Saturday, July 4, 2015

Ten Years Ago... | 17 Comments - Click Here :

    Derrell Poole - Remembering the good ol days this holiday; it was July 4th weekend 10 years ago that Darel hooked up his fifth wheel camper, and Joe Crea and I joined him for a fabulous getaway to the west side of Alpine tunnel.


    You may or may not recognize the characters in the above view, but if you are a South Park fan you will quickly recognize the old rock and realize they are perched on the DSP&P grade above Quartz Valley near the Palisades. 
    We lit out of Denver Saturday morning, the 2nd, and it was a fine bright morning. Our discussions ranged from various railroad topics to personal and second hand accounts of various haunted buildings in downtown Denver. I had no personal experience to share but there were some hair raising stories.
    I believe we stopped a Johnson's Village just south of Buena Vista and had breakfast... or maybe we just snagged a few calories in the way of Ho-Hos and Ding-Dings; that quick stuff you buy when you are in a hurry, (I don't recall). It was early after noon when we approached Parlins, turned off of Highway 50 and headed up the County Road 67 toward Pitkin. Of course we were all craning to see any traces of grade; DSP&P or that "other" railroad. So it was perhaps 2pm when we made our first stop at Ohio City.


    Someone may know the significance of this particular building. Joe probably told us but I don't recall. It was and is an interesting structure with its embossed appliqué . And it apparently had "his" and "hers" outhouses - or maybe it just had a lot of traffic.


    This little way station like structure was actually the bunk house at Ohio City. If I recall correctly it had been the depot at Sherrod Loop at the TOC but had been moved to Ohio City shortly after.


    There is something about all of my cameras that, often, just can't handle color very well - especially when there is something nostalgic in the view. If I desaturate the pictures they likely become more clear. So you'll just have to excuse any of the artsy pi'chers that turn up. Don't get excited about it...


    I believe this is the southerly face of the C&S Section House at Ohio City. I'm standing on the RR ROW and to my right was where the water tank had been located - just this side of a small bridge over Gold Creek (both structures now gone).


    We continued on, rambled past the Roosevelt Tunnel and stopped at the local cemetery just west of Pitkin. It was a quiet investigation... 


    At Pitkin we poked around and we may have eaten at the little restaurant that sells excellent burgers. Lots of great photos on the wall. The structure above was - well, I don't remember. It has been offered as a kit some years ago, perhaps as the Town Hall. And it has been modeled several times in various scales.


    I'm sure someone will feel it important enough to identify whether it was the school house, court house, or whatever. It is a very interesting building and perhaps the most striking in Pitkin these days. I remember Joe and I discussing the virtues of modeling sheds at about this point. It was an interesting discussion obviously inspired by all the fabulous sheds in the area... but I don't remember his particular points.


    Of course, every decent South Park town has its holy shrine and the depot is it in Pitkin. At that time it was nicely painted - but grossly unprototypical! 

    That evening we camped (as it were - remember we are in a 20(?) foot camper trailer) at a location a mile or two east of Pitkin. Perhaps it was the Quartz Creek Camp ground. I don't recall what we cooked over the "open" Coalman stove, but I'm sure it was delicious. As the sun sat and twilight fell our good friend Yukon Jack came by. He stayed for an hour or so and did his honorable best to help us enjoy the company of friends and surroundings. By the time Yukon retired we were all pretty enlightened and perhaps a bit noisy (there were other campers - already quiet and settled-like - nearby). Joe reminded us we needed to be less enthused - himself just as "guilty". But no one complained.


    The next morning we got up and had a good breakfast that included some venison sausage, eggs and what ever else. We were wide eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to get up even higher. We left our camper and rounded the loop at Quartz where the old roadbed got a little more serious about climbing. Its quite a little jaunt between our camp site and this fabulous location. We passed thru Quartz, passed the Midway Tank, and passed what was left of the Valley Tank. We continued passed Woodstock, around the Loop and up, up, up... 

Oh My!

    Of course this is the Palisades from above. Beyond is Brittle Silver Basin, and below is the South Park ROW and Quartz Creek.


    See what I mean about color? Anyone who doesn't think this is the most beautiful spot in the world needs a long, long discussion with Yukon...


    It was a beautiful mornin' at the ruins...



    The camera really got crazy at Alpine Station...


    Finally we reached the top of our journey - in none to much of a hurry, I might add. Early July and no shocker there was still snow at the west portal.


