July 22, 2007 - I learned this morning that there
were significant mudslides in the area of Alpine, Colorado,
an old mining area beside the Alpine Lake down the canyon from St. Elmo.
Fortunately, there were no fatalities, but many homes and structures were
greatly damaged according to reports.
I made the drive up Chaffee County Road 162 into Chalk Creek Canyon,
hoping to at least photograph the mountainside where the
mudslides transpired, but had no luck. At Chaffee County
Road 292, the turnoff leading into Alpine, was closed off
to visitors with only property owners allowed to enter into the area. Adjacent is a photo of numerous television news vehicles on the scene to cover the news.
The good news is, it appears the local community in the Arkansas
River Valley are rallying to help any displaced residents with whatever
needs they may have. Hopefully, the clean-up and rebuilding process will
be expedited quickly. Sadly, one of the risks of living at the base of a
tall canyon are things like mudslides, rock and boulder falls, and avalanches.
I included a few photos below of my wandering in and around the canyon.
I plan to return to the St. Elmo ghost town tomorrow, so hopefully I'll have some new photos to show then!
Here is an often photographed view of Alpine Lake. Much of the area known as Alpine is located behind the lake.
The photo above was taken right here along the "soft shoulder" on Chaffee County Road 162.
Watch the road on this portion of road, for there are no guardrails and a
tumble down into the valley would lead to certain injury, if not death.
Aspens along the roadside.
Television news vehicles at the turnoff (Chaffee County Road 292) for Alpine.
I pulled over just east of Baldwin Creek on the main road and walked into the woods. I captured an array of purple wildflowers (left), Chalk Creek (center) and Baldwin Creek flowing hard from the left into Chalk Creek (right).