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Crystal, Colorado

Crystal, Colorado is  nearly a ghost town except for a few remaining cabins, occupied by dedicated seasonal residents. These cabins are leftover from its’ colorful mining heyday of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Most residents moved out by 1920.

Crystal is probably most famous for the frequently photographed Crystal Mill above. It is also about five miles from Marble, Colorado, where the gorgeous pure white marble was quarried for the Lincoln Memorial, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Denver Post Office, and other commercial buildings in New York and San Francisco built in the earlier part of the twentieth century.

We found numerous, lush, green, roaring, waterfalls all around. I only hiked to a few of them, but Laura, an avid hiker, probably didn’t miss one.

We hiked from the Crystal Valley one day to Lead King Basin. This scenic valley, on the back side of the Maroon Bells near Aspen and Snowmass wilderness, was just coming into the peak of colorful wildflowers. We didn’t meet one hiker along the old, rugged jeep road, just a few jeeps passed us.

The old jeep roads are badly deteriorated, really more suitable for hikers, so the next day we hiked up to the “snow bridge”.  The snow bridge is normally melted out by mid-July and this horribly deteriorated jeep road would otherwise go over Schofield Pass on into Crested Butte. As you can see the heavy snow year meant the road was still impassible even in the later part of July. My children are in the upper left corner of the picture below.  So this snow bridge is actually quite large and the “end of the road” for now.

One jeep drove up to the snowbridge while we were there to see if it was truely the end of the road.  I cringed to think about how he would turn around or back up on this narrow rocky road.  But he adeptly navigated the turn and returned back down the road.  Amazing!

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