We made this trip up the side of Mt Bross, which rises to the north west of the small mining town of Alma Colorado. We were here for the occasion of a memorial for my father who had grown up in Alma. We paused just outside of Alma on the road up Buckskin Gulch near the old townsite of Buckskin Joe where Alma's cemetery is located in a grove of aspen and pine. Continuing up Buckskin Gulch we again stopped at the old mill that still stands next to Buckskin Creek and spent a few moments looking around again and seeing what had changed since our last visit.
Just past the mill we turned right on the road that curls around the base of Mt Bross to the east and arrived at the old miners cabin where we planned to camp for a couple of nights prior to the memorial on Sunday. This cabin still stands and is used by all and maintained by those that use it. No reservations, no cost, first come first serve with just the request that you do a little maintenance on the cabin to keep it viable. It has many comforts left by the many visitors to use it for shelter. My wife and I and our grandaughter took the cabin and the others in our group pitched tents and a couple used the other small cabin that sits nearby.
The following day we made a trip back down the mountain and up the road past Park City to drive the 4X4 road of Mosquito Pass that used to be the route of travel to the town of Leadville and is the highest vehicular pass in North America at 13,185 feet. Near the top you circle around London Mountain The road goes right past the North London Mine where my dad's uncle was working when he suffered a compound fracture from being caught in a cave in of the mine. He survived the accident but could never walk right again and this ended his days of being able to do the hard labor of a miner. He fell back on natural ability with numbers and started doing the books for various business around town. His brother, my grandfather started his mining career around on the other side of the mountain at the South London Mine. It was later that he leased and worked the Mineral Park Mine.
On Sunday we left camp at the cabin and headed farther up the side of Mt Bross towards the bristlecone pine area at Windy Ridge on the east flank of Mt Bross. We paused to let every one look at the ruins of the Mineral Park Mine and it's cabin where our grandfather lived and worked underground during the winters of 1946 - 1949. My dad would often spend part of his christmas break here with my Grandfather, playing around the compressor room and winch house while his father was down below pulling gold ore out of the mountain. During the summers my Grandfather, my Dad and his brother worked the entire valley cutting logs and skidding them out of the forest to be hauled to town by my grandfather to be cut into lumber at his small sawmill there. He would then make occasional trips to Denver to sell the lumber and then haul bags of coal back to sell to the residents of the valley for their stoves.
We continued on for a short distance and arrived at Windy Ridge where our trip ended due to the road being blocked still by heavy snow. We had hoped to make it all the way to the top of Mt Bross where my Grandmothers remains are scattered but was not to be this trip. The road was still snowed over just below Windy Ridge. We walked up to Windy Ridge and held a celebration of my Dad's life looking down on the town of Alma where he spent his childhood.
A great couple of days enjoying the Colorado mountains that I grew up in.