Tag Archives: Brennan Ruegg

Leadville News – November 14

Safe, Budget-Friendly Transportation in Leadville

It’s the beginning of the holiday travel season, as well as slope-fun season. It’s also the time when Leadvillites get-out-of-town to travel during the off-season or to visit family and friends.  Knowing how to get around, and up and down the mountain is essential. There are plenty of public transportation and private shuttle options that can save you a lot of hassle, time and money.

In celebration of this month’s 6th Anniversary of Leadville Today publishing daily news and information you can use, here’s one of Leadville Today’s #MostReadStoires about transportation options. Welcome to America’s highest city and if you’re off to your own adventures; Happy Trails!6_Anniversary_Flashback copy

by Brennan Ruegg, © Leadville Today 

Traveling to and from Colorado’s highest city can be daunting in the wintertime. And although Colorado’s Department of Transportation (CDOT) does a superb job keeping the highways safe, there’s nothing they can do about ill-prepared drivers and unexpected changes in weather. Not everyone has a vehicle prepared to take on the region’s winding, often poorly visible, and slick roadways–in fact, not everyone has a vehicle. So what viable options are there when a friend flies in to visit or when cabin fever sets in?


A traveler can step right off Leadville’s Historic Harrison Avenue into Denver Union Station for under $20, Denver International Airport (DIA) for under $30, and Vail for under $10. While talks continue about re-purposing old stagecoach roads or defunct rails from Eagle to Buena Vista, there is already in place a host of transit methods that run as far as Fort Collins and Glenwood Springs. Whether bringing in family from DIA, tackling last minute Christmas shopping in the city, or getting to-and-from ski resorts, this list of services highlights the best alternatives to taking out the rear-wheel drive and/or bald-tire commuter that serves so well in the summertime. Starting with the closest and cheapest and ending in luxury and convenience, here they are:

documentSummit Stage

The Summit Stage Lake County Link picks up at nine locations in Leadville and connects for $5 to their extensive–and free–network in Summit County that runs to Copper Mountain, Frisco, Silverthorne/Dillon, Keystone, and Breckenridge. The CDOT Frisco Transfer Station connects with Bustang (below), Greyhound, and Park-n-Ride. For more about Summit Stage CLICK HERE for their 2017/2018 winter schedule.

Eco Transiteco-transitlogo

Operating in the Vail Valley and offering destinations such as Minturn, Vail, Beaver Creek, Eagle and Gypsum, this is a service provided by Eagle County Regional Transportation Authority picking up in Leadville twice a day. Purchase a day pass for $14, or $7 buys a one-way ride:  Nobody can deny an alternative to chancing Battle Mountain or Vail Pass in a snowstorm. CLICK HERE for their route schedules.


This CDOT service is now in its 3rd year, stopping twice a day at the Frisco Transfer Center, the closest access point to Leadville. This is a crucial component in getting to and from Colorado’s capital city–with only one connection, for under $20, and in less than four hours. Bustang’s North Line to Fort Collins/Colorado Springs also transfers in Denver. CLICK HERE for a full schedule and fares.

Bustang is operated by Ace Express Coaches who, despite their low fares, provide a luxurious ride with wide and comfortable seating, free wifi, stowaway luggage, and on-board restrooms.

RTD’s A-Line to Denver International Airport

Sponsored by the University of Colorado, RTD’s new A-line is an express train from Denver Union Station to DIA for nine bucks. If headed to the airport via Bustang, this train, departing every 15 minutes, covers the last leg without breaking the $30 mark.

Summit Stage_Winter_LeadvilleToday

Summit Stage’s Lake County Link has expanded service to points beyond.

Shuttle Serviceslogo-cme

For those on tight schedules and with a little more to spend, most of Denver’s shuttle services won’t come direct to Leadville, but pick up at Copper Mountain instead (accessible via Summit Stage). Oftentimes a more private ride, these shuttles are perfect for a straight shot to DIA while getting some work done on a free wifi connection. Book a shuttle for around $45 at whichever time of day is most convenient with Peak1 Express or Colorado Mountain Express.

logo_hertz_appHertz Rental

Want to go your own way, but haven’t a vehicle fit for the drive? Hertz is located on US-24 at the Leadville-Lake County Airport and rents out a selection of vehicles equipped with all-wheel and four-wheel drive. Pick the car up in Leadville and drop it off at DIA, or pitch in with a group of friends to rent out a private ski-shuttle for the weekend. Hertz also offers business rentals at a competitive rate. Currently running deals for seniors, weekend rentals and metro parking, CLICK HERE to connect with Hertz and to place a reservation.

Summit Stage Leadville

Think about these options if having doubts about a vehicle’s performance, waiting to spring for winter tires, or wanting to relax instead of white-knuckling it through the Rockies; a little more planning and patience is involved, but such is the case with most smart choices. Just don’t forget to bring along a good book.

Whether taking a service directly provided by CDOT or otherwise, thanks is always due to those who perform an unparalleled job in making mountain roadways safe in inclement weather (salt-free!) and who provide consistent travel advice, road conditions, and safety information. All this is available 24 hours a day on CDOT’s website, mobile app, or by calling 511.

Be sure to travel safely and conscientiously by whichever means, and remember, the best part about leaving Leadville is coming back!

Brennan Ruegg is a public transit enthusiast, and loves offering travel advice to anyone trying to leave or come into the great city of Leadville.

