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Abandoned silver mines in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado


During a road trip from Denver to Las Vegas, I stayed with my family for two days in the pretty western town of Durango , Colorado. There I booked a combined jeep train tour to Silverton at MildtoWild. The city is located in a valley of the San Juan Mountains at an altitude of 2,837 m. It's a typical western town, like something out of a movie. Silverton is a fully listed building. Silverton was founded after silver was found in the 1870s and around ten years later it was at the height of its history when it was connected to the railway network. Here we climbed into Mike's open jeep. We drove with him and his dog up to an altitude of exactly 4000 m through beautiful mountain landscapes to the California Pass. It was August and it was getting colder (about 8 degrees). But we had thick clothes with us, in contrast to some American tourists,  who did the tour with slippers! On the way we saw the remains of gold mines and small settlements again and again. Most of the houses, however, had fallen into disrepair. A ghosttown, anima forks,  was still in good condition. Here we were able to see some of the renovated houses and get an insight into the Spartan living conditions of the gold diggers. Mike also wanted to hike up a river with us and show us a very special mine. But when I fell in the water, he gave up. The river just carried too much water. The tour was full of many experiences.

Back in Silverton we boarded the Durango Silverton Train . A historic steam train from the beginning of the 20th century. The train meanders through spectacular, breathtaking gorges in the remote wilderness of the two million acre San Juan National Forest, always along the Animas River. We traveled in the same footsteps as the miners, cowboys and settlers of the Old West over a century ago. Even the conductor was in true 19th century style. The views over the river and mountains were breathtaking. The train journey takes 3 hours. That was a great day.

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