Monday, July 23, 2007

Special Edition, Backpacking Colorado- Part I


Hancock, Jamie, The Animal, Melissa, Pat, The Doctor, Creen, Me. (left to right) Our group about to embark on our journey and nearly completely assembled at the Missouri Lakes trailhead in the White River National Forest, Colorado, Day 1.

Every year for my birthday (7/20) a group of us gather for a special trip. In years passed I have hit areas in the RNMP, Moab, Southern Utah and even Alaska. July is a great month to get out and explore the backcountry. This year’s trip takes us to an area rich in not only Colorado’s mining history but also in its spectacular views, lakes, rivers, wildlife, mosquitoes, plant diversity and adventure.

One of the Fourteen High Alpine Lakes in the area.


First, let us travel back in time, to the year 1880. Perched high on the shoulder of near by Battle Mountain the small, scenic, mining town of Gilman begins to thrive. Founded by prospectors from Leadville, it is a service town where miners and prospectors can re supply food, tools and other rations transported to the area by the newly constructed railroad.

At 9000 feet above sea level the town overlooks the Eagle River canyon from 600 foot cliffs, which are an intense red with dramatic black streaks from the iron and manganese oxides in the rock. The town of Gilman was originally known as Clinton, Battle Mountain, and/or Rock Creek, but in 1886 it was renamed Gilman as a tribute to Henry M. Gilman, a representative for mining interests in Baltimore, who was found dead on a street in town from an apparent heart attack.


Near the old Cross Creek mining cabin.

Missouri Pass July 2007
gets its name by the area’s violent history. Bloody battles between war parties of Ute and Arapaho Indians in the late 1840’s were common.
The River below the small town roars as snow runoff squeezes through and cuts its way down the narrow passage. It is teaming with native trout species, like the green back cutthroat.
The area is famous for its once-prolific production of well-crystallized and aesthetic specimens of jet-black sphalerite, flattened rhombohedra,"potato chip" siderite, and spectacular specimens of lustrous pyrite with its many crystal habits and mineral associations.(FA)
However gold was the money maker in the area which led to most of the area's development. Gold production in the Area from 1890 to 1990 was 400,000 ounces. The population of Gilman had reached three hundred in 1889, when half of the town was destroyed by fire, including the Iron Mask Hotel, the schoolhouse, several residences, and the shaft house and machinery of the Bell mine.

Although the town is extinct, reminisce of this rich history is strewn throughout the region.

Entire valleys of wild flowers.

Taking time to enjoy the views, water down, eat and of coarse nap in the Colorado sunshine.

Historic Information referenced from
Minerals of the Gilman District and Eagle Mine Eagle County, Colorado
by William J. Warren, Jr., Ed Pedersen



  1. hey alex
    its your cousin Christine.
    your mom gave me your blog to look at.... pretty cool. Amazin pics.

    hope to see you soon.

  2. Hey Alex! Loved the article of your adventure Part I. I was especially interested in the rocks and minerals in the area. I'm a rock hound at heart. By the way, Happy Belated Birthday!

  3. Thanks Lisa,
    I find that learning about the area helps me remember where it is and also what else might be interesting to check out in relation. The historic information is usually very humbling. I especially like reading about the native people in Colorado and Utah. I like canyons and rivers, they usually could sustain live for multiple generations making for some interesting history.

  4. Hey Christine! Thanks for visiting my blog. I hear you have a little bundle of joy! Any thoughts on starting a "baby blog" there time?