Thursday, September 24, 2015

One last Colorado Post--Aspens and Views

Since I blog mainly as a scrapbook, and since I am quite anal-retentive in this area, I can't go on to anything else without posting about the last few days of our Colorado trip.  Then things would be out of order, you see, and that would be terribly bothersome.  Also, if I never blog about it, then I'll probably forget what happened, and 12 years later, when we go on another getaway and I'm trying to remember the last one, there will be nothing recorded, and that would be terribly sad, because it was such a great trip.  So here is one last Colorado post to wrap it all up.

Friday Bob had meetings in the morning again, but they got out before lunch.  I had been walking around the little shops looking for some souveniers, so Bob came back with me to help me make some final decisions.   We had a picnic by the stream while we talked about what to do with the afternoon.  We had to be back at 6:30 for a company dinner, so we didn't want to go far away.  We ended up buying tickets to ride the gondolas.  They were $30/person, but we got unlimited trips up and down both gondolas, and it was another beautifully gorgeous day.  I was a little nervous about the gondolas, but they were so smooth and quiet, and I ended up really enjoying the trips.  Saturday night, while we were watching that Vail documentary, it mentioned 1976 where 2 gondolas go caught up on a frayed wire and plummeted hundreds of feet to the ground, killing 4 people and injuring many others. Yeah . . . I was glad I watched that AFTER our fun afternoon, LOL.  I'm sure everything is much, much safer now . . .
It was neat to watch the village fall away.  Our hotel is the white one in the middle of the screen, by the base of the gondola.
The aspens were so beautiful.  We were there at the perfect time!
This is at the top of the Eagle Bahn gondola.  It had a stunning view of the Sawatch range that just went on and on.  We actually went up and down both gondolas a couple times, and the second time we came up here, there was a wedding getting ready to happen!  I can't imagine a more stunning place.
We hiked a mile across the mountain to the other gondola.  It was lovely--through meadows and forests.  The scope of Vail is so huge.  It has 5500 acres of ski-able terrain, which is pretty unfathomable.
As we walked back through Vail Village to the other gondola again, we went through Oktoberfest, where we listened to some rousing polka music.
Saturday the entire day was free, and so we went back over to Leadville.  I had made reservations for us on the Leadville Colorado and Southern Railroad for their special aspen-viewing train ride, which was 3 hours long.  Again, it was a beautiful day, and the aspens were stunning.  We sat in an outside car, which made it a little chilly in the shade (it was only about 40 degrees and a bit breezy), but we had unhampered views of the mountains and the gloriously clear blue sky, so it was okay to be a little cold.  Bob got us hot chocolate from the little concession stand in the middle of the train halfway through the ride.

We had a little break at this adorable water tower where we could all get off the train and stretch our legs.  Drew loves water towers, so we had to make sure we got a picture of it.  A couple actually got engaged during the stop, so that was really fun and sweet to watch.
After the train ride, we ate a quick lunch at Subway and then headed over to the Healy House and Dexter Cabin Museum.  I had thought about going to the National Mining Museum, which I'm sure would also have been great, but when I was reading reviews, this one sounded really interesting in a more personal way.  The Dexter cabin was built by one of those men who struck it rich in Leadville's glory days.  He had several other cabins in other towns, so he could check up on all his operations, as well as a nice house in Denver for his wife and daughters.
The cabin looks rough on the outside, but on the inside it was really fancy!
I loved this lockable pantry.  This would have actually been for mining camps.  It had all these little compartments for various staples, and they could be locked so that the supplies didn't walk off.
Next was the Healy house, which was built for a man who never really lived in it.  His cousin (?) ended up living there and managing it for him, and she ran it as a boarding house.  As many as 22 people lived here in one time, and it went back quite a ways.  The house was furnished in all period pieces, but it wasn't one of those stuffy museums where you have to stay behind a rope and peer into each room.  No, you could really walk around and see everything, and our guide would just pick up random things, like a pipe, off the side tables or whatever to talk about.  It had a really approachable feel, and it gave a really great sense of what it was to live back in the late 1800s/early 1900s.
They had a room decorated for children with all these neat toys and dolls in there, even though any children living in there would have been in with their parents.
There were lots of pairs of boots around, and they were the skinniest things ever!  I could not see any of our family's blocky feet ever fitting into anything like there, LOL.
They also had a ton of dresses and hats displayed everywhere.  This was a wedding dress in the late 180s.  Next door was one from the early 1900s, and it was a lot more elaborate.   Interesting to see how styles changed so quickly.  In one room you could even try on several different hats.  I am glad I didn't grow up in an era when ladies had to wear hats--they just don't do much for me, LOL.
The house eventually had one bathroom, with one of those nest gravity flush toilets, with the big rectangular chamber above for water to flush.  Only the women and children were allowed to use the inside toilet though--the menfolk had to use the outhouse "unless the snow was at lest 3 feet high".  This bathtub actually is like a "murphy" bathtub, in that the tub part folds up against the wall so it doesn't take up so much space.  Interesting!
I loved the kitchen.  It's hard to imagine cooking for 22 people on a stove like that, and with just a small icebox.  The stove looks neat though!

Then we drove back across the mountains to Vail, where we ate dinner and packed up.  We flew back Sunday, and I can definitely say we both felt rested and refreshed.  It was such a fun vacation!  It was really hard to leave Colorado though.  I had forgotten how much I really love it out west!  The big spaces and sky are so soothing to my soul.  Maybe someday we'll be back to stay . . .

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