Saturday, November 29, 2008

Rocky Mountain High: Scenes from Central Colorado

Denver may be the Mile High City, but Leadville – elevation 10,200 feet – is nearly two times higher and also holds a distinction as the loftiest incorporated city in the United States. Approximately 2700 hearty souls call this historic mining town home.

Notable among the countless architectural gems in Leadville is the Delaware Block Building constructed in 1886. This solid reminder of the Victorian era houses the Delaware Hotel today.

A storefront window at the Manhattan Bar advertises its status as a high altitude thirst center at 10,152 feet. In a place of extremes where no establishment wishes to be second best, more than one watering hole in Leadville claims to be the highest in the country.

Colorado State Highway 82 soars to 12,095 feet at Independence Pass to surmount the Continental Divide and the jagged Sawatch Range. After making the dizzying ascent from Aspen, a motorcyclist allows his engine to cool at the summit while taking in crisp air and majestic views above the tree line.

For more than a century, railroad passengers have embarked from the Denver & Rio Grande Western’s handsome Romanesque Revival depot at Glenwood Springs in search of mountain vistas, hot springs, backcountry adventure, and skiing. Today, Amtrak’s California Zephyr - operating between Chicago, Illinois, and San Francisco, California, via Denver - serves the town daily.

The Hot Springs Pool and bathhouse at Glenwood Springs has been a therapeutic destination since 1888. The pool’s temperature hovers around 90 degrees and is fed by local mineral-rich hot springs.

The 14.9-mile-long Colorado State Highway 5 – a component of the longer Mt. Evans Byway - holds a distinction as the highest paved road in the United States. Completed in 1930, the serpentine two-lane pike terminates in the summit parking lot at 14,130 feet in elevation, where a sign warns visitors about altitude sickness. Unparalleled, on-top-of-the-world views of the Front Range and its many escarpments - including Longs Peak to the north and Pikes Peak to the south - can be seen from here or via a short hike to the peak at 14,264 feet.

Sightings of Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep (pictured above), mountain goats, deer, elk, and marmots are frequent. Animals often catch the attention of visitors and occasionally disrupt traffic, too.

Unpredictable and inclement weather closes the road from Labor Day to Memorial Day. In higher elevations, the road is susceptible to buckling, as is evidenced above.

The eclectic Woody Creek Tavern lends its name from the small community in which it is located and was once a haunt for deceased gonzo journalist and known troublemaker Hunter S. Thompson. His rustic Owl Farm compound is mere minutes away.

Brewed in Golden for 135 years, Coors Beer is synonymous with the Rocky Mountains and the state of Colorado. Once available in only 11 Western states, Coors’ legendary commodity remained a product of mystique for those in the Midwest and East for generations. The brewery tour is a rite of passage for Coors aficionados and allows glimpses of the brew kettles.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New San Francisco Bay Area Related Blogspot Launched to Supplement The Journalist-Citizen

Happy Holidays from the City by the Bay! Please pardon the dust while I assemble a supplemental blog dedicated exclusively to the people, places, politics, culture, and history of the greater San Francisco Bay Area: The City ... of San Francisco ( All San Francisco related content from The Journalist-Citizen was transferred to the new site today. Please check it out.

As it has since its July inception, the flagship Journalist-Citizen site will continue as a platform for sharing vignettes and images related to my travels, observations, and search for far-flung locales and forgotten heroes across the country.

I remain grateful for the high level of support and interest in both blogspots! And, as always, please feel free to share your comments and suggestions with me via e-mail at

Cheers ... Christian Goepel