    There was a story as to why this monument is broken that Darel or Joe related, but I don't remember the details.

    We poked around for a while investigating artifacts like the turntable and other notables. I took a little time to do some painting and we all just absorbed the atmosphere. We discussed the controversy over whether there was a turntable in the engine house - which was rather mute since we stood over the pit while we talked. Imagine such frivolity... Finally we headed back down. 


    Of course we had to stop at Woodstock where water was still running out of the pipe which once fed the tank. We hiked up the hill a bit to find the source. In the above view one of us stood on the old town sight and took in the moment.


    This quiet little scene is more significant than it might seem. This was the two track Woodstock siding. I believe it is looking more or less southeast which means the mainline was up the hill to the left.


    We did stop at the Valley tank which was in very poor shape. But this is the Midway tank several miles down grade.

    At Quartz we investigated the siding and figured out that the County had been building up the road around the loop so that we really couldn't gauge where the station actually was. We did feel comfortable with what we believed was the location of the stock pen.

    We stayed the night once again but I don't remember if enough of Jack was still around to entertain us. The next morning we picked up the camper and headed down the Valley. We stopped to poke around Ohio City once more and I made a quick oil sketch of the Bunk House.



    And that's the way it was July 4th ten years ago - best as I recollect.

Derrell Poole
17 Comments - Click Here :
  1. L to R = Joe, Derrell, Darel
    wow Derrell - über saturation creates impressionistic paintings - way cool - gotta go try !!!
    Good Friends, Great Times, Location Location Location ...

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  2. Great photos of a special trip, Derrell. Reminds me of a couple of similar pilgrimages to the same South Park shrines.

    Jim Courtney
    Poulsbo, WA

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  3. I believe Joe did drawings of the Pitkin structure in his book "Structures of the Early West"

    Lee Gustafson

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    1. he did - and the Mt. Princeton telegraph office, a Leadville silver mine, a C&S coaling dock, the Baker tank and the Pitkin City Hall, among other neat things, as well ...

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    2. ... and, correct me if I'm wrong, but I am using the mirror image of his Pitkin depot for my St. Elmo depot ...

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  4. Wow.... 10 years and 40 pounds ago. I also remember Joe moving to my end of the trailer on the second night because of a noisy racket and smell down on Derrells end. Lol.
    Thanks for the memories d.

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  5. We (my wife and a daughter) have not seen this for about 25 years. So, I really enjoyed you "update". Thanks for the memories! Art Gibson

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    1. Great to hear from you Art... it ain't so much an update anymore I'm sure; being ten years old.

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  6. I just sent the story. Art Gibson

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  7. Robert McFarlandJuly 4, 2015 at 2:24 PM

    Did you stop at Gunsmoke Truck Stop in Johnson Village or SilverPlume Store in Pitkin?Did you make it to Gunnison or Baldwin?

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    1. High probability on the first two. Nay on the last two.

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    2. Yeah, we were really focused on the Quartz Valley. I told what I remember. And I think I did a good job considering I usually don't remember what I did yesterday...

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  8. I posted this for Derrell with my iPad, which was just about impossible to accomplish. I will clean it up with the correct file size photos with my laptop on Monday.

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    1. And so everyone knows I appreciate Darel's extraordinary effort. I shoulda started on it last week but many more pressing projects that actually make buying tacos and bullets possible were in the way. I just got the final version to him last night. It was a this weekend or never thing to me as next week would have missed the point. So much thanks to D for his nearly impossible accomplishment!

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  9. One of my all time favorite hikes approaches this site from the east.

    Drive up to Hancock and park your car. Proceed on foot to Atlantic--it is a gentle hike up the 4% with more than a few ties still in place. Once at the east portal, head up over the saddle and you fill find yourself looking south down upon Alpine. A walk down the meadow finds you at the west portal and ready to explore the turntable, engine house remains and other buildings. Most visitors will be surprised to see you, as most don't seem to think to hike in this way. A short hike downgrade takes you to The Palasides, and just above The Palasides, the wagon road heads up over Hancock Pass. This is a nice shortcut back that leads to a number of high valleys on the southeast slopes of Mt. Chapman. The trail at the top of the pass drops down to sawmill curve and back to Hancock.

    It is an easy enough hike to do in a day. But don't tell anyone about it.

    Keith Hayes
    Leadville in Sn3

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