Accidental Snowbirds

St. Elmo Ghost Town

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I had never gone to a ghost town before, although we have camped with ghosts. Since we were in Salida for an Xscapers Convergence for a month, it was the perfect opportunity to head out and see the ghost town of St. Elmo. Certainly, it was a perfect day trip and an easy place to explore.

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Exploring is so much more fun with friends.

History of St. Elmo

Originally named Forest City, St. Elmo was settled after a silver deposit was discovered in nearby Chalk Creek Canyon. Because of this, it was settled in 1870 as the Mary Murphy mine began to flourish. In 1881, St. Elmo had two sawmills, a smelter and concentrator, 3 hotels, 5 restaurants, a newspaper, and numerous other businesses.

At that same time, a major railroad completed a line to St. Elmo. 

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Part of downtown St. Elmo.

Unfortunately, the silver mined was low grade, resulting in poor revenue. In the late 1980s, the town burned down three times and the silver crash of 1893 was enough for even the most hearty of residents to pack up and leave.

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Sadly, the remnants of a once-thriving town.

As a result, the town has undergone extensive restoration of existing buildings and a small group of people works tirelessly to keep the buildings from deteriorating. 

River Hike

After spending the winter and spring in the arid desert, hiking down to a rushing river was a lovely change.

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A refreshing sight after many months in the desert.

So, I hadn’t realized how much I missed the feeling of the mist of the river hitting my skin. Although, I had forgotten how much mosquitoes love the dark, damp forest. How quickly we forget!

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Can we ever take a “normal” family picture?

Chipmunks

St. Elmo Ghost Town is known for its chipmunks. There is a little park where you can sit and eat lunch and the chipmunks will solicit a snack, Meanwhile, poor Z just wanted to make new friends, but they were too fast for him.

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Z trying to make new friends.

Certainly, St. Elmo was a great day trip with wonderful friends. Then, we ended the day with a stop for ice cream!

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Enjoying ice cream with fellow nomads, the Status Crowes.

Have you been exploring ghost towns? Let us know where we should go next by leaving a comment below.

 

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Wolf Creek Pass: A Cautionary Tale

 

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