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Keywords:autumn, foliage, historic, peaceful, Crystal Mill, glowing, fall, flowing, crystal, sheep mountain power house, waterfall, golden, colorado, yellow, conifer, building, wooden, old, gold, picturesque, rocks, White River National Forest, beautiful, old mill, dead horse mill, color, icon, crystal river, pine, water, aspen, river, mining
Photo Info

Dimensions6513 x 9770
Original file size34.5 MB
Image typeJPEG
Finding My Flow

Finding My Flow

It was a long-time goal to visit this scene, outside of Marble CO, known as Crystal Mill. Most nature pros will have this shot in their bag and I felt obliged to finally get into mine. During the Autumn season, this place comes to life, not only in the colors that wrap up the glow of summer, but also in the incredible amount of traffic the place attracts, despite the 4 miles of brutal dirt road that gets you there. Once I got the lay of the land and worked my way through the gaggle of other photographers jockeying for the best positions above, I came down below far downstream to find my peace and my flow.

The picturesque Crystal Mill is one of the most photographed sites in Colorado. Its precarious perch on an outcropping of rock just above the Crystal River, framed by beautiful aspens and a backdrop of stunning mountains, gives it an undeniable visual appeal. The mill, constructed in 1893, harnessed the river adjacent to the mill to power the air compressor housed inside. Early engineers had built a dam across the river, which funneled water down the vertical penstock (the ladder-like structure) onto a horizontal wheel, which drove an axle in the penstock. The penstock powered the air compressor. In turn, the enormous compressor ran drills in the nearby Sheep Mountain and Bear Mountain mines. The drills were used to bore holes in the mine walls for the placement of dynamite. Once the dynamite was detonated, the miners removed the ore.

The mill closed its operations in 1917. Continuing efforts to preserve it have been aided by Gunnison and Aspen Historical Societies, residents of Crystal and Marble, and interested individuals caught by the spectacle of the old Mill.