The road less traveled — although Secretary Williams tried

The initial drive on Mosquito Pass seemed doable to Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his deputy, Suzanne Staiert, on Monday during their trek between Fairplay and Leadville. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams discovers that Mosquito Pass isn’t actually a “fastest” route. (SOS photo)

By Lizzie Stephani

Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his deputy Suzanne Staiert learned the hard way this week that Google map’s choice of “County Road 12” as the “fastest” route between Fairplay and Leadville wasn’t so fast. That’s because the road is also known as Mosquito Pass.

Had they googled “Mosquito Pass” — which we all did at the office when they texted us about their dilemma — the first entry they would have seen was a website entitled “dangerous roads.”  Other entries talking about how the 10-mile pass has “humbled many egos” and features bowling-ball size boulders.

It turns out that the “fastest route” between Fairplay and Leadville features a road filled with boulders.

Williams and Staiert set off Monday to visit Park County Clerk Debra Green, then Lake County Clerk Patty Berger as part of Williams’ goal to visit every clerk’s office every year. The first few miles of the pass featured dirt, but then the stones appeared.

“When I got to the hairpin I told Wayne, ‘I’m not one to give up easily, but this isn’t a road,’” Staiert said.

Staiert was worried about damaging her Honda Pilot.  They turned around — no easy feat either — and took another route to Leadville, getting them to the clerk’s office in Lake County an hour later than planned.

Former state legislator Ken Chlouber of Leadville laughed when he heard about Williams’ and Staiert’s adventure on the pass.

“Fastest — by burro!” he said. “That’s something city folks should stay away from. That’ll eat up a Honda Pilot and spit it out.”

Read moreThe road less traveled — although Secretary Williams tried

Lake County: Great living — and voting — at 10,200 feet

Secretary Wayne Williams talks to Lake County election judges helping to get ballots to ready to mail. Left to right: Theresa Olson, Secretary Williams, Theresa Olson, Secretary Williams, Don Ferrie, Carol Elder, Clerk Patty Berger and Rhonda Huggins.
Secretary Wayne Williams talks to Lake County election judges helping to get ballots to ready to mail. Left to right: Theresa Olson, Secretary Williams, Don Ferrie, Carol Elder, Clerk Patty Berger and Rhonda Huggins.

By Lynn Bartels and Christopher Johnson

Lake County was one of the original 17 counties created by the Colorado legislature in 1861, but over the years it was gradually carved up and now is the state’s fourth smallest county by area.

Clerk and Recorder Patty Berger, 63, is a native of Lake County, known for mining, the grueling Leadville Trail 100 and its incredible scenery. The slogan on the county website: “Great living at 10,200 feet.”

“My parents and grandparents were born here, too,” Berger said. “You don’t see much of that anymore.”

Read moreLake County: Great living — and voting — at 10,200 feet