A Little Exploring

My original plan for the day was to just stay home and give these tired old legs some rest… Lol, in my case, the flesh is willing but the spirit isn’t, I’m  just not good at resting it would seem! So once again I decided to load up my backpack, get on my bike and see where the day would lead me. First off I noticed that I could still get down to Bronco Billy’s in time for the cheap breakfast, so down the hill I coasted for some French Toast while I pondered my next move.

I thought about seeing if I could ride clear to Victor but the sound of the Cripple Creek / Victor train whistle reminded me that I had yet to explore the abandoned mines on the mountainside visible from my bedroom window. There aren’t any obvious roads going up there and I have been wondering for almost a year now if I could get up there for some images. Well… today was the day as I began my journey by pedaling east through town towards the dirt road that leads up to the narrow gauge train tracks. I always figured that it was private property beyond the train tracks because there is a sign posted beyond there along the dirt trail. However as it turns out the sign is just a notice of the Cripple Creek mine reclamation project boundary, so the area is fair game.

Cripple Creek Train

The first hill was wicked and I was not able to pedal up it, but I didn’t mind pushing the old 21 speed for a few feet to the top. As I neared the top of the first ridge I could hear the train whistle getting louder and also saw the most beautiful view of the tracks that I have ever seen. The train tracks can be seen winding out of the forest against a backdrop of a magnificent valley with the rugged Sangre de Cristo mountain range in the background. Only today you have to look very close to see the mountains, unfortunately it appears the Arkansas River Valley is filling with smoke from the distant fires in the southwest corner of the state. Took a few shots of the train and some abandoned buildings located in the vicinity before looking around to see if the trail would continue.

Abandoned Gold Mine

There did appear to be some sort of access road leading along the ridge toward the big mine so I thought I might give that a try on the bike. It was nice road for mountain biking, but it only went about a half a mile back into the woods before coming to an end at another mine reclamation sign. At that point I got off the bike to look around for a possible composition or maybe a foot trail, neither of which seemed to be available. There was a steep berm created for the reclamation project leading up to the top of the next ridge, not something that looked like it was wanting to be climbed but I was curious what kind of view might be possible from the summit. So I found a climbing stick for myself and headed up the steep hillside. Unfortunately the top was a false summit and proved to only be the bottom of another even worse climb that I was not in the mood to tackle. However there did appear to be a trail leading around to the south that looked well worth checking out but only ended up at the base of the big mine in view of the massive trucks hauling ore.

On the way back down the hillside I hoped I would spot a two pound gold nugget just laying out in the open… No such luck but I did find a giant rusty iron spike weighing about five pounds. Although I would have liked to add it to my collection of useless junk it was far to heavy for me to want to carry on my bike all the way back to town! It appears that gold and riches will have to wait for another day.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sangre_de_Cristo_Range

The ride back down was much easier than the ride up, although there was once place where the downhill on rocky gravel was so steep that I thought better of it and got off and walked. I have never forgotten the harsh lesson of an endo that I experienced on the White Ranch Trail system over 20 years ago! Riding a bike is something you never forget, so they say… but flying off a bike upside down onto a rocky mountain trail is something you never forget too!

So… calling the day a success, I got a little exercise that I really didn’t need or want and a few nice images of the failed mining endeavors attempted by my Cripple Creek predecessors for my website if you would like to take a look 🙂 Wall art on metal and acrylic is available as is more traditional framed and matted prints. Cool household and gift items are also available, including coffee mugs, t-shirts, yoga mats, blankets, beach towels and more! Just above the images on the site there is a button for galleries, which are how I divide my work up into categories if you would like to explore my site a little more thoroughly 😉

 

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Cripple Creek

I never wanted to live in the city, the mountains were my dream… And I did want to travel around the country and see new places but with no money and no real plan, the Air Force seemed to be a reasonable solution. Unfortunately that choice took me directly to the big city where I learned how to program computers. That of course landed me in even bigger cities, the Bay Area in California and eventually Denver, the place I called home for over a quarter of a century. Through it all though, I never got used to the city, the crowds, the traffic, the long commutes and the incredible waste of time required to accomplish the most mundane tasks, like going to the store or the post office.

Sunrise over Cripple Creek

Finally, after four decades of surburban hell, I am out and I’m never going back. Getting settled nicely in Cripple Creek now, although my progress has been slightly interrupted by car trouble. Which is what brings me to this post… Although I haven’t had transportation for a few days, I haven’t missed any work, only a 15 minute walk. Dropped off the truck for repairs this morning and only had a five minute walk home… This is how life should be, my life anyway.

Spring 2017

Wow… been a long winter. Here on the north face of Pikes Peak there isn’t much to photograph during the dark winter months. Between the winter and spring travels of the sun on the other side of the equator, Pikes Peak sits in the frozen silence of a season without sunlight. Although fascinating to watch, the dull rocky peak in shade is not much to photograph.

Sangre De Cristo MountainsHowever, the signs of spring are in the air although you wouldn’t know it tonight as I sit here shivering while huddled in four layers at my keyboard! We have been getting quite a few warm sunny days, most of the leftover ice has melted and there is a hint of light on the icy mountain. Of course spring is the snowiest season in Colorado, but many beautiful days in between the storms ease the pain of the seemingly never ending Colorado snow.

Late winter finds me prepared for spring, sporting a new Lowepro  camera bag, a repaired and tuned Canon 70-200 F4l IS, Ice Trekkers replaced and my spirit and desire to get out and start shooting again restored 🙂 In addition, I have finally converted my blog to “Premier” in order to begin earning some income from it… Hoping that the monetary incentive will spur me on to new adventures so that I will have something to write about.

Also it looks like I may be moving to Cripple Creek, an old west setting complete with nearby ghost towns, gold mines and saloons that I have been wanting to study and photograph for a long time. Following the death of “The Examiner”, where I was a content provider for outdoor sports articles, my writing has been a bit random. With the conversion to a Premium account I have acquired the domain name swkrullimaging.com, and I intend to devote this blog to all things photography. Politics I will leave to the pundits and political commentators. I am certain that they will be able to carry on splendidly without me, and avoiding that subject will undoubtedly do much for my mood and my spirit.

Although I have made a few trips house hunting to my intended new location recently, I have not been there for optimal lighting for photography. Tomorrow is going to be a perfect day and I intend to cruise down Highway 67 to Cripple at just the right time specifically to photograph the magnificent mountain range known as the Sangre De Cristo Range. The light should be perfect at right about 10:00 a.m. as it clears the high peaks of 10,500 foot Tenderfoot Pass and shines on the jagged snow capped 13,000 foot mountain range dividing the waters of the North American continent. An added benefit of the adventure will of course be 49 cent breakfast at the Bronco Billy’s Casino on Bennett Avenue 🙂

Right now though, time to check my equipment, make sure batteries are charged, lenses clean and proper equipment packed. I am so looking forward to this! Hopefully tomorrow evening will bring a new blog post complete with pictures!

Steve Krull is a prolific sports and nature photographer selling prints and stock images online as S.W. Krull Imaging at various sites and agencies. Click this link to view all the products and services offered by Steve Krull and S. W. Krull Imaging. Additional services include, wedding photography, portraiture and model portfolios, and event photography. Additional products include fine art stock imagery, prints and gift items