Hanging around Creede Colorado

 

We have been in Creede for a week now and in our last update we mentioned driving the Bachelor Loop along with our friends Debbie & Steve so we thought we had better elaborate a bit more on that because it is one of the most popular areas around Creede.

The loop is a seventeen mile drive that takes you high into the hills above town and through Creede’s former mining district. Scattered around the mountainsides are numerous old mines and ghost towns.

img_1230 img_1236 img_1239 img_1243

NOTE – We would recommend a stop at the Visitor Center before taking the drive and buying a $3 guide map that will give you some history about certain numbered sites along the way.

Another note – If you are like us and you visit the area you will hear a variety of opinions about the road itself on Bachelor Loop. We heard everything from “I drove my Prius around the loop” to “We barely made it in our Jeep Cherokee”. Well let me set the record straight. We probably would not drive a Prius over the entire route only because about the first 2 miles would be a challenge but if you drive the route in reverse I would do it in a Prius except for the last 2 miles.

There is a section at the beginning that is a steep climb and in our pickup I did put it in 4 wheel high and had no issues at all even though there are a few rocks that light cause a low clearance rig some problems but if you pick your line correctly you will not have issues.

As you drive the route the old mines are bound will spark your imagination about the struggle of miners digging ore in the steep cliffs above Creede. And about what life would have been like back in the day.

About half way through the route we came across the Last Chance Mine, another key spot to visit while in the area. As soon as we pulled up we were guided to a parking spot, asked to gather around and was told a story that went something like this: img_1275

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_1271 img_1273

 

** The Last Chance Mine would likely have become just another forgotten Creede mine had it not been for Jack Morris. A Missouri native, Morris became interested in mining and minerals via an unusual route. As a professional trucker, he had hauled heavy equipment to mines in Missouri’s lead belt, Arizona’s copper belt, Illinois and West Virginia coal mines and Missouri iron mines; where he met many miners and began collecting minerals. In 1995, to further his interest in minerals and mining, Morris began spending his month-long annual vacations in Creede.

Of all the historic Creede mines, the Last Chance most intrigued Morris. The owner of the Last Chance was Nancy Granger Schallen, the granddaughter of Ralph Granger, one of the businessmen who had grubstaked Theodore Renniger’s successful 1891 prospecting trip. Over the years, Granger had passed sole ownership of the mine to his son Paul, who eventually passed it on to his daughter Nancy. When Morris contacted Granger Schallen to learn more about the Last Chance, she asked if he wanted to buy the mine. After thinking it over, Morris replied that, yes, he was interested, but he couldn’t afford it.

When asked why he wanted the mine, Morris explained that he planned to open it to the public, generate revenue from the sale of the Amethyst Vein dump material, then use that money to restore mine buildings and preserve the mine’s history. Hearing that, Nancy Granger Schallen offered to sell Morris the Last Chance for nothing more than its assessed tax value.

Morris purchased the mine in 1995. In 1999, Jack moved to Creede and he then began the full-time restoration of four mine buildings. In 2005, he opened the Last Chance Mine as a fee-collecting site and historic attraction. **

After hearing the story we all (Debbie, Steve, Diane and I) decided to pay the $15 entry fee 14330865_10202147548246435_719928106_n1and take a guided tour of the mine.

Our guide “Fish” made the tour interesting and certainly was filled with knowledge but I will admit it was a little less than I had hoped for. But even though we have done a number of cave tours during our journey’s we have only one mine tour to compare to and that was the Copper Queen Mine in Bisbee Arizona and it really isn’t fair to compare the two because Copper Queen has been doing tours for years and the Last Chance Mine is in its infant stages. Oh, here is a link to our tour of the Queen Mine in case you are interested and didn’t see it before. https://daveanddiane.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/our-visit-to-bisbee-arizona/

 

Come to think about it the cost to tour the Queen Mine was $13 for a much more extensive tour. Oh well what’s $2, plus taking into consideration the expansion that is in progress at the Last Chance Mine by the time we return next year (if we do and I think we will) the tour should be pretty exciting AND SCARRY from what Fish told us.

img_1285

 

After the tour Steve really had a hankering to get down in the tailings and look for some treasures and of course Diane was totally on board with the idea. So they both went to sign a waiver saying if they fell and broke something the mine was free from any blame and away they went.

img_1283

 

 

 

 

 

Visitors that do not bring their own equipment are provided with a bucket, rock hammer, and plastic spray bottle filled with water and safety goggles. The charge to take material from the mine dump is $2 per pound.

 

img_1277 img_1281

 

Debbie and I opted out of the hunt and settled out on the deck and shot the bull while Diane & Steve beat the heck out of rocks looking for something cool.  After about an hour they both came up with what they thought were great finds but ended up tossing them over the edge when the excitement over lol. Better luck next time.

img_1289 img_1287 img_1266 img_1265 img_1264

img_1268

Debbie & Steve are into Geocaching so here they are after finding there 1 shy of 1100th cach if I remember correctly

Debbie & Steve are into Geocaching so here they are after finding there 1 shy of 1100th cach if I remember correctly

After the mine we continued our drive until eventually we ended up back in town and found our way to Tommyknockers Tavern where we shared an order of chicken wings and adult beverages and talked until well after dark.

img_8973 thumbnail_20160910_1839521

After Tommyknockers we all headed home with plans of meeting at 10am the next morning and visit the Creede Underground Mining Museum.

14330877_10202147545006354_1816649959_n1 14328926_10202147549006454_1342386622_n1 img_1262 img_1254 img_1257

I will say again that the internet in this area just sucks so we will fall behind on the blog by design because I just don’t have the patience to toy around with f and on again connections. Life is too short to be frustrated by the little things LOL!!

 

 

Advertisements
This entry was posted in A little about us and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Hanging around Creede Colorado

  1. colibabas says:

    Looks like an interesting area and quite beautiful with the fall colours.

  2. gt350ed says:

    Looks like you’re having fun in our favorite state, as are we over here in the San Juan Islands. We’re camped on North Whidbey Island next to Deception Pass for the next 3 weeks before heading for Oregon, your neck of the woods. Looking forward to seeing you down south.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s