One of the things I love most about Colorado are the mountain towns. I usually avoid the glitzy ski centers (Aspen, Vail and Breckenridge) in favor of the smaller, more hardscrabble ex-mining towns like Leadville, Telluride, Crested Butte, Fairplay, and Georgetown.
One of my favorite stops this summer was in Leadville, a former silver mining town seated at the highest elevation of any incorporated town in North America. These days, Leadville is famous and infamous for its insane series of adventure races, capped by the Leadville 100: a 100-mile trail run that gains and loses more than 15,000 feet of elevation, topping out at 12,620 feet. Most years, less than half of the starters finish under the 30-hour time limit. Now that’s a hell of a day in the mountains!
For me, the highlight of Leadville was the Western Hardware antique store. Now, I’m not usually into antiquing, but this place was amazing: two floors of treasures and trinkets running the full gamut from absolutely beautiful to truly bizarre. I spent most of a morning rummaging through everything from falconry helmets to ancient sealskin snowshoes to old Life magazines.
Since everything I own has to fit into the Rover and the Rattler, I’m really not into buying unnecessary stuff, things or crap. But as I explored the antique store, I kept an eye out for some small treasure, under $5, to add to my life. I found it in the form of a $3 solid brass owl, reminiscent of the one my grandfather kept on his desk, which now oversees my sister’s studio.
The owl has sheen and heft and fits perfectly on my dashboard, right by my odometer. If I take a turn too fast he falls over with a clunk that reminds me to slow down and be wise on the road.
Read more about my minimalist lifestyle in my post: Conquering IKEA.