So, we have been home from our “out west” vacation 2013 for a week now, and I’ve had a chance to catch my breath and share some sights with you.
After flying out to Denver, we made the acquaintance of our home for the next 9 days and 2500 miles. The girls were not too excited by its size, seeing as they’re used to a van. Can’t say as I blame them, but since vans rent for a considerably higher price, a car would have to do …
… and we were off, into the Colorado wilderness. Each time I’ve visited the West, it amazes me to see the breathtaking scenery. After living pretty much my whole life in relatively flat Indiana, it’s awe-inspiring to see huge mountains. I can’t imagine waking up each morning and looking out to see such sights! What a glimpse of God’s glory. Are there any atheists in the western states? Surely not!
So, our first stop was the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine. It was near the Colorado wildfires, and we could even see smoke in the distance. Interestingly enough, the folks working in the giftshop speculated that many of these fires were set on purpose, to get more federal money for the state. Hmmmm …
The mine was named for Mollie Kathleen Gortner, who staked the claim to the land it’s on in 1891. Gold was mined here for years, until 1961. We took the tour, where we went down 1000 feet into the ground.
We walked and rode around underground, learning lots of interesting nuggets of wisdom from our guide, who was the 5th generation of his family to work in mines. What I took away from the tour:
- I am glad I do not work in a mine. Too much noise, danger, and general unpleasantness. Go to college, kids!
- Our guide showed us a stable in the mine used to house donkeys who worked there pulling carts from 1901-1934. They were blind because they lived their entire lives underground. However, Theodore Roosevelt learned about this and put a stop to the practice. I read that Roosevelt served from 1901-1909, so I’m not sure the facts are quite right here. Nonetheless, interesting story.
We each got to choose a small piece of rock/gold/whatever from a mine car, and back up to the surface we went. And UP is what it was — many of these cities were at an elevation of 8000 feet or more. I could definitely tell it was harder to breathe, which was a bit disconcerting. The first night I even woke up several times, in a minor panic because I couldn’t get a deep enough breath. Thankfully, after a day or two this resolved.