For Coloradans, it’s easy to take for granted their accessibility to the high country. Cars drive to the summits of Mt Evans and Pikes Peak on a daily basis. Though some truly do appreciate these sights and wonders, I doubt they understand the toil it took to create such modern day wonders.
The largest of Colorado’s 14ers are not the state’s most spectacular. Once adventurers see lonely outreaches like Telluride, Aspen, or Lake City, a new sense of the word “awesome” enters their vocabulary. But it’s not the sheer cliffs that leave them in awe, but the general inaccessibility; the forces of nature that push back with a vengeance.
We owe a great debt to the explorers and miners of the 1800s. Without them, we wouldn’t have the national parks, roads, or industry that all of us enjoy each day. Ever since gold was discovered in Colorado in 1859 (click HERE for more) the landscape and attitudes of locals has changed. Though Aspen and Telluride led the way early on concerning mining and accessibility (due to the Rio Grande railroad), places like Ouray and Lake City (click HERE for more) held their own and etched an existence into the vertical walls that held the precious metals. Because of the aggressive nature of miners, we have jeep roads and mountain highways alike. Some of these roads lead to places such as Wetterhorn Peak (seen above), which offered gold and silver claims in the late 1800s. Though more successful back then, a number of claims still exist and produce to this day. I would say this is living history (click HERE for more), but there’s only one way to find out…
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