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Monthly Archives: August 2012

2012 – August Weekend Outing – Part 4

The final day of our extended weekend but we have a few more stops in the area planned before we head for home.  Our first destination for the day is up Chalk Creek Canyon (Mt Princeton) which is near Nathrop, CO / Buena Vista, CO to find a waterfall Lisa has read about.

We reach the Trail Head and start our hike up into the canyon.  We find an unexpected sign about the Denver, South Park, and Pacific railway and sure enough across the valley there is the old ROW (Right of Way) for the railroad.  As Lisa jokes, somehow I seem to always find a railroad twist in nearly anyplace we go.  So much railroad history to explore, so little time…

Near Nathrop, CO / Buena Vista, CO Near Nathrop, CO / Buena Vista, CO

There is another sign along the trail about Mount Antero that is also across the way…

Near Nathrop, CO / Buena Vista, CO Near Nathrop, CO / Buena Vista, CO

But our main goal at this location was to reach Agnes Vaille Falls.  This being August, not much water is flowing compared to spring runoff but the hike up was very nice and we could get all the way up to the falls.

Mountain Wowan Mountain Wowan

As we hiked back down looking at the DSP&P RR across the way and thinking of how the road today goes up the valley we decided to drive up more to see if/were the old railway and road might cross.  Sure enough not only did we find it, it’s a Rail Trail; something to add to our list to hike some day…

Near Nathrop, CO / Buena Vista, CO

From here we turn back to Buena Vista, CO to track down a sequence of three Colorado and Midland Railroad Tunnels.  Lisa and I will both take photos plus I will setup the dashboard Video Camera to record travel though them.  Here is one of Lisa’s shots that shows the sequence as they are close together…

Buena Vista, CO

Back to Buena Vista we go to track down a bridge of Denver and Rio Grande Western that are part of the Tennessee Pass route.  It’s listed on the map as the Railroad Bridge Campground and we figure there is a reason for that name.  Well, as we head towards the campground we would also find another RR bridge built in 1936 made of concrete we would also stop and get a shot of.  So, we bag two historical bridges!!!

Tennessee Pass - Buena Vista, CO Tennessee Pass - Buena Vista, CO

It’s time to head for home and we will make one more stop on top of Tennessee Pass where the 10th Mountain Division Memorial is at.  If you love to Ski in Colorado you should come up here and say Thank You to these VETS as they are part of Ski history as well

10th Mountain Division Memorial

 

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2012 – August Weekend Outing – Part 3

On this day our primary goal is to reach the West Portal of the Alpine Tunnel and video record the trip up and back.  We will start our assault on this old Denver, South Park and Pacific railroad route up the narrow cliffs to the top of the Continental Divide from the town of Pitkin, CO where the old depot still survives

Pitkin, CO

The first half of the trip is not too tough and it’s also where the first Water Tank the Steam Engines used.  The 47,500 gallon “Midway Water Tank” has been mostly lost to time which is why we are trying to locate and photograph things.  Here is what is left…

Alpine Tunnel

As the climb gets steeper water tanks were needed more often.  The next water tank is at “Williams Gulch” (a.k.a. Tunnel Gulch Tank) which holds 33,000 gallons of water.  This one has been restored in 1965 with additional work down in 2010.  Keep in mind this was originally built-in 1885 in a harsh environment so the fact it’s in this top condition today speaks volumes to the restoration efforts.

Alpine Tunnel

Historically the next Water Tank was at Woodstock, CO.  On March 10, 1884 a massive avalanche swept down the mountainside wiping out the Tank, the Town, and killing 13 including an entire family of six.  The town and tank were never rebuilt but the old stone foundation can still be found.

Alpine Tunnel

When Woodstock was destroyed, the railroad facilities were rebuilt higher up the line in a new town called Sherrod in 1904.  Two years later the railway abandon the town and the depot that was once here was moved to Ohio City.  The Sherrod Loop can still be seen today where a portion of the track still can be found.

