died when he was 14 and the other when he was 10 but they died 7 years apart.

Then there was this gravestone it read “Here Lies Lester Moore 4 slugs from a 44 no less no more ” kinda weird I wonder if it is a joke but the wooden grave marker looks really old.

Then we went in to the old town of Saint Elmo. St. Elmo is one of the most intact ghost towns in the west and most of the buildings have not been altered since they were constructed. The city was originally named Forest City but Forest City California was already in existence so the post office would not allow the name so the town was renamed St. Elmo.

This is an old water pipe that used to supply the city with water

These are their ballot instructions in Italian

The school with a HUGE stove to keep the kids warm

After walking around St. Elmo for a while we decided to take a rocky mountain road up to the mining town of Hancock. Hancock was most likely established in 1800 and have numerous buildings(saloons, resterrants, a train depot, telegraph office, mining shacks and cabins). At the elevation of 11,027 feet living conditions were harsh so the town was short lived.

all that is left of the town are these remnants of one of the Saloons

Elizabeth at Hancock with the mountains

Me at Hancock with the mountains

SNOW on the mountains

This is a dirt road that we made it up part of the way but had to turn around b/c our van did not have the clearance to make it up and over the rocky areas.

after we left the mountains we drove to Colorado Spring where we are camped and spending the night at a private campground with SHOWERS, flush toilets and even a laundry room so my mom, dad and sister are doing laundry while I post my blog :)

Day 6 July 21, 2011

Our fist stop of the day was Bishop Castle. It started as a family construction project situated in the San Isabel National Forest. The castle is named after its constructor, Jim Bishop. Construction of the castle began in 1969 when Bishop began construction on a family cottage, which he decided to surround with rocks. Several neighbors noted that the structure looked something like a castle. Bishop took this into consideration and soon began building his castle. He bought the land when he was fifteen for a price of $1,250. There are no rules at the castle you may climb anywhere at your own risk. While we were there it started to storm, it was lightning, thundering and even hailing so we did not go up to the top of the towers. We have visited the castle numerous times over the years. Mr. Bishop is still constructing the castle so there are new things every time we go.

inside the castle

Matthew in the big chair!

the hail at the castle

hail on the side of the road

on the steps of the castle

more hail...

After driving for a while we stopped by the Colorado Territorial Prison while is now in use as a State Prison. The prison is built against the mountain to make it extremely hard to escape.

This is a gas Chamber that was actually used.

This is me in one of the old jail cells, this cell was originally in use inside the prison.

The prison walls

A fire truck at the prison

The we went to Royal Gorge Bridge which was originally constructed as a tourist attraction. Measuring from deck to the river below, the Royal Gorge Bridge held the record of highest bridge in the world from 1929 to 2003. It is now the highest bridge in North America. The bridge is now part of an amusement park so we did not go it and walk across but we did get to see it. It is super HIGH!

I thought the cattle in this field looked so beautiful against the backdrop of the mountains

We do a lot of riding in the car on our vacation so here are a few pictures of us in the car.

Daniel reading his Kindle

Elizabeth reading her book

Matthew playing(we were stopped at a gas station)

getting cold water bottles out of the camper fridge

Taking a brake from our car ride