An historic weekend in the mountains

Published: June 20th 2011
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Saturday 18th June 2011

First stop on today's adventure was the town of Breckenridge only a short drive from Silverthorne. The weather had resumed its perfect status, clear blue skies and little wind. First stop was at the Information Centre where it was confirmed that there would be a guided tour commencing at 11am. As it was only 10.15, we wandered off down the main street, coincidentally named Main Street, looking into shops and art galleries. Judy found a lovely fleece top, her colour, which just had to be bought to help fill the extra suitcase we purchased yesterday. We noted a cafe named 'Clints' to go back to after our tour.

The tour guide, Gail, was dressed in period costume and told us that the theme of the walk was "How the miners spent their money". This fitted in with the history of the town which started in the 1850s when gold was first discovered there. At this time the town was divided by the river and main street with stores and hotels on either side of the street, houses behind the stores with camps behind them. On the other side of the river was the 'industrial' area with the red light area behind that.

Gail was very knowledgeable of the period and told little anecdotes about various people such as the amorous storekeeper who was challenged to a duel, the wine saloon that had a safe and was therefore used by miners to store their gold as they didn't trust banks etc. One of the banks did go bankrupt and the saloon bought their premises and installed the safe there.

Some of the buildings are still close to original, and Gail explained why some had their entrances set in. Apparently, it was a state law for bars to have this so that when the swinging doors opened suddenly when a drunk was evicted, passing pedestrians wouldn't be struck by the door!

The tour ended at a cafe which had a long history for good food, today members of the local historical society were selling hamburgers and cakes as a fund raiser. As it was a fundraiser for a good cause, we both had a very average hamburger before escaping back to "Clints". Here we spoiled ourselves , or at least forgot about our waistlines, and had a cappuccino each as well as a rich, chocolate, peanut butter slice and another rich biscuit we can't remember the name of. Judy, as usual, only wanted a 'taste' of both, Rags valiantly forced himself to eat both. Could be some serious dieting and exercise needed when we return to Queensland, although, as usual, Rags doesn't seem to have put on any weight!

After browsing in a few more shops, we continued through the mountains, stopping at Hoosier Pass, the continental divide, one side sloping towards the Pacific, the other the Atlantic. We continued on to Fairplay, named by the early gold seekers in the 1860s because everyone gave each other a chance to find gold, unlike where in nearby areas they were locked out. We found out about this town from our friends in Cheyenne who recommended we visit.

Fairplay is now a mainly tourist area, with a replica town, South Park City, being the main attraction. This display consists of a street with restored buildings, machinery, a replica mine, all furnished as they were originally. We spent some time exploring this display enjoying and in some ways comparing it to the Australian gold fields. Conditions must have been harsh in that period as they were in the Australian fields, the differences being the extremes of heat rather than cold, and the abundance of water compared to our desert.

On our return to Silverthorne we commented on how much the snow remaining had decreased since we first came here about a fortnight ago. It won't be long before it has all gone, and from what they say in the local paper, the fire season begins. Hard to imagine at the moment.

Sunday, 19th June 2011

We kept reading about the town, Keystone, so decided that today, we would go there before going on to Breckenridge, where this afternoon they are holding the 5th Annual Outhouse races. Keystone is only about 8 kms away, the reason we hadn't seen it was that it was out of the way, we traveling in different directions.

The town itself was almost deserted, this because the ski season is the main reason it exists. The town was mainly set up for accommodation with ski lodges, hotels and upmarket housing. It was well set out, plenty of places for people to park during the season but otherwise a bit of a disappointment on our part. Even so,
Lots of attractive signs in Breckenridge.Lots of attractive signs in Breckenridge.Lots of attractive signs in Breckenridge.

This one took our fancy - i wonder why?
we can now add it to the places we have seen and picture it if it comes up in conversation.

Breckenridge was much busier than it was yesterday, and after a tasty lunch of Chicken Thai salad we wandered around the many shops, all having sales, and followed a trail alongside the river for some distance. We didn't succumb to the cheap shopping today, feeling it had to be a very special price or very special before we would add it to our bulging suitcase.

By 3pm we had a good viewpoint for the races which consisted of teams of 5 with 1 a passenger, in an outhouse (read loo or dunny) on wheels. The other 4 had to tow it along a course competing against another team. Between the heats the kids were involved in events such as wrapping each other up in toilet paper to make a dummy, distance kicking a toilet roll, musical toilets and catching 'rings' on a toilet plunger mounted on a partner's head. There were many laughs and a good time was had by all.

Neither of us felt like cooking by the time we got back so another visit to the cafe, Chipotle. More good food was had, this, sadly, being the last time we will come here as we are leaving tomorrow.
Thanks to our hosts, Ed and Cathy, who we met on the Russian river cruise last year, we have had a most enjoyable holiday, and even though they couldn't be with us this week, they generously allowed us the use of their condo here.

Additional photos below
Photos: 24, Displayed: 24


The DredgeThe Dredge
The Dredge

This old dredge was converted to a restaurant and now sits on the river in Breckenridge.

20th June 2011

Well you are certainly catching up with American History . The black period costume looked lovely, but the other one was very drab, in my opinion. But I'm sure it made your whole experience of Breckenridge more enjoyable. And I thought every man knew that when an article of clothing caught a woman's eye and is just the right colour ! Consider it sold !! Enjoying the photos, keep enjoying yourselves,love Mum.
20th June 2011

What a colourful place. Did you have any luck with gold panning? Love Kerry.

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