The Matchless was just our first stop on The Route of the Silver Kings, a mapped driving tour (you can pick up a free map all over town) of the 20 square-mile historic mining district around Leadville. In 1879, thousands rushed to these hills below the Mosquito Range and now they are covered with abandoned mines, camps and ghost towns.
Little mine, big dreams
This operation was bigger. Mine dumps scar the hills. Back then, they were clear cut.
Trees were planted and have spread. Now old timbers fall to the growing forest.
Long-plumed Avens, Old Man's Whiskers
This was Stumptown. Molly Brown lived here as a new bride. A creek flooded the valley, and Gil stopped to cast the fly rod for a while.
boarded-up shaft and a ladder
a bucket of whitewash, the brush dried inside
I think this is Adelaide City. It had a population of over 2,500, lawyers, a doctor and a school.
Mt. Elbert, highest peak in Colorado. These buildings have been buried by 150 winters of snow, a century and a half of mountaintop winds have blown through their boards. What a hard and desolate life it must have been! An adventure for some, searching for glittering fortune in the hills.