The Colorado We Like  
Base Camp – Camping is the way to really experience nature, but there are times when a mattress feels good and someone else doing the cooking is great. Our favorite base camp is the International Lodge in Nederland. Known as the Nederhaus back in the ‘60s, the International Lodge is now owned by Eldora Ski lodge and used to house young workers who come from Europe to work at the lodge during ski season.Photo © 2008
Base Camp – Camping is the way to really experience nature, but there are times when a mattress feels good and someone else doing the cooking is great. Our favorite base camp is the International Lodge in Nederland. Known as the Nederhaus back in the ‘60s, the International Lodge is now owned by Eldora Ski lodge and used to house young workers who come from Europe to work at the lodge during ski season.

Photo © 2008

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The lodge is located on the outskirts of Nederland. The crossroad shown from our room on our last visit gives two directions of travel. Straight ahead leads to the Eldora Ski Lodge and a lot of scenery past the lodge. Taking the fork to the left 119 “Peak to Peak Highway”, leads to our favorite area, or if you continue on, it leads to Central City and Silverton, currently major gambling areas. To the right is Nederland, dating back to its beginnings in the 1850’s as a trading post between the Ute Indians and settlers, it is one of the few mountain villages that have not been taken over by the Hollywood crowd.Photo © 2008
The lodge is located on the outskirts of Nederland. The crossroad shown from our room on our last visit gives two directions of travel. Straight ahead leads to the Eldora Ski Lodge and a lot of scenery past the lodge. Taking the fork to the left 119 “Peak to Peak Highway”, leads to our favorite area, or if you continue on, it leads to Central City and Silverton, currently major gambling areas. To the right is Nederland, dating back to its beginnings in the 1850’s as a trading post between the Ute Indians and settlers, it is one of the few mountain villages that have not been taken over by the Hollywood crowd.
Photo © 2008

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A right turn at Rollinsville gets you on the East Portal Road. A short distance up the dirt road brings one to Tolland, home of a sheriff’s office and a few cottages. Photo © 2008
A right turn at Rollinsville gets you on the East Portal Road. A short distance up the dirt road brings one to Tolland, home of a sheriff’s office and a few cottages.

Photo © 2008

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The road follows the railroad on its journey to the Moffat Tunnel, where it will pass under the mountains in its way to the West. As we make our way along the road, we catch up with a West Bound passing a stopped East Bound headed for Denver. Photo © 2008
The road follows the railroad on its journey to the Moffat Tunnel, where it will pass under the mountains in its way to the West. As we make our way along the road, we catch up with a West Bound passing a stopped East Bound headed for Denver.

Photo © 2008

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The road passes under the train on one of the few underpasses on the route. Most are grade level crossings. Although we tried, we could not get far enough ahead to beat the freight to the tunnel because of grade level crossings ahead. Photo © 2008
The road passes under the train on one of the few underpasses on the route. Most are grade level crossings. Although we tried, we could not get far enough ahead to beat the freight to the tunnel because of grade level crossings ahead.

Photo © 2008

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This sign gives one two ways to go. To the left, the distance of two or three city blocks, is the Moffat Tunnel. To the right the road 149 promises Rollins Pass. This is somewhat of a misnomer, in that a “pass” is normally considered a passage to the other side of the mountain. In this instance it is accurate if you are riding a bicycle and are willing to carry it over the top of the road. The road itself stops at the entrance of the Needle Eye Tunnel, which has been closed since the 1980s, due to expense of repairing it after frequent cave-ins. In actuality mountain bike cyclists make up the majority of traffic on the road today. Since it follows the old railroad grade over the top of the mountain, used before the Moffat Tunnel was constructed, it’s at a 6% grade most of the way to the top. Cyclists from all over the world make the trip to take advantage of this road, which, after the trek over the top, leads to Winter Park on the western slope. Photo © 2008
This sign gives one two ways to go. To the left, the distance of two or three city blocks, is the Moffat Tunnel. To the right the road 149 promises Rollins Pass. This is somewhat of a misnomer, in that a “pass” is normally considered a passage to the other side of the mountain. In this instance it is accurate if you are riding a bicycle and are willing to carry it over the top of the road. The road itself stops at the entrance of the Needle Eye Tunnel, which has been closed since the 1980s, due to expense of repairing it after frequent cave-ins. In actuality mountain bike cyclists make up the majority of traffic on the road today. Since it follows the old railroad grade over the top of the mountain, used before the Moffat Tunnel was constructed, it’s at a 6% grade most of the way to the top. Cyclists from all over the world make the trip to take advantage of this road, which, after the trek over the top, leads to Winter Park on the western slope.

