Monday, July 2, 2012

More of El Jebel-Marble, Crystal Mill and Lead King Basin

I was up here back in the fall of 2008.  Because of my leg, I'm still not doing much walking, so I did not take the walking tour of the old Marble Processing Plant.  For pictures and more info on the history, check out my blog from 2008:

There was lots of activity in the area and large blocks marked for shipment.

Outside of Marble is the road to both Crystal Mill and Lead King Basin.  If you go up to Crystal Mill and the town of Crystal, then you can make and loop and come back around through Lead King Basin, which is what we did.

Heading up to Crystal Mill.  It wasn't really a 4-wheel drive, but did require a high clearance vehicle.

The Crystal Mill behind me, is supposed to be THE most photographed spot in Colorado.    The mill has been there since 1892 and is still standing.  The mill used water to power air compressors which were used in the nearby mines.

On the Lead King Basin loop.  There were 5 vehicles making the loop.

A waterfall along the Crystal River.  This is snowmelt fed water and very cold, yet these young people were swimming in it.  Brrrrrrrrr.

We went over 2 passes, the highest at 10,981 feet.  The scenery and the mountains were beautiful.

About halfway through the 13 mile loop we spotted this home.  Look at all the wood chopped and ready for winter.  I imagine the only way in or out once the snowfall starts, would be by snowmobile.

The mountain meadows were covered with wildflowers and especially the columbine, the Colorado State Flower.  

More wonderful mountain views.

You can see from the gps, the road had lots of switchbacks.

There were also fields of fireweed.  I hadn't seen this much fireweed since Alaska.  In Alaska, people make jelly, syrups, candy and even ice cream from the fireweed.

A photo just can't capture all the colors and variety of wildflowers, but I still tried.  There were miles and miles of these mountain meadows, covered with wildflowers.

I know it's probably boring, but here's another view from the top.

The columbines were so thick, they even grew in clusters.  And there were all colors of columbines, from white to deep violet, like these.

We are now over the highest pass, and on our way back to Marble.  Down below you can see of the other jeeps in our group.

Back in Marble and the local bar and grill for BBQ.

We all made it, and now for some food and drink.

There we are, all lined up.  What a fun way to spend the day.

And to my grandson, Joshua, if you read this, you would have loved every minute of it, but you might not yet be ready for some of the roads we had to tackle.  

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