|Today was a fall color driving extravaganza. The colors are now reaching their peak. We drove first to the old ghost town of St. Elmo. The town is one of the best preserved ghost towns in Colorado with numerous old business structures and cabins. The town was originally settled in 1878 when gold and silver were discovered in the area. St. Elmo provided supplies and needs for the miners working in the area. It began with high morals but deteriorated as the mostly male population resorted to saloons,dance halls and bawdy houses. There were once 2000 residents. In 1881 it became a station for the Denver,South Park and Pacific Railroad. The tracks continued through the historic Alpine tunnel. It was a main source of supply delivery. Soon hotels and many other structures dotted the area. There were supposedly 200 taverns. The town shut down after the failure of numerous mines and the closure of the railroad's alpine tunnel in 1910. We wandered about the old structures and mused of times past. The drive to St. Elmo was spectacular as it is buried 20 miles west of the main highway 285 in a huge mountain canyon. Our next stop was a 40 mile drive north to the mining town of Leadville. We took the Leadville and Southern Railroad Tour following the old tracks of the steam train which carried miners and supplies from Denver to Leadville. It was a lumbering 12 hour trip up and over a pass to Denver. In bad weather, the trip could take 3 days. We traveled about 11 miles up the old grade on the sides of cliffs and stone walls before returning back to the depot. The fall colors were spectacular. Bill and Nancy hiked to Harvard lakes-about 7 miles-and had a great time. We met for an evening dinner of great prime rib at Quincy's in Buena Vista. Tomorrow we leave for Durango,Colorado.