Photo © 2008

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A short distance up 149 one can look back over their right shoulder and see the railroad track, crossed earlier, as it heads up to the now closed doors of the Moffat Tunnel. Photo © 2008
A short distance up 149 one can look back over their right shoulder and see the railroad track, crossed earlier, as it heads up to the now closed doors of the Moffat Tunnel.

Photo © 2008



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Looking straight to the right, one can see the rail overpass shown earlier with the passing gondolas and the dirt road that we drove under the passing train. Photo © 2008
Looking straight to the right, one can see the rail overpass shown earlier with the passing gondolas and the dirt road that we drove under the passing train.

Photo © 2008

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A zoom in shows the overpass close up. Photo © 2008
A zoom in shows the overpass close up.

Photo © 2008

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The puffy white clouds contrast with the rich blue sky, a common sight at this altitude far above polluted air of the distant cities. The dark green color of the lush evergreens attest to the snow that is measured in yards, rather than inches that covered the area last winter. Photo © 2008
The puffy white clouds contrast with the rich blue sky, a common sight at this altitude far above polluted air of the distant cities. The dark green color of the lush evergreens attest to the snow that is measured in yards, rather than inches that covered the area last winter.

Photo © 2008

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“Divided Highway” – Until late in the summer the left route is still blocked with snow, necessitating an alternate route up the old railroad grade, now used mainly by fishermen and bikers. Photo © 2008
“Divided Highway” – Until late in the summer the left route is still blocked with snow, necessitating an alternate route up the old railroad grade, now used mainly by fishermen and bikers.

Photo © 2008

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As the altitude gets higher, one starts to notice a change in the type of trees that line the roadbed. Photo © 2008
As the altitude gets higher, one starts to notice a change in the type of trees that line the roadbed.

Photo © 2008

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Beginning of one of the 4-wheel drive only roads can be seen below. The area is honeycombed with these old mine roads, now recreation routes. Some are seldom used, as the space between trees will not allow passage of anything newer than a 1950 Jeep. If you are lucky enough to own one of these old “mountain canaries”, you had better be willing to have your steps welded back on when you get to the other end, because you have a good chance of losing at least one. Photo © 2008
Beginning of one of the 4-wheel drive only roads can be seen below. The area is honeycombed with these old mine roads, now recreation routes. Some are seldom used, as the space between trees will not allow passage of anything newer than a 1950 Jeep. If you are lucky enough to own one of these old “mountain canaries”, you had better be willing to have your steps welded back on when you get to the other end, because you have a good chance of losing at least one.

Photo © 2008

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I just thought this looked cool, the blue sky with white fluffy clouds over the deep cut for the road bed. Photo © 2008
I just thought this looked cool, the blue sky with white fluffy clouds over the deep cut for the road bed.

Photo © 2008

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The campsite is almost hidden from the road as shown in this picture from the lane up from the road.
The most important piece for Jerry is the green hammock stretched between the 2 trees in the foreground. Photo © 2008
The campsite is almost hidden from the road as shown in this picture from the lane up from the road.
The most important piece for Jerry is the green hammock stretched between the 2 trees in the foreground.

Photo © 2008


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The trusty old GPS shows the elevation of the camp – a measly 10,924 feet above sea level, more than twice the elevation of Denver below. Photo © 2008
The trusty old GPS shows the elevation of the camp – a measly 10,924 feet above sea level, more than twice the elevation of Denver below.

Photo © 2008

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No campsite is worth its salt without a good stream with fast running clear water. Although we run the water from this stream through a filter today, back in the ‘60’s we spent years of drinking directly from the stream with no ill effects. But in those days we laughed at anyone who used a tent, preferring to sleep under the stars in just a good sleeping bag. We were even known to do that Christmas week, waking up to a foot or more of new snow on us in the morning. Photo © 2008
No campsite is worth its salt without a good stream with fast running clear water. Although we run the water from this stream through a filter today, back in the ‘60’s we spent years of drinking directly from the stream with no ill effects. But in those days we laughed at anyone who used a tent, preferring to sleep under the stars in just a good sleeping bag. We were even known to do that Christmas week, waking up to a foot or more of new snow on us in the morning.

Photo © 2008

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Refrigerators are sure handy in a campsite. According to the GPS, a couple pictures back this was taken July 25, 2008. Snow banks are still plentiful in the area at this time of the year. Photo © 2008
Refrigerators are sure handy in a campsite. According to the GPS, a couple pictures back this was taken July 25, 2008. Snow banks are still plentiful in the area at this time of the year.

Photo © 2008

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With temperature dropping down into the 40s at night, a combination heat and cooking stove is always handy. Photo © 2008
With temperature dropping down into the 40s at night, a combination heat and cooking stove is always handy.

Photo © 2008

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Another one of the unused refrigerators waits for overflow items. Photo © 2008
Another one of the unused refrigerators waits for overflow items.

