We made the decision to take three days to drive across Colorado to Mesa Verde National Park and back to Broomfield. There was a little bit of concern about the high altitude, but both of us handled it fine except for a little bit of short-breathedness in Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the United States at 10,152 feet. I was especially interested in visiting Leadville since I just finished reading Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, an account of an Eastern woman’s life with a mining engineer in the late 19th century which was based on Mary Hallock Foote’s diaries and letters.
Early Leadville was a place that many characters from the Wild West visited. We were surprised to find a connection from Leadville to Skagway, Alaska, a town that we visited last year. It turns out that “Soapy” Smith, a con man who met his demise by gunfight by a fed-up townsman in Skagway, had fled there after being kicked out of Leadville.
There was still snow on the ground in the area around Leadville, and beautiful high mountain views. From there we drove south through the Arkansas River Valley.