Exploring Skagway Reservoir

Another day with no definite plan… Not that that is anything unusual, I rarely have a plan other than to wake up and have coffee. One of the ideas that has been rattling around in the background of my mind for a while has been to make the jaunt from Victor over to Skagway Reservoir.ย  As the coffee soaked in andย consciousness slowly began to percolate it occurred to me that today could be that day!

Foggy Mount Pisgah

First of all though, a stop at Grouse Mountain for my first climb to the overlook with Big Dog since my clutch bit the dust last January. I knew it was way too foggy to see the Sangre but I took the camera along in hopes that we might see some elk or deer. No luck with that, but the fog turned the nearby mountains into mystical ghostly shapes that created a completely different scene than usual. After a nice walk through the woods we climbed back into Old Faithful and headed for Victor. I was hoping that the fog had extended to the old mines there for some more cool photo ops but the sky was clear and bright and the mines were the same as always. I didn’t make any effort to get more of the same old photographs there.

Off to Phantom Canyon Road to the Skagway turnoff. Can’t say I was too impressed with the long washboard gravel road… Very annoying. No wildlife and no good views to photograph anywhere along the road either. Perhaps had we gotten an earlier start there would have been some mist and wildlife but 9:00 a.m. must be nap time for the local critters. The drive was so long and rough that I was about to give up when I saw what appeared to be a few cars parked in the distance. Must be it I thought, so I persevered, finally… success! Placid water and a dam came into view along with a few fishermen who had also braved the dirt road.

Skagway Reservoir

As we pulled in I could barely see the water through the glare of the morning sun… I noticed that I could see much better with sunglasses on so I figured this might be a good time for my B&W circular polarizer. It didn’t take long to discover the best vantage point for a shot… water like glass with the south Face of 14,115 foot Pikes Peak in the background. Big Dog was of course way more interested in the plethora of prairie dogs that were scurrying about the place foraging for food ๐Ÿ™‚

Wild Turkeys

I still held out hope that I would spot some wildlife on the return trip and it wasn’t long before I spotted a rafter of turkeys… Why a “rafter”? Well apparently according to this entertaining website, in the days of old the word raft used to mean collection ๐Ÿ™‚ Well anyway a few shots of the large birds and we were on our way home to review the day’s photographic bounty. Unfortunately on this day the images looked better on the camera than they do on the computer, but it was still a nice day and now I have seen the reservoir which by the way has quite an interesting history!

The reservoir itself was constructed in 1899 followed in 1901 by an electrical power station a few miles down Beaver Creek. At one time there was a tramway to the power station but after a major flood the station and apparently the tram were destroyed. According to the Mountain Jackpot there was a massive rainfall on Woodland Park and Cripple Creek that overwhelmed the Skagway dam burying the reservoir in 15 feet of debris and destroying the power pipeline which was never repaired. The power station survived but is now on accessible by hiking down the rugged terrain through Beaver Creek.

These images and more are now available on my website for purchase as wall art and commercial stock! Stay tuned, my next adventure is still in the planning stage but I hope to get out to Cottonwood Pass where I will explore the trail to the mountain goat viewing area ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Advertisements

The Detour

Had to make a second trip to the city to complete the transaction to acquire my new glasses. For some reason, even though my lenses were in stock the lab was not able to get the specs ready until today. Since they won’t mail to a P.O. Box and Cripple Creek doesn’t deliver mail there was no choice but to make a second trip all the way back down to the city. Pretty sure the Russians had something to do with this inconvenience ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

WildernessWell on the way down I noticed traffic backing up from halfway down Ute Pass all the way to the 31st Street, grrrrr…. So I decided I was not going to come back up that way but there are only two other choices, go almost to Denver or go through Canon City. I’ve never taken the High Drive route from Cripple to Canon, so I thought, “What the heck, today is the day!”. Only problem was that it was close to 100 degrees in Canon and I’m used to like maybe 65.

Can’t say I was impressed with Canon City… just a plain ordinary ugly town that seemed to go on forever. I did find the turnoff to Phantom Canyon which I almost took but reminded myself that my mission was to map out the paved road along the Sangre in hopes of a future photo trip. Phantom Canyon is one that I want to try from the Victor end and will most likely not take all the way to Canon City. Well anyway, I was expecting to see a turnoff to High Drive close to Canon City but never did and finally arrived at the Highway 9 turnoff near the Royal Gorge.ย  I was pretty sure that the next stop on Highway 50 was going to be Salida so I figured I’d better get while the getting was good. Much to my surprise though, after a few miles I did finally encounter the High Drive / Gold Belt Tour road back to Cripple.

Once again, can’t say I was too impressed. Just a lot of seriously sun baked hills and some pine trees along with a lot of scrub oak and a few aspen trees. Might be nice in the fall but I saw nothing worth stopping to get out the camera for.

Finally home with my new glasses which I am completely not used to… It’s been two years since a case of soup at Walmart finished my other ones off and these are making hills where there are no hills… I vaguely remember going through something like this when I got glasses for the first time and the girl assured me that my brain would compensate. I’m assuming that the same will be true this time. All in all I would have to say that this was a good day, got to try out a new road and avoided a whole lot of stop and go traffic in Ute Pass ๐Ÿ™‚

Cripple Creek Crisis

At work the other day trying to concentrate on some task when over the radio comes a long story, “If you know anything about this… ” type of thing. Didn’t catch it all so I just finished the task at hand, vowing to inquire about the issue as soon as I had some time. Something about a lost turtle it sounded like. I assumed it must be an important earring or heirloom of some sort that I was going to have to log and track.

Finally freed myself up to go look into the “lost turtle” issue and went to the main desk to see what was up. Well it turns out that the lost turtle was a real live homeless turtle. The call was from City Hall where the little fellow was temporarily taking shelter until his owner could be located or until he was claimed by a responsible party. City Hall was calling all the businesses in town to see if anyone had any information on the testudinalย  animal. Lol… not sure if I used that word right, but probably no one else is either… and I like it ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Don’t know how it all turned out… one of our crew was going to check into taking custody if no one else claimed him, but I do have a few pertinent questions. How does a turtle get away in the first place? Did they open the door and he just bolted? And how hard could it be to run down a turtle? What kind of people would be unable to thwart a turtle escape plan? You have to love Cripple Creek though… Where else would you find a town in which City Hall could take the time to call all the businesses in town to track down a wayward turtle’s owner? What other town would have businesses that go on full alert for a turtle? All I have to say is, “You gotta love Cripple Creek!” ๐Ÿ™‚