Life on the Divide
I am located just west of the continental divide at 10,200 feet in the Colorado Rockies. We stare up at several peaks that are over 14,000 feet. The view on the right is an overview of the canyon we live in, and is just a 15 minute drive from the cabin.
There are seven major mountain passes within our general area. These passes all go over either a portion of the divide, or other east/west running mountain ridges. These include famous mountain passes like Cumberland Pass, Tincup Pass, Hancock Pass and several others. It is possible to do all of these in a loop in a jeep or ATV.
The area has quite a bit of diverse wildlife in a high alpine environment. There are plenty of Elk, Deer, and Moose on the larger side of the spectrum. There are Lynx, Marmots, Ermines on the smaller side. We have lots of birds, including a very large population of hummingbirds during the summer. We have even seen a wolf on multiple occasions, including even from our front porch.
On the largest side we do have a black bear population. Most of the time we don’t have problems with them, but are very careful to not keep food outside during the bear season. One time, we did have a bear rip out one of our windows, but fortunately the bear did not get into the cabin.
The road to our area was originally created for mining activities, in May of 1880. A new mining camp was formed, and at the time it was called Argenta. Soon, it became a small mining boomtown and was renamed to Tomichi. It housed over 500 men in July of 1880.
By 1881 it had a post office, boarding house (The Cummings House), a bank, a newspaper (The Tomichi Herald) , assay office, sawmill, and several saloons and restaurants. An estimated 1500 miners live in the camp, and it was considered one of the most violent camps in the area. The most profitable mine was Magna Charter Tunnel. It was struck by an avalanche in 1884 causing extensive damage to the operation.
In March of 1899 a massive avalanche hit both the mine, and the town of Tomichi. The miners had cleared all of the hillside of trees, so there was nothing to slow its progress in to town. It killed four people (the camp was mostly empty) and this final act resulted in the death of the town. After this, it was completely abandoned.