Recently, Lila and I went to Buena Vista, Colorado
to visit our friends, Pete and Sandy and to go
skiing. Buena Vista is located in central
Colorado midway between Salida and Leadville at an
elevation of 8,000 feet. Winters are relatively
mild there as it lies in a wide Valley between the
Arkansas River and some very high mountains. In
fact, Buena Vista lies at the base of the 14,000+
peaks of the Collegiate Peaks …..Princeton, Yale,
Columbia, and Harvard. Buena Vista is also a
popular access point for world-class whitewater
rafting, kayaking, and fly fishing on the Arkansas
River, as well as mountain climbing and backpacking
on the Collegiate Peaks and the Colorado Trail.
Elk and deer herds are visible in the winter
months, and bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and
antelope are also indigenous to the area.
Leadville is the county seat and the only
municipality in Lake County, Colorado. Situated at
an elevation of 10,152 feet, Leadville is the
highest incorporated city and the second highest
incorporated municipality in the United States.
Leadville is a former silver mining town that lies
near the headwaters of the Arkansas River in the
heart of the Rocky Mountains. The city includes
the Leadville Historic District, which preserves
many historic structures and sites from Leadville's
dynamic mining era. In the late 19th century,
Leadville was the second most populous city in
Colorado, after Denver.
National Mining Museum and Hall of Fame opened in
Leadville in 1987 with a federal charter. The town's
altitude and rugged terrain contributes to a number
of challenging racing events, such as the Leadville
Trail 100 series of races.
Pictured to the left is the lobby of the famous
had an opportunity to visit Twin Lakes, Colorado
(Visitor Center pictured - right) is located twenty
miles southwest of Leadville and this historic town
sits in the shadow of Colorado's highest peak, Mt.
Elbert and overlooks the beautiful Twin Lakes. It is
situated along the Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway,
with Independence Pass being one of the highest
paved passes in the state. Natural beauty surrounds
the entire community and can be seen as it reflects
in each of the twin lakes.
Pictured above right is the well known Jackson Hotel in
Poncha Springs, a small town adjacent to Salida.
To the left is the frozen Arkansas River
flowing through Salida.
was founded in 1880, originally as a railroad town
and a major link in the Denver and Rio Grande
Western Railroad. After World War II the railroad
started pulling back its operations in Salida during
a time when many residents worked either in local
ranching operations or even commuted north to
Leadville to work. Today, the most prominent
industry in Salida is tourism, consisting of skiing
at Monarch ski resort, whitewater rafting, kayaking
and outfitting, particularly on the Arkansas River.
Salida is home to an annual kayak race, one of the
oldest whitewater races in North America.
Below is Little River Branch of the Arkansas River
just outside the Twisted Cork Restaurant...my
Monarch Mountain is located thirty minutes from
Salida, in south central Colorado and is located on
the Continental Divide. Monarch Mountain is one of
Colorado's best ski areas; reasonable lift tickets,
powder snow, and family skiing. Steep terrain,
black diamond runs, tree skiing, and fresh powder
snow attract expert and advanced skiers. Monarch
Mountain has more of an old time ski area feeling
than that of a modern ski resort.
A truly hidden gem, Monarch provides great runs,
small lift lines ands great powder.
Below are some scenes of this resort and the lift
line you see is only present midday on the