This past week, my aunt and uncle visited from New Mexico and it was wonderful to see and spend time with someone other than my dad, mom, and sister for a change. While they were here, we spent some time in Idaho Springs and Georgetown and also at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal. I go, you go, we all go to Argo! Let me share. 🙂
My aunt and uncle drove in Monday afternoon and that evening was a pretty chill one. We hung around the house and caught up with one another. After all, the last time we saw each other was around Thanksgiving! We usually see each other over Christmas break and sometimes spring break, but things were different this past year, and so those visits didn’t happen. Fortunately, we were able to make this work, with all of the craziness in the world, especially with this virus.
Tuesday morning, we drove up to the small town of Georgetown to catch the Georgetown Railroad Loop train ride. We were required to wear masks at the park, which was an experience in itself, but it felt wonderful to be with family and to be outside! We were the first on the train and it was fun to pick where we sat before anyone else got that chance. We chose to sit in an open top car, which was ultimately a great choice because we got to experience a little bit of a breeze and the sun which was nice. I didn’t realize how much I missed the beauty of the mountains until this train ride. Colorado is a beautiful state and I feel so lucky to call such a gorgeous state my home. Following the train ride, which was about an hour and fifteen minutes long, we stopped for lunch near a lake where some fishermen were hard at work. It was a pretty spot and the chicken croissant sandwiches were a perfect lunch that day. Side-note: If you’re ever looking for something yummy to try, I HIGHLY recommend the chicken salad and croissants from Costco. That’s a pretty good meal if you ask me.
Following lunch, we drove about twenty minutes back to Idaho Springs for a tour at the Argo Mill and Tunnel. This was a place that reallllly taught me not to judge a book by its cover. Driving in, I’m not going to lie, I thought the tour was going to be horribly boring and lame. It was actually quite the opposite. The Argo Mill was the only mill in the United States around the time of the gold rush to pump out any gold products with 95% efficiency, which is a REALLY high number, especially for its time. The Argo Mill was able to produce so much gold because they used a combination of mercury and cyanide to pump out A LOT of gold. The mill’s interior was built from the wood of EIGHT redwood trees and still stands today. Most if not all of the mill is maintained to this day and it was incredible to see how permanent, strong, and truly powerful the mill was. I can only imagine what it looked like in its glory days. While there, we had a wonderful tour guide, named Brooks, so if you ever get a chance to check out the Argo Mill and Tunnel, I recommend it and if you can get Brooks, he’s a super knowledgeable guy, both on mining and on the Argo itself!
There were two stories I really enjoyed from our time at the Argo. The first was about a teacher. At a time when the mill worked consistently, women were not allowed to work there let alone travel in the mine. There was a young woman who could not get to teach at her school without traveling through the Argo Tunnel, so she took a mine cart to then get to a platform that would take her to her classes. There was one day where her skirt got caught on a part of the wooden platform as she was headed up from the tunnel and to escape doom, she twirled out of her skirt, exposing the wire hoop under. Luckily, someone was able to lend her another dress and she got to class. Now, THAT was dedication. The second story was about a water burst at the mill. There are a series of pockets or wells near or under or around the Argo Tunnel and while working in the tunnel, it was assumed that there was twenty feet of dirt and rock between the tunnel and wells, when it was actually only ten. There was a bunch of water in the wells and the pressure was so great that it burst through the layer of rock at an insane velocity. Four men working in that area were killed. Three miles down the tunnel, near the entrance, another man was working and heard the sound of the water coming. Fortunately, this man made it out, but the water had caught up to him by the time he made it to the mouth of the tunnel. I’m horrible, haha, I don’t remember any names! The water shot out of the tunnel at such a velocity that it crossed the valley and sprayed across the valley at the same velocity and with the same insane amount of force for six days. It was apparently, A LOT OF WATER. A really, really, really, strong and supported concrete wall now holds back all of that water.
Stories like these and more are some of the things you will hear about and learn about if you take a trip up to the Argo Mill and Tunnel. While the mill may really not be the most exciting thing in the world, it was certainly interesting and a good change of pace from what I usually like to learn more about.
The next day of my aunt and uncle’s visit we went up to Rocky Mountain Arsenal and walked around Lake Mary and Lake Ladora. It was pretty, but very dry. It was also hot because we made the foolish mistake of heading out around 10 am, when the sun was already really starting to beat down. Thank goodness for water bottles though, am I right? While the views were great, and the company was even better, let’s just say that I was really happy to get out of the heat. When we got home and when my mom got home from work, we had a really good dinner and then played Just Dance together on our Nintendo Switch. It was a lot of fun.
My aunt and uncle had to head out on Thursday morning which was sad, but it had still been great that they got to come. And if you guys are reading this, we look forward to having you again and I’m so glad we got to spend a couple of days with you!!
If you get a chance to and you’re in Colorado, check out the Georgetown Loop Railroad, Argo Mill and Tunnel, or Rocky Mountain Arsenal. Or all three! Do what you please. 🙂 Have a good week and I’ll see you next Sunday!