The Bachelor Historic Tour

02_MiningEquipment_webWith its rich history, we knew there had to be a lot of fun territory to explore near Creede. After a quick check-in at the local Chamber of Commerce, we had map and information in hand for the Bachelor Historic Tour, a self-guided 17-mile drive that includes 17 interpretive stops and points of interest showcasing Creede’s mining history.

One of our first stops provided an opportunity to get a good glimpse at some of the original and more recent mining equipment and structures. Known as the Commodore Mine, this was one of the first locations of mining claims. More than 200 miles of tunnels and underground workings lie within this area, and ore production here spanned from 1891 to 1976.

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 Further up the road, we came to the former site of Weaver City, a community that had sprung up at the base of the Amethyst and Last Chance mines, two of the area’s richest producers. The building shown in the photo was a livery which housed some of the animals working in the mines.

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About halfway into the tour, we reached a flat area known as Allen’s Crossing. Here we found numerous streams and beaver ponds. Fish were coming up all over to feed on the mayfly hatch, even at the noon hour, and we made a mental note to get back here with the fly rods.

05_BeautifulStream_webEven here in mountains nearing 12,000 feet in elevation, one can’t help but notice the impact of the bark beetles. We estimated that at least 90 percent of the fir trees we saw are dead or dying.

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After a few more turns, we came to the driving tour’s namesake: the Bachelor Townsite. In 1884, John C. McKenzie located the Bachelor Mine. Five years later, an enterprising couple, C. L. Calvin and his wife, erected a home and a boarding house here. As the Bachelor and Last Chance mines continued to hit pay dirt, the area became Creede’s fast-growing “suburb.” And when fire claimed most of Creede on June 5, 1892, many of Creede’s citizens moved up here. In fact at one point, more than 12,000 people lived in Bachelor.

Now, all that is left is the remnants of one structure and scattered pieces of thin, rusted tin.

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I found this guy there as well. I think I’ll keep him around.

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It is said that a gravesite lies just below the Bachelor townsite in a small grove of aspens. As the story goes, a young girl had pneumonia, and her father, who was Bachelor’s minister, rode down to Creede to get the doctor. Unable to find him, the father returned home and found a strange man standing over his daughter’s bed. Thinking his daughter was being attacked, he shot the man, who unfortunately was the doctor who had rode to Bachelor to make his regular rounds.

The young girl died of pneumonia and her father committed suicide. The two of them, as well as the doctor, are reported to have been buried in the same grave, one on top of the other, as the frozen ground was rock hard and difficult to dig.

We did not walk through the aspen grove but enjoyed the beautiful meadow surrounding it. I was especially taken with the wild iris flowers dotting the landscape.

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 Just prior to our descent, we stopped for an aerial view of Creede.

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As we drove back into Creede, we couldn’t resist a look at the town cemetery. Small but beautiful, it included headstones memorializing individuals and families key to Creede history. One large headstone resembling a church was unmarked but was respectfully fenced with aged wrought iron.

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Another that caught my eye was that of a child who had died before the age of three.

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As one who loves language and particularly the romantic nature of that used in the 1800s, I was touched by the poem engraved upon it:

God needed one more angel child
Amidst his shining band
And so he bent with loving smile
And clasped our darling’s hand

If you ever find yourself in Creede, I highly recommend the Bachelor Historic Tour as well as the vegetarian tacos I enjoyed afterward at Kip’s Grill. Full of roasted Hatch green chiles, black beans and cheddar cheese, the local-made flour tortillas were threatening to burst. But they were not so full that I didn’t smother them with sour cream, the house julienne tomato salsa and steamy chipotle sauce. The tasty food, a good selection of draft and bottle beers, and both Jameson’s and Maker’s among the liquors stocked here makes Kip’s a Scott-and-Janie favorite. I’m sure we’ll be back.

 

2 Comments

  1. Torre
    Jul 23, 2013

    How interesting! The scenery is beautiful – hate to hear about the damage from the bark beetle though.

  2. Sandie
    Jul 28, 2013

    I just loved reading this post. It sounds like such a great trip and really enjoyed the sweet poem. Thank you for taking us along.

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