Monday, June 25, 2012

"Rise and Fall and Rise"

June 21  
I felt like I was back in Iowa today, using nothing but bike trails.   The mountains of corn have been replaced by more impressive (although less edible) peaks.  The first couple of paths took me down Swan Mountain and then into Frisco. 
The history of Frisco resembles a roller coaster and more than a few have begged off the ride.  Like its neighbors silver and gold originally brought settlers.   The new town needed a name and chose Frisco City to butter up a railroad (St Louis-San Francisco Railroad, whose nickname was the Frisco).  Their hopes to lure the railway were dashed when the company rebuffed their desperate advances and went elsewhere. 
The "City" was dropped later because telegrams were expensive in those days.   The second half of the town's name was not the last thing to disappear.   The silver market crashed in the 1890s, the demand for ore vanished after World War I, the power was cut in 1918, the dog died in 1921, and by the 1930s there were only eighteen residents remaining. 
Somehow the last Friscans hung on until 1960 when their savior appeared.  The construction of Dillon Reservoir resurrected Frisco, bringing jobs and new blood.  The ski industry came later and solidified the growth trend.  The miners of the 19th century would not recognize today's ritzy Main Street.
After completing the errands which brought me here in the first place I left on another bike path.  The six miles up a slight incline to Copper Mountain brought me the sight of innumerable bicyclists screaming downhill, a man riding a big skateboard on his back (turns out this suicidal act is known as long-boarding), and two beavers busily working on their next architectural masterpiece. 
Once in town I had no real plan so I called Colin to delay the dreaded decision making.  By the end of our talk I was hungry so I searched out some grub.  At the Alpinista Bistro I quickly befriended the owners Pete and Karen and their employee Jason.  Pete was excited about the walk and offered dinner and breakfast on the house.  Jason, who has worked in Orlando, Aspen, Copper Mountain, and seemingly every resort town in the United States, offered me a shower in the morning and took me to a nice camping spot just outside of town.  I love it when a plan comes together. 
12 miles/2624 total miles

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