Photo © 2008



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The kitchen is all set up, waiting for mealtime, including a supply cabinet (dome tent), dining chairs, tea table, kitchen counter, Coleman cook stove, and one-of-a-kind custom-built aluminum kitchen cabinet that holds everything needed to prepare a meal. Photo © 2008
The kitchen is all set up, waiting for mealtime, including a supply cabinet (dome tent), dining chairs, tea table, kitchen counter, Coleman cook stove, and one-of-a-kind custom-built aluminum kitchen cabinet that holds everything needed to prepare a meal.

Photo © 2008

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Opened up, the kitchen is ready to use. The aluminum drawer in the lower section contains all the table settings. Another piece of the set, containing spices and condiments that need to be out of smelling range of animals is in the vehicle. Photo © 2008
Opened up, the kitchen is ready to use. The aluminum drawer in the lower section contains all the table settings. Another piece of the set, containing spices and condiments that need to be out of smelling range of animals is in the vehicle.

Photo © 2008

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Wildflowers surround the camp where ever there is enough sunlight reaching the ground to support them. Photo © 2008
Wildflowers surround the camp where ever there is enough sunlight reaching the ground to support them.

Photo © 2008

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View out the kitchen “window”. Photo © 2008
View out the kitchen “window”.

Photo © 2008

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Jerry’s favorite pastime on a vacation. Photo © 2008
Jerry’s favorite pastime on a vacation.

Photo © 2008



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Virginia’s favorite pastime on a vacation, approximately a mile up the winding road from camp – shot with a long telephoto lens. Photo © 2008
Virginia’s favorite pastime on a vacation, approximately a mile up the winding road from camp – shot with a long telephoto lens.

Photo © 2008

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Noon time and the temperature has gotten up to 64 degrees, according to the digital thermometer. Photo © 2008
Noon time and the temperature has gotten up to 64 degrees, according to the digital thermometer.

Photo © 2008

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The mighty woodsmen, Jerry, in the process of getting some campfire fuel. Actually this picture got me in trouble when I sent it back to the office and some actually believed I cut that tree down. It would have taken a couple weeks and a multitude of batteries with that 18-volt B&D chain saw that is just used to cut up downed limbs for the fire. Photo © 2008
The mighty woodsmen, Jerry, in the process of getting some campfire fuel. Actually this picture got me in trouble when I sent it back to the office and some actually believed I cut that tree down. It would have taken a couple weeks and a multitude of batteries with that 18-volt B&D chain saw that is just used to cut up downed limbs for the fire.

Photo © 2008

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A visitor (deer) left calling cards on a visit during the night. Photo © 2008
A visitor (deer) left calling cards on a visit during the night.

Photo © 2008

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The old railroad bed can barely be seen below the blue arrow from the campsite. Photo © 2008
The old railroad bed can barely be seen below the blue arrow from the campsite.

Photo © 2008

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Looking to the east one can see the western edge of the Eldora ski area in the extreme right top. Photo © 2008
Looking to the east one can see the western edge of the Eldora ski area in the extreme right top.

Photo © 2008

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The edge of Eldora ski area through a long lens. Although closed to motor vehicles since the early ‘70s, the old mining roads down the mountain can still be seen. Back in the ‘60s this road was a favorite of Jeepers. It sits at about 45 degrees from ground towards the sky. Photo © 2008
The edge of Eldora ski area through a long lens. Although closed to motor vehicles since the early ‘70s, the old mining roads down the mountain can still be seen. Back in the ‘60s this road was a favorite of Jeepers. It sits at about 45 degrees from ground towards the sky.

Photo © 2008

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The road up from civilization, if you can call areas with crowds of people that. Photo © 2008
The road up from civilization, if you can call areas with crowds of people that.

Photo © 2008

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One of the two trout lakes that attract most of what little traffic a person sees while camping in the area. This, Yankee Doodle Lake, and Jenny Lake a half mile up the road, are stocked weekly all summer long and attract fishermen from the area below. About the only other people who know about the area are mountain bikers. It is known worldwide by that group for its six percent grade up one side of the mountain and down the other. Photo © 2008
One of the two trout lakes that attract most of what little traffic a person sees while camping in the area. This, Yankee Doodle Lake, and Jenny Lake a half mile up the road, are stocked weekly all summer long and attract fishermen from the area below. About the only other people who know about the area are mountain bikers. It is known worldwide by that group for its six percent grade up one side of the mountain and down the other.

Photo © 2008

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A small glacier that lasts all year around feeds Yankee Doodle Lake. It is occasionally used by a snowboarder who has found it for summer use. Have to have good braking skills to avoid a bath in the lake. Photo © 2008
A small glacier that lasts all year around feeds Yankee Doodle Lake. It is occasionally used by a snowboarder who has found it for summer use. Have to have good braking skills to avoid a bath in the lake.

