Starting out for a week-long road trip to Santa Fe and environs in October, I took one of the many scenic routes through the Colorado mountains.
Leadville, at 10,000 feet in altitude, was a convenient place to stop and stretch my legs, walking around town. Like the town I live in, and many Colorado mountain towns established in the late 1800s, the Victorian era, Leadville sprouted up quickly in the search for gold. The more plentiful silver made fortunes for miners in the boom town, until the federal government abandoned silver, establishing the gold standard. Once home to saloons and brothels, Harrison Avenue, the main street, is lined with gift shops and eateries, yet still picturesque.
The nostalgic Golden Burro was still serving late breakfast, smothered in a pile of fruit, to the tunes of Frankie and Bing, Ella and Satchmo, Sam Cooke and Billie Holiday.
Mural art around town
On the road out of town, graduating classes leave their mark on huge rocks each year during Boom Days.
Heading south through Colorado, it’s a route along some of the highest peaks of the Rocky Mountains. Mount Elbert is the highest in the state at 14,439 ft (366+ meters). The range to the south of Elbert, along the western wall of the drive, are the Collegiate peaks, including Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.
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