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Published: June 12th 2016
In the afternoon after our balloon ride June 9 we hiked McCullough Gorge trail. This turned out to be quite challenging due to a lot of snow on the trail and a lack of blazes to show the way. It was only about 3 miles round trip but took us 3 hours with a stop for lunch. We ended at beautiful White Falls which was roaring at peak flow due to snow melt with the warm temperatures (70s) we've been having. Aside from the falls the highlight was three fat marmots that we saw in a couple of rock piles along the way. Driving back to town we noticed several cars parked on the side of the road, always a good sign in wildlife areas. There stood a huge male moose with a full rack of antlers. He let us watch him for about five minutes before disappearing into the woods.
The next day, Wayne gave his presentation at the AERE conference after frantically finishing it that morning. Meanwhile I visited the Breckenridge Recreation Center and took two group classes, fun and not too challenging. There I heard about a free gondola ride up to a fun park on Peak
8. It was a little disconcerting when the gondola stopped a couple of times, once for about ten minutes. Hmm, how would they get us out of here if necessary? Well, fortunately, I didn't have to find out. The fun park had loads of people out to enjoy the warm day (about 80 degrees, really hot for the mountains). There was a climbing wall, alpine slide, mini golf, etc., and it might have been more tempting if the pass had not been $77!
In the late afternoon we took four friends back to the place where we had seen mountain goats previously, without telling them what a close encounter we had had, just in case the goats didn't show up this time. However, the goats came through for us, gathering at 7 pm again in the parking lot to lick the salt off our cars! As a bonus, a little pika peaked out and scampered along the rocks near us. Pikas are about the cutest animals ever, and this was the best view I've ever had of one. I will post a photo nabbed from the web, because he was too quick for us. Then we returned to town
and had a nice meal at Kenosha Steak House. Nachos recommended!
June 11. I went to the gym again while Wayne did some sessions. We had to check out of our room at noon, but Wayne had some meetings in the afternoon, so I bided my time blogging in the lobby and walking through town one last time. It really is a lovely setting with the snowy mountains towering above the classic western Main Street. When it was time to leave, we drove to Country Boy (gold) Mine and had a tour walking 1000 feet horizontally into a cross cut mine. It was cold and wet, so fortunately helmets and raincoats were provided. The miners had to stand in cold spring water that runs through the shaft, and they had to share one candle for each pair of men, because a candle uses up more oxygen than a breathing person, and suffocation was a real danger. The miners' job was to hammer steel rods into the rock for ten hours a day, receiving $3 for their work and risk. Many died of silicosis after about three years of breathing the rock dust. Boys aged 7-12 were then paid 10
cents per day to go into the mine and place sticks of dynamite into the drilled holes, light the fuses, run out, and count to make sure that all charges went off. If not, they had to go back in and retrieve them! After the explosions the miners would shovel the loosened ore into carts weighing up to two tons, and the carts were pushed out by the men or by donkeys that lived all of their lives inside the dark mines. It felt very good to emerge from the mine into the sun and warmth. I hope never to complain about my job after seeing this!
Now we are off to Denver to fly to Brazil. New blog to follow. Thanks for reading!
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