August 22, 2011

Animas Forks - Camping Adventure Part III

 
One of our goals for this year's camping vacation was to take our son-in-law to see the ghost mining town of Animas Forks. Most of the mining towns in the San Juans are in dire ruins, but not Animas Forks.


We'd been there previously while taking the Loop Tour of Engineer and Cinnamon Pass. This year, however, we were unable to rent a jeep, so we braved the 4-wheel drive road in our own Yukon (or Mama's Grocery Machine) as my husband likes to call it.



Okay, so it was my idea, and I dearly began to regret getting my husband involved in this idea when the road quickly turned narrow, rough and rowdy. What was I thinking?!!! If you're unable to read the sign above it says: Driving off-road is illegal. Stay on maintained roads. Ha! As though anyone is going to get off one of these roads.


He took it slow and steady, and we eventually arrived at our destination. And what a beautiful site it was. 


The first log cabin in Animas Forks was built in 1873 and within ten years, the population had grown to nearly 450 people. It never fails to amaze me how well preserved this ghost town remains.

At 11,200 feet elevation, you know the snow gets really deep here in the winter. One cabin journal mentions that the owner would stick a cup out her window to withdraw snow for drinking, the snow packed up to her rooftop. 


I think this three-story home is really awesome. Built by William Duncan in 1879 with an impressive bay window. It must have been horribly cold with the wind blowing in through all those windows. 


But what a glorious site it would have been each morning when you awoke. 



This is my favorite home, built by Charles Gustavson in 1907 with a lovely front porch. 


Journals explain that the Gustavson's used newspaper insulation between the walls, but brrrr it would have been cold. Many of these homes had six or more rooms, and this house had a three-seated privy. Now that's convenience! Though it started raining when we arrived in Animas Forks, the sun came out at the end for some glorious picture-taking.

Next time, I'll write about some of our hiking adventures, one of them ending with a splash!
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