Sunday, March 22, 2020

Coronavirus: Staying Home But Keeping Hope



Last week I was so sad and upset by the growing threat of the novel Coronavirus that I decided to take a short break from blogging to regroup my thoughts and to take a break from social media. I honestly could not concentrate on anything for very long.  I'm sure all the dire information I was hearing triggered a bit of PTSD that lingered in my psyche from my time when I lived in New York City post 9-11 when we were so uncertain as to what the future held.  

As of Sunday afternoon, public health officials in Colorado confirmed that there were 591 cases of COVID-19 in 29 counties, and around 5,436 people had been tested. There were 58 people hospitalized and 7 deaths.  Sadly, those numbers are all rising every day. 



This week, however, I feel more in control and more confident that as a state, nation, and world, we will eventually return to a normal life.  It may be for the long term, but I can "stay home," I can do "social isolation," and limit my contact with others.  I can take responsibility for my health and the health of those I love by reducing contact with others to "flatten the curve" of how quickly this virus spreads so that our hospitals are not overwhelmed by those needing care. I am so grateful for the doctors, nurses and first responders, and all other essential workers that must still expose themselves to regular work in order to take care of us and keep us safe.




My heart goes out to those who lost their jobs and are worrying about paying bills and rent or mortgages.  I know many students will most likely be home for the rest of the school year and are missing their friends, teachers and special school events and parents have had to scramble to find childcare or homeschool resources. I know vacation plans have been canceled, as well as holiday plans. It is a new dystopian world right now in most places, but in accepting all of these sacrifices we are saving lives, maybe even our own.




Right now, most public places have closed in Colorado. Most schools, churches, restaurants, bars, gyms, salons, entertainment venues,  ski resorts, and even Rocky Mountain National Park have been closed. Many people are working from home or have reduced their workplace density, and workplaces of essential workers have reduced staff as much as possible. The Colorado State Parks are still open, and we are fortunate that we still have many open space trails available where we can have solo recreation and enjoy the outdoors. In fact, all of the photos in this post I took along a trail in my neighborhood. 


Neighbors are helping neighbors, and we are all trying to keep as busy as possible.  Life goes on as best as possible. 




This was our St. Patrick's Day! Usually, my entire family will gather for our traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner and Irish Soda Bread dinner, but this year it was only my husband and I.  Neighbors had a fun idea to organize a St Patrick's Day parade of decorated cars to go through our neighborhood to share some cheer, and it really did cheer me up to go outside and see them pass by. 



This is a local news story about this event. You can also click on my Mille Fiori Favoriti Facebook link here to see it.

Next week I'll go back to my regular blog posts about Colorado, as I have much to share from prior trips we took, and I hope those posts will be a welcome distraction from the ongoing situation. I look forward to seeing how you all have been spending your time.  Please stay healthy and please keep hope that we will all get through this unusual time together!


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 Mosaic Monday, All SeasonsBlue Monday, Through My Lens MondayLittle Cottage Link Party
 Hearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog Hop, Inspire Me Monday,  Good Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Photo TunesHappiness Is HomemadeOver the Moon, Our World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesday Turn AboutTuesdays With A TwistLet's Keep In TouchWordless Wednesday on a TuesdaySay Cheese!,  Party in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayNanahood WWOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Your Whims WednesdayWorldless  Wednesday My Corner of the WorldWonderful Wednesday Little Things ThursdayThankful ThursdayThursday Encouraging Hearts and HomeFull Plate ThursdayFriendship FridaysFriday Features Linky Party, Skywatch Friday,   Pink SaturdaySaturday Critters
 Grammys Grid-Month Long Linky Party

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Monday, March 9, 2020

Ghost Towns of Vicksburg and Winfield, Colorado



In autumn of 2019, my husband and I took a scenic drive in Colorado into Clear Creek Canyon, between Buena Vista and Leadville, Colorado to visit the silver mine ghost towns of  Vicksburg and Winfield.


