Heading away from Co. Springs we went through the first major pass of our journey, the Wilkerson Pass. After a substantial amount of elevation gain it looked as if we were going to drop of the edge of the earth, but instead it opened up into a vast plain with snowcapped peaks rising in the distance. Through this stretch we had the pleasure of seeing a pronged horned antelope, which is said to be the second fastest land animal, reaching speeds somewhere between 45-60 mph?!
We passed another pass and before us, serving as the backdrop to the town of Buena Vista, stood the Collegiate Peaks, all of which stand above 14,000 ft. I can't recall which this is, but pretty incredible looking given the cloud cover.
Leadville was the day's destination. A lovely city embodying nearly every stereotype a "wild-west" town could have, was on our map mainly due to the fantastic reputation for trails/running it has forged over the years. It is situated at 10,152 ft, making it a great place to train. I had the pleasure of touching base with a local runner, Donna, who was able to guide us to the trailhead for the Boudlers trail before the sun set for the day.
A 5 mile run on the Boulders trail brought us to the "Upper Deck". This was a platform situated on the side of a hill, sitting around 11,000 ft, providing the optimum view of the surrounding peaks.
After enjoying these views on the Boulders Trail we headed to the Silver Dollar Saloon, opened 1883, to soak up some of the history of this classic mining town, which happened to be where wild-west gunslinger/icon Doc Halladay killed his last...
The next morning, upon Donna's recommendation, we headed down to Turquoise Lake. It was brisk with the wind sweeping across the lake and snow fell in spurts, but we dressed appropriately and were able to enjoy a couple of hours on the perimeter trail, which is part of the first and last 13 miles of the Leadville 100 race that takes place every summer. I was able to cover just shy of 13 miles in this time.
From the shore of the lake we witnessed impecable views of Colorado's two highest peaks, Mt Elbert and Mt Massive. We certainly look forward to returning the summer when the snow is gone so that we can soak in the view from the top of these mammoth peaks.
We visited the Leadville National Fish Hatchery and saw b-e-a-utiful trout by the hundreds- we'll look forward to coming back with fishing rods!
Thus ended our first trip to Leadville. We had the privilege of meeting a lot of really great folks in town that may well give us good reason to stay a lot longer next time...