Just east of Aspen Colorado, along highway 82, you come along a site straight out of an old west movie.
It's Independence ghost town. That's right, a ghost town - the real thing!
Places like this are so fascinating to me - the idea that a town springs up to take advantage of gold, silver, whatever it may be. Then it all goes bust and people just leave it all there.
Unfortunately for this area, there were more than 2,000 people at one time all crammed into a small valley. The winters can be brutal at those elevations, and back in those days there wasn't any natural gas. Put 2 and 2 together, and you know what that means - good bye trees. They pretty much chopped all the trees down and used them to build houses and as firewood.
But after some time, people replanted trees here. It's pretty obvious too - they did it in rows, almost like a cornfield! Hopefully this won't blow up in our faces in the future though, as I've learned that some replanting can be bad - it needs to be done in a way that randomly plants different tree species, and over a long period of time so all the trees aren't the same age and the same species. Evidently the recent fires in Colorado are partly being caused by this problem - the pine beetle is thriving at low elevations due to so much pine replanting. Makes it too easy for the beetles to thrive since they can hop to and from pines all over the place, rather than having to go from a pine, to an Aspen, etc etc until finding another pine. They bore into the pines like crazy, and most of them survive the winters since it's at a low altitude and isn't too cold, and the population exponentially grows. This leads to pines eaten from the inside out, and this means dead trees, which are perfect fuel for fires. Call me a tree-hugger if you want, but we can do better than this. Anyway, back to the photos! Here's a foundation of what used to be a nice log cabin:
And that's all from my mini Colorado travel series! At least for now - if at all possible, I'll be back there soon! What a beautiful place. And a place we need to treat with respect and cherish, so our kids and grandkids can do the same.
Now go hug some trees - I'll be right there beside you.