We took Highway 24 north from Buena Vista until we reached County Road 390/Clear Creek Reservoir.  CR 390 is an unpaved dirt/gravel road but it is easily traveled by a regular car or SUV.  The surrounding trees along the road and high up in the Sawatch Mountain Range had the beginnings of beautiful autumn color.




There were many beautiful mountain views along the drive.



In about nine miles we reached the town of Vicksburg.



Vicksburg was founded in 1867 after prospectors from Leadville, Colorado, who were camping out in the Clear Creek Canyon lost their burros. The burros had wandered down the creek and when the miners found their pack animals, they discovered gold in the creek bed as well. More than gold, however, the surrounding area was rich in silver and copper. Early miners brought in "Balm of Gilead" (balsam poplar) trees on the backs of burros and planted them to line the main street of Vicksburg, where they still remain


Vicksburg was the second largest town in the canyon, with around 600-700 people during its peak. A museum is open here on some weekends during the summer, run by the Clear Creek Historical Society.  Many of the cabins in Vicksburg are now privately owned and seasonally occupied.


Quite a few interesting vintage mining implements and machines were on display around the cabins.




After visiting Vicksburg we continued on our drive...



...passing an area that obviously suffered an avalanche in winter at one time as many aspen trees lay broken on their sides along the side of the road.



Between Vickburg and Winfield is a small assortment of cabins for rent where more silver-boom towns once stood -- the towns of Rockdale and Silverdale. There are rustic cabins available for daily rent here. We spoke with a forest ranger who was sweeping out a cabin and she told us fishermen, hikers, mountain climbers, etc, rent the cabins all summer.




Continuing on for about five miles we reached the end of the county road and the town of Winfield.




Winfield was founded in 1861 with the first recorded silver prospecting done in 1867. Located on 120 acres at the junction of the north and south forks of Clear Creek, the town made lots of 50×100 free to anyone who desired to build there. In its prime, around 1890, some 1500 people lived in town. The silver market crash and depression in 1893 halted the mining activity in Clear Creek Canyon. There was a resumption in the early 1900s and the last ore was hauled out of the canyon by two-horse wagon in 1918.



Please click on photo to enlarge it


The history of the town is displayed in an open book in the Winfield schoolhouse window.




Two of the buildings are open as a museum during the summer, hosted by members of the Clear Creek Historical Society, while the rest are now privately owned and occupied seasonally.




There were quite a few trailheads located at the end of Winfield. The Winfield Cemetery was a quarter mile down a narrow winding road that would require high clearance 4WD.  Although 26 people are buried there, only two stone marker stones for children remained. In 2016, a descendant of one of the men buried there worked with the historical society to clean up the cemetery and place wooden crosses on the graves.  If you would like to see a local Denver news video about that effort and the story click here.



Can you imagine living such a rugged life at 10,000 feet, all because of hopes and dreams of finding riches in the surrounding mountains? The gold and the silver rush is the pioneer story of the state of Colorado and became the "boom and bust" of many a town.  To see more Colorado mining ghost towns visit my post on the Independence Pass Ghost Town--click here--and Saint Elmo Ghost Town--click here.


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I'm linking this post to the following blog events:

 Mosaic Monday, All SeasonsBlue Monday, Through My Lens MondayLittle Cottage Link Party
 Hearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog Hop, Inspire Me Monday,  Good Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Photo TunesHappiness Is HomemadeOver the Moon, Our World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesday Turn AboutTuesdays With A TwistLet's Keep In TouchWordless Wednesday on a TuesdaySay Cheese!,  Party in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayNanahood WWOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Your Whims WednesdayWorldless  Wednesday My Corner of the WorldWonderful Wednesday Little Things ThursdayThankful ThursdayThursday Encouraging Hearts and HomeFull Plate ThursdayFriendship FridaysFriday Features Linky Party, Skywatch Friday,   Pink SaturdaySaturday Critters
 Grammys Grid-Month Long Linky Party

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