Photo © 2008

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Although a few high-wheelbase Jeeps had made it through this cut earlier, we high centered on this snow bank and had to rock hard to get back off on July 24. Photo © 2008
Although a few high-wheelbase Jeeps had made it through this cut earlier, we high centered on this snow bank and had to rock hard to get back off on July 24.

Photo © 2008

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Two days later we were able to get through in the Suburban. Photo © 2008
Two days later we were able to get through in the Suburban.

Photo © 2008

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Our original goal for the day is the point below the arrow, the Needle Eye tunnel. Before the construction of the Moffat Tunnel, All east and west bound trains climbed this roadbed and passed through the Needle Eye Tunnel at the top, before heading down the other side. Photo © 2008
Our original goal for the day is the point below the arrow, the Needle Eye tunnel. Before the construction of the Moffat Tunnel, All east and west bound trains climbed this roadbed and passed through the Needle Eye Tunnel at the top, before heading down the other side.

Photo © 2008

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On up the road we were stopped dead in our tracks by this snowbank that stopped everyone except a few mountain bikers who carefully pushed their bikes across on their way to the top. Photo © 2008
On up the road we were stopped dead in our tracks by this snowbank that stopped everyone except a few mountain bikers who carefully pushed their bikes across on their way to the top.

Photo © 2008

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The GPS shows the altitude as climbed to 11,090 feet at the snow bank. Photo © 2008
The GPS shows the altitude as climbed to 11,090 feet at the snow bank.

Photo © 2008

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The Needle Eye, as it looked in the late ‘60s when it this picture was taken. We drove a Jeep through it frequently. The last time we were able to get through was in the mid ‘80s. Cost of maintaining it caused the park department to close it shortly after that. The only group that makes it across are the bikers who have to carry their bikes up and over the tunnel to the other side. Photo © 2008
The Needle Eye, as it looked in the late ‘60s when it this picture was taken. We drove a Jeep through it frequently. The last time we were able to get through was in the mid ‘80s. Cost of maintaining it caused the park department to close it shortly after that. The only group that makes it across are the bikers who have to carry their bikes up and over the tunnel to the other side.

Photo © 2008

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Looking down from up on the road to the top one can see the driveway that leads to the camp site we use, shown by arrow, nestled in the tall pine trees out of sight of the rest of the world. Photo © 2008
Looking down from up on the road to the top one can see the driveway that leads to the camp site we use, shown by arrow, nestled in the tall pine trees out of sight of the rest of the world.

Photo © 2008

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Another day, another side trip. Heading down, a look to the left shows the train track and road that we will be traveling on our way to the other side of the valley. Photo © 2008
Another day, another side trip. Heading down, a look to the left shows the train track and road that we will be traveling on our way to the other side of the valley.

Photo © 2008

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A recent landslide gives the vehicle a healthy tip to its left as it crosses the dirt and rocks waiting to be graded away. Photo © 2008
A recent landslide gives the vehicle a healthy tip to its left as it crosses the dirt and rocks waiting to be graded away.

Photo © 2008

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The squeamish don’t want to look too close as this shot out the driver’s window shows the sheer drop-off at the edge of the narrow road. Photo © 2008
The squeamish don’t want to look too close as this shot out the driver’s window shows the sheer drop-off at the edge of the narrow road.

Photo © 2008

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Heading up from the valley on the Apex road one spends time in giant evergreens that line the path. Photo © 2008
Heading up from the valley on the Apex road one spends time in giant evergreens that line the path.

Photo © 2008

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Deep dips in the road are common on all dirt mountain roads. They stop the water from running down the roadway and washing it away by diverting the water off to the side. A rare site is the car following, one can drive for hours and never see a single person. Photo © 2008
Deep dips in the road are common on all dirt mountain roads. They stop the water from running down the roadway and washing it away by diverting the water off to the side. A rare site is the car following, one can drive for hours and never see a single person.

Photo © 2008

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Vegetation is completely different on this side of the valley than the side with the campground as can be seen in this picture. Photo © 2008
Vegetation is completely different on this side of the valley than the side with the campground as can be seen in this picture.

Photo © 2008

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This scene was a surprise. I have pictures of this area from the same angle taken only about 20 years ago that showed a bare hillside, covered only in grass. The area was stripped of trees to build cabins and to use for heating fuel by miners during the silver and gold rush days. It took more than a half century to get a start of trees, but only a couple decades to become well forested. Copyright 2008
This scene was a surprise. I have pictures of this area from the same angle taken only about 20 years ago that showed a bare hillside, covered only in grass. The area was stripped of trees to build cabins and to use for heating fuel by miners during the silver and gold rush days. It took more than a half century to get a start of trees, but only a couple decades to become well forested.

Copyright 2008

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