Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hike to the Lewis Mine

We hiked up to the Lewis Mine yesterday which is in the Bridal Veil Basin way above Bridal Veil Falls. The trailhead is at the top of Bridal Veil Falls. It is almost 4 miles to get to the Lewis Mine from here with an elevation gain of 2,328 feet. The trailhead is at 10,000 feet in elevation above sea level. We were ready to head to the alpine tundra!
I was happy to see the Columbines blooming along the trail.
There is water coming from everywhere in this basin and joining up with Bridal Veil Creek.
Maralee had about a 15 minute conversation with this marmot, seriously. Maralee and Savanna can usually chirp at marmots and pikas and get them to answer, but this went back and forth until we were so far up the trail that we couldn't hear him anymore.
Since the trail is an old mining road that was used to pack mules into the basin to work, the trail is rough and rocky and rated moderately difficult.
I'm not sure what this flower is. I can't find it in my book, so if you know please tell me!
These are snow buttercups and they grow well along this trail since it is pretty wet and marshy.
I lost count of how many water crossings there were.
We hiked for what seemed like forever and the girls were starting to doubt that we were going to see anything.
Savanna was ahead of us and finally said, "I see it!"
The Lewis Mill was built in 1907 and is said to be one of the most intact examples of historic mining sites in the state. Since it is so remote and only accessible by foot, most everything has been left alone up there. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2001, the mill was restored by a State Historical Fund grant and the materials used were flown to the site by helicopter. At a remote location at 12,448 feet, I'm sure that was the easiest way to go!
Jay went on ahead on the trail to the Lewis Lake. The trail gets a little harder after the mine so the girls and I stayed behind. The lake is at 12,700 feet.
I can't really find any history regarding the lake, but it was obviously man-made for the mill.
Jay took this while he came back down the trail. I can see Mt. Sneffels way in the distance on the right.
The alpine tundra is my favorite place to be in July!
Time to go back down. We had a big patch of snow on a steep part of the trail to deal with. Maralee was getting tired, but she made the 8-mile hike!
All good hikes must come to an end and we were tired after hiking on rocks all day.


Barb said...

Lisa - I'm so impressed with your girls! That is a very long way, esp. for Maralee. Great photos of the old mining site - I love the way you've captured it showing the stream and the mountains behind. The magenta flower is a Parry Primrose - a wonderful find. So far this summer, I've not sighted any. Great post!

Lois said...

What a nice way to spend the day with your beautiful family! I love that picture of your youngest daughter and her Dad. You are making some special memories for you and your kids!

Tony said...

Wow! Cool stuff!

Jess said...

So, how long would you say it took you from start to finish?

Lisa Wilson said...

Jess, my youngest daughter was only 9 last summer, so we took it pretty slow. I think it took us 6-7 hours even though we are used to the altitude.