St. Elmo photos

St. Elmo photos

Photos taken around St. Elmo, CO, May 30, 2007.

St. Elmo is a "ghost town" in the Collegiate Peaks area of Colorado, an easy drive up Chalk Creek Canyon from Buena Vista. Besides mining activity in the area, it was also on the route of the Denver, South Park & Pacific railway line between Buena Vista and Gunnison.

Also check out my photos from Agnes Vaille Falls at the lower end of Chalk Creek Canyon, taken earlier the same day.

Copyright (c) 2007, Sandra J. Loosemore. Photos are provided for personal viewing only; no other use is permitted without prior written consent.

Here are some abandoned buildings on St. Elmo's main street. I suspect the buildings are maintained for show, as the townsite itself is far from abandoned. There's also a B&B, a general store, a place where you can rent a jeep or ATV, and quite a few vacation cabins around here.

This is looking down Chalk Creek Canyon from the bridge in St. Elmo.

Here's a view looking south; the railroad line went up this canyon to Romley and Hancock, and then under the Continental Divide in a tunnel.

The general store had a lot of old rusty junk for sale sitting around outside. When I was wandering around, I noticed I was getting buzzed by a hummingbird, who kindly consented to sit down for a photo. I think this is a Black-Chinned Hummingbird.

It's another one! This is a female or juvenile, with speckles rather than the dark coloration on the chin.

They had hummingbird feeders set up in front of the store that were a constant buzz of activity.

Coming in for a landing.

After leaving St. Elmo, I made a stop to use the trailhead facilities just outside of town. As I was about to leave, I noticed some movement in the aspens above the parking lot, which turned out to be a herd of browsing mule deer. They were definitely aware of me, but seemed unconcerned as long as I didn't try to approach them.

This is likely a yearling. All the deer were looking pretty mangy because it's the time of year when they shed their winter coats.

Besides the big ears that are the source of their name, another distinguishing characteristic of this species is that their tails have black tips.

Time to cross the road.

More deer parade across the road to join their buddies. There were at least a dozen deer in this herd. Does and fawns hang out together while the bucks go off and live separately.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the road.

Munch munch.

If you look closely at this doe, you'll see that she's very pregnant. Mule deer have a long gestation period and typically give birth in June. Since this photo was taken at the very end of May, she's probably only a couple of weeks away.

The road out of St. Elmo continues up the old railroad bed past the former mining site of Romley. There's a sign near the access road identifying this as some sort of toxic waste site -- a common problem with many of the old mines in this part of the world.

Here's a view across the canyon at an unnamed peak above the Romley site.

This is a view up the road/former railroad to Mt. Arps -- you can see the railroad grade slicing across its flank about halfway up. From there, it went through the Alpine Tunnel, out on the other side of the Continental Divide, and down the canyon on the other side to Gunnison. The tunnel is now collapsed. I would have liked to have hiked up to the tunnel area, but not far above Romley the road deteriorates into a jeep trail as it detours off the railroad grade to bypass a rotten trestle. Maybe a mountain bike is the way to go in this area.

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