Owl Love Leadville

Leadville Bar

Leadville Bar Window

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!

Welcome To Cloud City

Welcome To Cloud City!

Ladies of Leadville Mural

Ladies of Leadville Mural

Pizza Delivery Teardrop! High Mountain Pies, so good...

Pizza Delivery Teardrop! High Mountain Pies, so good…

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 RattlerI’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.

My Owl

My Owl

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. 🙂


Trinkets! I found my owl in the very center cubby.



An Oldie

An Oldie

Medicine Bottles, many still filled with "medicine"

Medicine Bottles, many still filled with “medicine”

Fishing Gear

Fishing Gear

Old Boxes, Bottles & Tins

Old Boxes, Bottles & Tins

Read more about my minimalist lifestyle in my post: Conquering IKEA.

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at www.marycapertonmorton.com.
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16 Responses to Owl Love Leadville

  1. Wonderful adventure.. It is something i would love to do..

    Thank you for sharing it.

  2. atkokosplace says:

    How fun and all those treasures! In love with your owl! How cool is that?! 😀

  3. Donna says:

    If you make it further north I suggest you try my hometown of Nederland…it’s a ski town like no other.

  4. ritaroberts says:

    Love this post Mary. You have a nice little treasure in your Owl he will watch over you. The pictures of the bits and bobs in the shop brought back so many memories of when I had my own Antique shop which I called “Cobweb Curios” I met lots of friends popping in and out to ask about something, or maybe they wanted to sell. Those were the days.

  5. shazzarob says:

    Love your owl. I am sure he will keep you company on many an adventure. 🙂

  6. nutsfortreasure says:

    Very WISE choice 🙂

  7. beachman says:

    cool town Mary, really cool stuff in that store where u found the Owl. Makes me want to go there…

  8. Mind Margins says:

    I was just in Leadville a few weeks ago for the Leadville 100 trail race. It was my first time there and I loved the town. Like you, I love the small mountain towns. Great photos.

  9. Would have spent hours in that antique store. The owl is super cool.

  10. Kristin says:

    hi Mary, I was just wondering if you have any desire or plans to climb Mount Everest some day? I saw a TV show about it the other night & it made me think of you. thanks!

    • Nope, none at all. I definitely plan to travel in the Himalaya, but I’ll stay away from Everest. Too crowded! I also have no desire to climb into “The Death Zone”, above 25,000 feet. I’ve been up to 20,000 feet and if I never go higher than that again, that’ll be just fine by me.

  11. Fun article, I, too, enjoyed Leadville! And I really love your “speed warning device”!

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