Latest News – June 17

Twin Lakes – Head South to Scenic Beauty

The Dog-Serpent of Twin Lakes 

by Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today contributor

A beast green like the slimy wash on the underside of a boat, with black eyes “encircled with a rim of red” and a mouth “filled with glistening fangs.”


An artistic rendering of a Twin Lakes monster sighting.

For more than a century words like these have circled around Lake County referring to a Loch Ness-ian monster who allegedly inhabits the Twin Lakes Reservoir. It is a creature of varying reported size who makes a periodic journey from its subterranean rest to appear above the surface at the audience of select townsfolk, if only to inspire continued fear of its legend. Tales of anchors being dropped into the lake only to be swept off in an underwater current to unknown depths has led to rumors of the creature’s home below the lakes. No photos have yet been taken of this grisly abomination, only stories have been told:

“The reported appearance of a marine monster in Twin Lakes revives a bit of strange and undoubted history. In the summer of 1881 a young man named Herman Wolf, and a boy whose identity has passed out of recollection, were fishing late one evening in the lower lake. Several people were watching them from the bank, when Wolf, who was rowing, suddenly dropped the oars, and, rising to an erect position, began to walk backwards out of the boat, his eyes fixed on the water in front of him, and an expression of speechless terror on his face. As he rose, the boy, who was seated in the stern, looked over his shoulder, and leaping up, sprang with outstretched arms after his companion. Both disappeared at once and did not rise, and although the spot was carefully searched, the bodies to this day have never been recovered.” [Carbonate Chronicle, 6-1884]

Here’s another story with a more vivid description of the beast:

. . . James Powell, a miner and prospector, who lives close to the Twin Lakes house, was walking with a party of several, armed with fishing poles, near the shore of the lower lake, when their attention was attracted by an unusual commotion in the water several hundred yards out. As they looked they were appalled and bewildered to see a GIGANTIC HEAD rise from the surface. They stood petrified with amazement and terror as a neck fully twenty feet long reared itself out of the waters and poised there for a moment. The contour of the monster was that of a colossal serpent… During this time it was seen not only by the fishing party whose attention it originally attracted, but by several other people near the bank of the lake, who fully corroborate the description given.” [Orth Stein, 1884]


An issue of the Carbonate Chronicle, which ran as Leadville’s weekly news publication from the late 19th century until 1987.

These tales, while ominous, give no indication to the legend’s origin. Some hunting through the annals of local history uncovers the first story ever recorded on the subject, from that summer of 1881. On a Monday afternoon, a man named Hulbert was walking the edge of the upper lake when he sighted a thrashing beast in the water. After racing back into the village, and only a half-hour of convincing entreaty, several townsfolk agreed to accompany Hulbert to the place of the disturbance.

“To the afrighted Twin Lakers [its head] seemed as big as a cracker box, and of a vividly green color… It was like to nothing in the heavens above or the earth below, and as it seemed to be heading directly their way, the spectators did not tarry any longer, but made some of the best time on record out of the vicinity. Between the spot where the monster appeared and the village, the terrible head grew to at least four times its original dimensions, and the description they gave it was fearful and wonderful in the extreme.”

There's always something interesting going on in Twin Lakes. Maybe it's time for a visit! Photo: ColoradoGuy.com

There’s always something interesting going on in Twin Lakes. Maybe it’s time for a visit! Photo: ColoradoGuy.com

In short order a small army of twenty men and boys armed with rifles made their way to the water’s edge, and carefully approaching began to throw sticks and stones into the water. Evidence of the creature’s thrashing was visible, but they could not incite an appearance. They deliberated the truth of Hulbert’s claims, and even considered throwing Hulbert into the lakes to settle the matter, as either it would bait the monster and encourage an appearance, or would serve as his punishment for such a crafty ruse; but instead the band of warriors turned home, the matter still a shrouded in mystery. It’s where the story reaches its conclusion that we get the first solid hint at the true nature of the beast:

“Meanwhile a shock had been preparing for their nervous systems, at the village. They had not been gone more than five or ten minutes before a strange creature wandered in. It required a scrutinizing glance to recognize it as a big New Foundland dog that had been disfigured in some extraordinary manner… It seems that a gigantic but superannuated canine that had passed its days of usefulness and basked for months at the village store, had been enticed to the bank of the lake by a couple of Twin Lakes humorists. Here he had been tied while they applied a coat of green paint to his head, touching up the eyes with a few artistic strokes of vermillion. The result is better imagined than described.


A Newfoundland Dog Monster

It was their original intention to create a consternation among the villagers by simply turning the animal loose, but a far more brilliant idea struck one of the wags. It was immediately acted upon, and the luckless dog taken to the bank of the lake. A rope was attached to one of its legs, a big stone fastened to the other end, and the animal anchored far enough out in the water to permit only its head emerging. In this melancholy condition it was left, while one of the jokers gave the alarm. At the time the crowd rushed to see the monster, however, the dog’s frantic efforts had succeeded in breaking the detaining cord and rushed out of the chilling waters. The denouement took place as soon as the gang got back, and the village saloon did a thriving business for the next ten minutes. So ended what bid fair to be the biggest item ever gleaned in the locality.” [Carbonate Chronicle, 9-10-1881, R386]

And thus the first account of the Dog-Serpent of Twin Lakes comes to an end. It becomes a cautionary tale for domestic animals of that region for the lengths Twin Lakers are willing to go for a good gaff. Though people have continued to report sightings of the creature, they are more careful now about who they tell, for fear of enticing the wrath of a far greater beast, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Brennan Ruegg swims only in shallow water.