Out West Vacation 2013: Leadville Colorado & the Continental Divide

Leadville Colorado

So, after our visit to the Mollie Kathleen Mine and exploring around Cripple Creek, we spent the night in Leadville Colorado. I’d never heard of Leadville before (and I’m not sure if it’s pronounced LEED-ville or LED-ville; anyone know?), but I learned that it’s the highest city in the US in elevation. As I mentioned last time, it was definitely harder to breathe there. The mountains in the background were so pretty, and how amazing to see all that snow in June! Nearby is Vail, where lots of people go skiing.

Tabor Opera House Leadville

We began the morning by driving through the Leadville metropolis, which was quite small. One interesting sight was the Tabor Opera House, built in 1879. Acclaimed as “largest and best west of the Mississippi,” it hosted Houdini, John Philip Sousa, and Oscar Wilde. Apparently there are still performances and tours there, but we were too early.

Tabor Opera House Leadville CO

Heading out of Leadville. So pretty!
Leadville Colorado

On we drove, and this was a common scene in the vehicle:

kids car electronics texting

The kids were busy with their electronic “toys.” Although I brought several books, both regular and on the Kindle, I read very little. It just seemed wrong to drive by so many beautiful sights, many of which I may never see again, with my nose in a book. I looked out the window for most of the entire trip.

Soon there was something else interesting: signs indicating the Continental Divide. The Continental Divide, you may remember learning in school, is a line indicating a high point that is a watershed for water draining toward either the Atlantic or the Pacific.

Continental Divide

I can believe that the Divide is a high point, because by now we were flying around switchback roads, often (to me) dangerously close to mountain edges with no guardrails. You will not have to worry about me volunteering to walk a tightrope across the Grand Canyon anytime soon! It’s amazing how roads snake back and forth, up and down the mountains. I often thought about pioneers heading out here, or even the first explorers like Lewis and Clark. Imagine coming across these huge mountains! How on earth would you try to cross them? Of course, at that time there would also be a whole lot more large (and hungry) animals, and Indians. Yikes!

We soon reached our next destination — come back Friday to see what it is!

4 thoughts on “Out West Vacation 2013: Leadville Colorado & the Continental Divide

  1. Your writings remind me to hold the early pioneers in this country even in greater awe. What brave people they were!

  2. I’m glad you spent your time looking at the scenery. How sad that your girls chose to play with their electronic toys. Of all of God’s creation, I think nature is the thing I prize most highly, aside from humanity.

  3. Loved seeing the snow-capped Rockies again! Joe and I will be seeing them by train in October on our way to CA. Can’t wait! I will never forget the Continental Divide, because I could barely breathe there. Having a heart murmur didn’t help. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the scenery and were scared of those hairpin curves the same as I did. Thanks for the memories!

  4. P.S. The town in CO is pronounced “Led”ville. :)

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