Last Hike? Snow Forecast and Electrical Sparks!!

Miles Driven Today:  20  Total Miles Driven: 5823

A beautiful day again.  Blue skies, warm sun.  We were out in our t shirts and shorts again.  Slept better last night which felt good this morning.

Today may be our last hiking opportunity.  The weather forecast for tonight and tomorrow is that snow and totally freezing weather is on the way.  It seems unbelievable at the moment, but conditions can change quickly here, so we are expecting it.  It will be quite nice to see some snow, especially on the mountains, as long as there isn’t so much it makes travelling difficult.   On Friday we need to drive to Denver, although we have all day to do so.  Our flight out of Denver is not till 4pm on Saturday afternoon so, that also gives us some wiggle room if road conditions were bad.  So, tomorrow, the top temperature is forecast to be -3C and the bottom temperature -21C.  That’s a bit chilly….. my coat might see some action!  Can’t really see us hiking in the snow.

So, we headed out to walk the Sallie Barber Mine Trail which is in the French Gulch area of Breckenridge.  The Sallie Barber mine opened in 1882.  It reportedly grossed $1,000 in 1899 from gold, lead, silver and zinc. It officially closed in 1911 due to transportation issues on the mountain, but briefly reopened during World War I to extract zinc. French Gulch played an integral role in the gold rush of greater Breckenridge. Tailings from the various mines can be seen on French Gulch Road on the way to the trailhead.

The trail starts in around 10,200 feet above sea level and rises around 400 feet in 1.4 miles to the mine, so it is around 2.8 miles round trip.  Or you can add in side trips along the way to extend the walk.  I know this doesn’t sound like much of a walk.  We would do at least double this in a regular walk at home – 5-6-7 miles even.  However, honestly, here, 3 is absolutely top whack before it starts to feel like an ordeal.  You want it to feel like fun from beginning to end, so we’re keeping them 3 miles and under.

The first 1.2 miles is uphill all the way, through quite dense forest and with a little stream running alongside the track.  It was frozen in parts.  We saw quite a few birds and squirrels but no other animals.  Just a few other hikers and a couple of mountain bikers.    Finally we emerged from the trees to the top of the ridge where the mine stands.  Still some ruined wooden buildings and old pieces of equipment lying about.   We enjoyed looking at the ruins and reading the info boards.  Also met some nice Californian people who’d hiked up from the other direction.

They were all suffering with the altitude as well.  Oh, I forgot to mention another side effect:  you get absolutely belting static electric shocks whenever you touch metal ie door knobs, electric switches, the car. And each other!!!!  Bob gave me a quick kiss last night and our lips blew sparks!!!!!  I mean…. after 30 years we’ve still got it, but that was ridiculous!!!!

Eventually we  walked back to the car which was heavenly because it was all downhill.  Had our picnic lunch and then drove down to Breckenridge.  Bob wanted to investigate getting some cbd oil for his arthritic thumbs.  Carol had massaged some in when she and Ricky were here and it seemed to help.  He got a small jar of balm in the dispensary so we will see how it goes.

Got back to the apartment and felt like I’d hit a wall.  Slept for 2 hours while Bob watched IronMan.

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