Sunday, June 9, 2013

Baker's Bridge - A Tribute to Colorado Miners.

As I mentioned in my review of the Bar D Chuckwagon experience, you have to travel along scenic Route 250 from Durango to reach it. However, my husband and I got there earlier than planned, so decided to do a little bit of exploring of Route 250. It is only five miles more before you reach Route 550 (around mile marker 36) which leads either back to Durango (12 miles), or up north through the Rocky Mountains towards Silverton. Continue onwards towards Quray, Red Hill Pass and eventually you'll end up in Grand Junction, but be prepared for many other scenic locations along the entire way.

Along Route 250 we came across the most beautiful area imaginable, Baker's Bridge.  Captain Charles Baker lead an expedition of 15 men in the hopes of finding, and mining, gold.  The men camped down by the Animas River, during the winter of 1860 - 1861, at what became known as Animas City.  Durango itself had not been founded, named or settled yet.  The men endured many hardships; attacks by the Ute Indians, harsh winter conditions, and war...The Civil War.  The men who made it through the attacks and weather ended up in an area they named Baker's Park which later became known as Silverton.  However, the Civil War forced many to take up arms; those that lived returned, but the landmarks etched upon their maps had been destroyed (mainly trees cut down), and the gold was lost.  Legend says that it is still waiting up in the mountains to be claimed.

Baker's Bridge was built to give easier access over the Animas River; the original bridge was torn down and recreated with sturdy concrete.  The water flows quickly on the river, white caps topping the waves; the sound of it as enchanting as the song of a siren.  The entire area is calm, serene and majestic; whether standing along the fenced wall, or sitting upon the rocks down below, you are at peace.

While the surrounding area is forest, plant life grows from between the rocks and boulders along the Animas River.  Even the stones along the roadway flourish with life; the Yucca, a desert plant, shows off its bell like blooms.

If you find yourself around the Durango area, take the ride along Route 250 and make sure to stop at Baker's Bridge; enjoy the simplicity of serenity.

Mary Cokenour

1 comment:

  1. Captain Charles Baker brought his party over Stony Pass into the upper Animas Valley in 1860. They placer mined north of what is now Silverton. Some of the areas, Cunningham Gulch for example, still carry the names of members of the party. Where Silverton now sits is called Baker's Park. The Utes drove them out and they came south to an area north of where the current bridge stands. The party built a crude bridge in the area. Once again the Utes discovered their settlement and drove the party out. Baker himself joined Kirby Smith's Confederates in New Mexico and was later killed in a battle with Apaches. Severasl movies have scenes that were filmed at Baker's Bridge, most famous being Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the "jump" scene. (The actual jump was done over in Green River, UT) Another is James Stewart's "The Naked Spur." After the release of Butch Cassidy in 1969 jumping off the bridge onto the river became a rite of passage for local kids, but if attempted today wil probably land one in the County jail.