In my last post, I recorded the first leg of our trip to Cripple Creek, which took us from San Angelo to Raton, NM. From Raton, we followed the route we took on our return trip back in May (see "On the Road: Cripple Creek to Santa Rosa, NM"). In other words, we went from Raton up I-25 to Pueblo, then US 50 west just past Canon City, then on 3 mountain roads the remainder of the trip to Cripple Creek. As we left Raton, the rain pounded us all the way through Raton Pass. I was glad when it finally let up and we made it through the pass.
The approach drive to Cripple Creek is really pretty. The aspens were turning at the higher elevations, and Donna tried to snap some shots as we drove along. Unfortunately, the glare on the windows is obvious in some of the pictures.
|Donna took this photo just a few miles outside Cripple Creek. No picture can really do justice to the beauty of the aspens as they turn.|
Cripple Creek has an elevation of 9494 feet. Let's just round that off to 9500 feet. It is way up there. The weather was pretty cool during our entire stay. The nights dipped to around freezing each night while the highs never got out of the 40s. A couple of days were rainy and overcast, but on our last full day, we were able to get out for exploring.
Cripple Creek is an old mining town, the site of the last great Colorado gold rush. Gold was discovered there in 1890, and the population soon exploded from about 500 people to 10,000. Two separate fires in 1896 essentially destroyed the town, but it was rebuilt in that same year. Most of the historic buildings you see in town today date back to that rebuilding period.
Today, the population of Cripple Creek hovers around the 1200 mark, and most of the residents are employed in the new gold rush, casinos and tourism. We go there mainly for the casinos. On our two trips there, we have stayed and played mostly at Bronco Billy's, though we also spend a lot of time at the Double Eagle a couple of blocks down the street.
Below are some other photos of Cripple Creek.
|Looking south. The highway you see goes to Victor, another old mining town.|
|Looking west along Bennett Avenue, the main thoroughfare through Cripple Creek.|
|Looking east along Bennett Ave. Notice the clusters of aspens as well as the clouds shrouding the mountain.|
|This is the Double Eagle Casino.|
|It was early when I snapped this photo of Donna as we were walking east towards the Double Eagle. You can see the sun just beginning to peep over the mountain. It was probably about 35 or 40 degrees, cold but invigorating.|