In a prior post about the Miller Coors Brewery in Golden, Colorado, I promised I'd show you a trip my husband and I, and one of his New York Co-workers, took up to the top of Lookout Mountain. If you look closely you can see the mountain in the distance on the photo above, on an uncharacteristically overcast day in Colorado.
With an elevation of 7, 581 feet, Lookout Mountain is one of the larger foothills which overlooks Golden, Colorado. On a clear day the Denver metropolitan area can be seen clearly from the mountain 12 miles to the east.
From the town of Golden we drove onto 19th Street, which briefly goes through a residential neighborhood, and then leads to a section Lariat Loop Byway to the top of the mountain. The Lariat Loop Byway is a 40-mile route built in 1914. This byway is a combination of two historic routes: the Lariat Trail Scenic Mountain Drive ascending Lookout Mountain and the Bear Creek Canyon Scenic Mountain Drive. In combination, these routes were part of several of the “scenic circles” developed and promoted by Denver in 1915-1920s to help Coloradans experience the mountains in proximity to the Denver Metropolitan area. These roadways were designated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. An video about the interesting sights that can seen along this byway can be viewed on this link.
Two Stone Pillars in the photo above mark the northern entrance to the Denver Mountain Parks and the Lariat Trail.
As we begin the drive I could see threatening clouds on the horizon, but the view of Golden was amazing. A part of the Colorado School of Mines football field can be seen at the bottom of the photo. The Colorado School of Mines is a distinguished engineering and applied science university.
Even though the clouds hung low, the views were beautiful.
We actually passed into the clouds at this elevation...
...and it began to snow!
Our road view changed from foggy....
...to a snowy white out! it was too late to turn back, we had to keep going.
We finally reached our destination at the top of the mountain...Buffalo Bill's Grave and Museum.
As you can see from the photo collage above, the parking lot and lookout to the valley had hardly any visibility and the walk up to the grave site was slippery, but we continued to walk up anyway.
Buffalo Bill's grave, and that of his wife, was covered with snow. It had a stone marker and the grave site was surrounded by an iron fence,
Some close ups of the plaques on the grave stone. Click on the photo above to make it larger, and then again when it opens, so that you can read the inscriptions.
William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody (1846 -1917) was an American soldier, bison hunter and showman. He was born in the Iowa Territory (now the U.S. state of Iowa), in Le Claire, but lived several years in Canada before his family moved to the Kansas Territory. Buffalo Bill received the Medal of Honor in 1872 for service to the US Army as a scout. One of the most colorful figures of the American Old West, Buffalo Bill became famous for the shows he organized with cowboy themes, which he toured in Great Britain and Europe as well as the United States.
The Pahaska Tepee Cafe and Gift Shop was a welcomed place near the grave site to buy a cup of coffee and warm up a little. The building was named "Pahaska Tepee" after Cody's hunting lodge of the same name outside of Yellowstone Park. Pahaska was a native American nickname for Cody, that meant "longhair."
Unfortunately, the Buffalo Bill Museum was closed on Mondays, so I bought this fascinating retrospective book about the museum collection in the gift shop. It is also a biography about Buffalo Bill called: Buffalo Bill: Scout, Showman, Visionary written by the museum director, Steve Friesen.
Information about the book from it's web site:
"William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody was America's first celebrity. He lived during a time of great geographic and technological expansion, a time when American mass media became dominant. Cody was there at every step, the right person at the right place at the right time. It was through those brilliant efforts that Cody the man became Buffalo Bill the celebrity and, eventually, Buffalo Bill the legend."
I enjoyed learning more about Buffalo Bill, beyond the myths and legends I knew about him. He was the ultimate frontiersman and showman and brought the lure of the American West to all parts of America and Europe through his "Wild West" exhibitions.To watch a fascinating historical video about Buffalo Bill, with scenes from his life and his Wild West show go to this link on the Biography.com web site.
Someday I'll return to Lookout Mountain on a more scenic day, and drive more of the Lariat Loop Byway. There is quite a bit to see and do and I know you'll also enjoy learning more about this area of the front rangeof Colorado!
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