I had been intending to go for a sunrise hike on the Solstice, but the weather was very windy.  So I grabbed my camera gear and went for a drive instead.

Union Pacific coal load heading into Rollinsville, CO.

Union Pacific coal train heading into Rollinsville, CO.

There was nothing photogenic about the day. Overcast skies with snow flurries.  I welcome the snow.  As the photo above indicates, there hasn’t been much snow this year.

When I was younger, I would have taken the sunrise hike regardless of the weather.  It was ritual.  Now I don’t see much point in going through the motions of surviving wind chills near zero degrees F, other than to say (to myself) I did it.  Been there, done that.

I guess the winter inhabitants of Tolland Colorado felt the same way and moved away.  Now the only winter inhabitant is the county sheriff.


Old train station, now the sheriff's home.

County sheriff’s home.


On the left end of the sign, it says 17 and 81.  The heading above the numbers is obliterated.  I wonder if it is the population, with the first number being the winter population, and the second number being summer.  I’m willing to bet the actual numbers are now lower, even in summer.


Tolland, Colorado.

Tolland, Colorado.


When I drove through last summer, most of these cottages/cabins were boarded up.  It might be a ghost town in the making.  The winters are harsh with perpetual high winds.

Speaking of another ghost town, East Portal is just up the road from Tolland.


East Portal

East Portal (at Moffat Tunnel)


These dwellings at East Portal are abandoned.    These look like they were inhabited up until about 20 – 30 years ago.  If you take a close look at the pitch of their roofs, you can spot them in this historical photo from 1926, on the left in the background.



None of the other buildings in this photo still exist.  I don’t know if East Portal was ever officially a township, but it had quite a few buildings to house many of the workers for 5 years while the tunnel was being built.  I’ve contemplated taking a present-day photo with the same view as this one, but the hillside has many more trees on it and the view may be blocked.

As the day wore on, the snowfall increased and I hung out at home making a sourdough cobbler.  It was a fine way to spend the solstice.

Peach/Blueberry Sourdough Cobbler

Peach/Blueberry Sourdough Cobbler