The Colorado 14er Project: Day 13

Day 13

Watch the Day 13 Episode now!

After a long day shivering in the frigid winds at 14,000 feet on Day #12 we were ready for another recovery day. So, for Day #13 we planned on moving camp from Leadville down to Poncha Springs. Along the way we’d do lost of touristy things and meet up with some great friends. 

To start off our busy day, we visited one of the highlights of the Leadville area and our 12th water feature—Turquoise Lake. This lake has great views of nearby 14ers and offers opportunities for hiking, biking, boating, fishing, camping, and more! 

Before hitting the road, we needed some coffee and breakfast, which lead to a quick visit of our 12th featured coffeeshop—Cookies with Altitude. This cool little place has a colorful atmosphere and just seems a perfect fit at 10,000+ feet in the mountain town of Leadville. Obviously, they serve coffee and just about every variety of cookie you can think of, but they also great breakfast and lunch menus!

Now, it was time to start heading south towards Poncha Springs. Along the way we had several stops planned to knock a few more items off our lists. First, was a slight detour for our 13th scenic drive—a 16-mile stretch of County Road 162. The drive is mostly in pine forest with a few glimpses of the towering surrounding peaks and flowing creek. 

On the drive we stopped for a short hike to our 13th water feature—Agnes Vaille Falls. At the end of the hike we spotted our 10th featured wildflower—the Hairy Goldenaster

After the hike it was time to get back to the drive! This stretch of road leads to one of the best preserved and easiest to reach ghost towns in all of the west—St. Elmo! During its boom days around 1880, the town housed around 2,000 residents and had plenty of saloons to keep the gold and silver miners entertained. The town held on a bit longer than other nearby mining settlements, but eventually fizzled out just before 1960. Now, it’s home to just over 40 well-preserved buildings, a general store, and not much else. 

Being tourists all day worked up a bit of a thirst. Luckily, our next stop was 13th distillery of the project—Deerhammer Distilling Company. As luck would have it, our friends Mike and Steph were in the area and decided to meet up with us! It had been a few days since we met up with friends on the project. Getting to hang out with Mike and Steph was a great way to forget about how exhausted we were and just focus on enjoying time with friends. If there’s one thing that’s hard to beat, it’s enjoying good whiskey on a sunny patio in Colorado with great friends. 

Lastly, no visit to Buena Vista is complete without a stop at one of two locations for our 13th featured brewery—Eddyline Brewery. Whether you’ve been hiking 14ers all day or playing tourist; the beer and food at Eddyline always hits the spot. 

Now, it was finally time to head to our campsite for the night. As we arrived the sun was setting and we noticed a patch of flowers surrounding the camper. So, we snuck in our 11th featured wildflower—the Yellow Rabbitbrush

With another long day under our belts it was time to hit the sack. Day #14 still had a lot in store for us…

So, here’s to 1 more day exploring colorful Colorado…

14ers 12/14: None today!
Water Feature 12/14: Turquoise Lake
Coffeeshop 12/14: Cookies with Altitude
Scenic Drive 13/14: County Road 162 to St. Elmo Ghost Town
Water Feature 13/14: Agnes Vaille Falls
Wildflower 10/14: Hairy Goldenaster
Distillery 13/14: Deerhammer Distilling Company
Brewery 13/14: Eddyline Brewery
Wildflower 11/14: Yellow Rabbitbrush

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