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Category Archives: History

Road Trip Day 12 – Ghost Town at Animas Forks

Saturday 15th September 2018

Having looped all around, we drove back to Durango today and met our dear friends from Flagstaff with whom we are to share a few days of our trip. They have a 4×4 in which they have offered to drive us into the back country on the road known as the Alpine Loop to visit a Ghost Town, left abandoned by the gold and silver miners in the early 1900s and which by 1920 was a Ghost Town. First a gallery to show some of the sights on today’s drive of 186 miles.

From Durango off we went to find Animas Forks, a little town which I found very moving indeed.
Some of my readers may remember the research I did in 2016 into a Cornish tin miner who emigrated to Colorado, taking his sought after hard rock mining skills. This was the kind of place he may have come to. For those new to my work – his fiancée, Mary, followed him, travelling alone across the seas from Cornwall then across the USA to be with her John. They married and had a child, Foster, whose war grave is in St Euny Graveyard, just down the road from us. John died when Foster was very young and Mary returned to Redruth, with her little boy, to be with her family – another challenging and amazing journey for a young woman in the late 1800s.  Foster died in 1916, while in training to join WW1 and his mother died just 6 months later. They are buried in the same grave in St Euny.
I walked around this remote town in the mountains imagining Mary, fresh from Cornwall, in this bleak environment.

The drive was another challenging one but this time we weren’t driving! The Quaking Aspens were becoming more beautiful by the day, the road rougher and the destination more remote. What must Mary, coming to meet her much loved man, have been thinking as she made this journey at only 21 years old?

If you’d like to know more about Animas Forks, here is a link to Wikipedia 

 

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Road Trip Day 8 – The Million Dollar Highway

Sunday 11th September 2018

Oh my, what a ride that was from Mesa Verde to Durango and on to Ouray over the Red Mountain Pass! Switch backs, mountain edges, trucks on narrow ledges, fabulous views for the non-driver and edge of the seat stuff for us both! We were both surprised and delighted to see the start of the glorious Fall colours, something we hadn’t anticipated.

Harleys with Mesa Verde behind

The road

Fall colour

Some of the switchbacks

We found our ride through the Red Mountain area particularly interesting as there was evidence of the mining that happened here in the late 1800s. Many Cornish miners, Cousin Jacks, left Cornwall to bring their hard rock mining skills to Colorado.

Info about The Red Mountain Mining District

Left behind house at the Red Mountain stop

Red Mountain

A truck taking one of the switchback turns

Edge of the seat riding

Black Bear Manor, our delightful B&B in Ouray

You might, or might not, like to look at this information about the Million Dollar Highway.
I’m glad I didn’t quite know what we were about to drive!

 

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Day 7 – Mesa Verde, 700 Years Tour

Monday 10th September 2018

A four hour tour in the company of an erudite archaeologist/anthropologist made for a fascinating morning touring the Mesa Verde sites, looking at homes that had been lived in over the last 700 years. The community of Cliff Palace must have been quite something. Do click on the rather small photo to see the detail of Cliff Palace and the tiny people, braver than I, who climbed down to the palace and climbed up again via three 10′ ladders up the cliffside!

A delicious cocktail completed a brilliant day!

 

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Road Trip Day 6 – Mesa Verde, Far View

Sunday 9th September 2018

Mesa Verde was a looming green mountain and a cracking drive of hairpin bends up to the top where we were to stay for three nights. From the National Parks website: “Mesa Verde National Park was established in 1906 to preserve and interpret the archeological heritage of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from 600 to 1300 CE. Today, the park protects nearly 5,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States.”

https://www.nps.gov/meve/learn/historyculture/mt_far_view_sites.htm

 

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A Celebration of Women

What a fabulous afternoon being a part of celebrating the Centenary of some women getting the vote! We all gathered in Mawnan Smith – The Mawnan Smith W I, singers from my choirs, Guides, Brownies and Rainbows and many supporters and we marched along to Trebah Gardens, singing some of the way when we had enough breath! We finished in the amphitheatre  and sang for all the wonderful people who had joined us along the way. Such a wonderful feeling of solidarity, such a deep feeling of community and an acknowledgement that there is still some way to go and that we must carry on where our sisters have fought before. Click on any photo for a bigger view and the caption.

Votes for Women!

 

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KwaZulu Natal – Day 8

May 1st 2018

Dawn over the Buffalo River on our last morning here at Rorkes Drift.  Does the shape remind you of anything?

Buffalo River

On our way to Cathedral Peak, we stopped off at another battlefield, this time from the Boer War, the Spioenkop Battlefield, where it seems that tactics went awry and many young men, many of them teenagers,  were killed right there in the shallow trenches that they were able to dig and they lie where they fell. The futility of war again touched our hearts. 

How those parents must have grieved; this stone being the only one set by a young soldier’s family. I found this very moving.

 

 

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KwaZulu Natal – Day 7

30th April

Today was a tour of the Zulu battlefields which I thought I would have no interest in but I was mistaken. Having the battles described on site at Isandlwana (where the British were beaten and massacred) and Rorke’s Drift (where they won the battle and many Zulus died) made it all come alive and emphasised the terrible futility of war.

Tapestry in the museum

 

 

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