I spent ten days roaming around my old stomping ground of Lake City, Colorado. Here's a photo essay:
One of the most enjoyable parts of my BLM ranger job was exploring the old mines that dot the
mountains nearby. Here's Colorado's own Dan Fogelberg with a song about gold mining in the American West in
the 1800s. This is Sutter's Mill.
Left: Getting ready for the big Fourth of July parade in Lake City,
This is the biggest event of the year in Lake City and people (like me) come from
thousands of miles away to attend.
Above left: Fourth of July's don't get any better than this.
Above right: Kids scrambling for candy.
Above left: Singing "YMCA." Everybody, put your hands together!
Above right: After the Fourth of July parade, there are "games in the park." Here's
the three-legged race. The guy with four legs won.
Left: And here's the annual Shoe-Kicking Contest. No foolin'.
Above left: The street dance that evening in "downtown" Lake City.
Above right: Lake San Cristobal, the namesake of Lake City.
Left: The beautiful Lake Fork of the Gunnison River.
Above left: Lake City was the site of the Alferd Packer's massacre back in the 1870s. Packer and three men
headed into the mountains here one winter -- and three months later, only Packer emerged. Alferd (yep, that's the way he spelled it) was the
only person in the U.S. ever convicted of cannibalism. He died in prison, supposedly a vegetarian.
Above right: Historic cabin in Burrows Park from the 1800s restored recently by the BLM and several locals.
Above left: Shown on the previous page, this was American Basin in 1987. American Basin is an alpine
jewel and is one of the reasons I worked here for six years.
Above right: The same scene in 2002. There wasn't much snow in the mountains this year due to the prolonged
drought throughout the west.
Left: Now for some historical photos.
Mining was the lifeblood of this area in the 1800s and this is what it was like.
Mining was very hard and noisy work, and I'm really glad I was never a miner.
Above left: Two pairs of "Before and Afters." This is the mining town of Eureka north of Silverton in 1920.
Above right: The same scene in 1984 when I worked here as a ranger. Where did everybody go?
Above left: And the Silver Lake Mill near Silverton in the early 1900s. A "mill" is where they
crushed rock so they could extract the silver or gold.
Above right: The same scene in 1984.
Above left: Due to the nasty drought,
nearby Blue Mesa Reservoir was lower than I had ever seen it.
Above right: Silver Street is the main street in Lake City. Unlike other Colorado mountain towns,
such as Aspen, Crested Butte and Telluride, Lake City hasn't changed much in the last 100 years and for that, I'm glad. See you again soon!