Thursday, July 02, 2009
The road to Tincup
Today’s trip started out as a short drive to a small town in the mountains northeast of Gunnison-just to have a look. With threatening skies we headed up the road and found Pitkin, CO at around 9000 feet, but did not find it all that interesting. We saw a sign for Tincup, CO, which we had read about, and headed farther up into the mountains-just to see how the road was. We soon found ourselves on a steep dirt and rock road heading over Cumberland Pass, which is at over 12000 feet. The views were spectacular and the car was taking only minor abuse, so ahead we went.
As we headed down the other side the road continued to get a bit rougher and most of the other vehicles we saw were ATV’s. We passed thru more beautiful country and stopped every few miles to take in the sights.
After several hours of slow going we arrived at Tincup, CO. The town got its name from the fact that the first gold found in the area was carried out in a tin cup. This was one of the roughest gold strike towns in Colorado with gold being found in the mid 1800’s. The town was reportedly run by criminals. The cemetery is said to be the final resting place of any and all honest folks who tried to clean up the town. Gunfights and murder were regular events here. Eventually the mines closed and the town slowly fell into disrepair. Currently all the old homes and property have been purchased and many of the cabins are used as rentals or summer homes. The town has a general/gift store and a café and is a regular ATV destination. It is also hard to imagine that it was one of the commerce centers of the area over 150 years ago.
The roads are only useable during the summer season. According to the cafe staff, 4 people live here in the winter and they can only get in and out by snowmobile. They use them to get their supplies, some ten miles down the mountain.
From Tincup, we continued to Taylor Lake via a much smoother dirt road. This lake is reported to be one of the best fly fishing places in the west.
Even though not a planned trip, it was exceptional and we will not likely forget it.