Alpine Tunnel

As we get closer to the top we reach an engineering marvel of a stone wall made without mortar.  It is over 100 years old and only a few stones have been displaced.  It’s 2′ wide, 33′ tall, and 452′ wide; it is known as the Palisades.  You can see from our photograph how the roadway has narrowed and you don’t want to make a driving mistake up here!

Alpine Tunnel

Once we near the summit, we must go the rest of the way by foot.  The ruins of the old railway facility can still be found here along with the restored Telegraph Office.

Alpine Tunnel

There was also a water tank that existed here and was later moved to Boreas Pass known as Bakers Tank.

Alpine Tunnel - Moved to Boroes Pass

When Lisa was taking photographs at this same spot she would catch a photo of “Pika” that now calls this place home.

Alpine Tunnel

The last train that passed through the West Portal was November 10, 1910 and in the winter of 1924 the rails were removed.  The tunnel entrances are now buried in rocks so all you can see today is just the top of the West Portal.  The interior of the tunnel is also partially collapsed…

Alpine Tunnel

After taking lots of photos and videos we head back down the same route taking video as we head back down to Pitkin.  This however is not the end of our day…

As we travel back towards Gunnison, CO where we are staying for this chapter of our journeys we pass by a property that has D&RGW MOW Car #04408.

MOW
After passing though Gunnison, CO many times and finding the Pioneer Museum closed for one reason or another or too short on time to visit, this time we planned our trip to tour the museum.

Part of the highlights here is “Cinderella” which is a 1882 Baldwin Steam Locomotive which is D&RGW #268 in its special paint Bumble Bee scheme.  There are several other freight cars, caboose, and a MOW equipment behind it as well.

Gunnison, CO

There are two railroad structures also here, and Water Tank and a Depot.  The depot is the D&RGW Sargents facility and the Water Tank is from Mears Junction that was on the est side of Marshall Pass.

Gunnison, CO

I will also get a couple of Railfan shots of boxcars located near Main and Iowa…

Gunnison, COGunniosn, CO

Another target on our search list is to find and photograph the D&RGW Combination Depot.  BTW, it’s “For Sale” when we were there…

Gunnison, CO

Our final structure we looked for on this day is the old Denver and Rio Grande Railroads Railway Express Agency which today is the Arts Center

Gunnison, CO

 
 

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2012 – August Weekend Outing – Part 2

It’s day two of our four day outing and we start our day in Sargents, CO where the D&RGW water tank still stands on private property.

Sargents, CO

This will also be our starting point over Marshall Pass where I will setup my new HD Video camera as a dashboard to capture the route of the D&RGW railroad.  We won’t be 100% of roadbed the entire route but most of it will be so the camera will catch what it was like to ride over this section of track.

We will stop at various spots along the way to search for a few remnants but the main objective is at the top of the pass where the old Turntable pit still can be seen.

 

Here is a shot of one of the D&RGW Bridge abutments that can still be found on the other side of the pass where the vehicle road is just beside the old roadbed.

Once on the other end of the pass we find we are just below another pass so we take a small detour to get to that summit.  Here is the sign at Poncha Pass where the Rio Grande River watershed is separated from the Arkansas River watershed…

From here we head to Saliad, CO to goto the museum there that we know also contains railroad history along with other great artifacts from this areas history.

Near by is the Visitor Center where we find a 0-4-0 Tank Steam Engine of unknown history

Salida, Colorado

Also here in town at the end of F Street is where the old depot once stood.  Looking right to the South East you can see the old Engine House when the D&RGW once was a major company here

Salida, Colorado

This building here is what remains today of the old D&RGW Hospital, yes, the railroad had it’s own medical facilities to take care of its employees and families in those days.

Salida, CO

Another building with railroad history here is the Manhattan Hotel.  In many cities the railroad also owned the local hotel where train passengers would stay at.  I do not know if that was the case here but Colorado Historical Society does state that D&RGW Passenger train passengers did use this hotel.

Salida, CO

While at the D&RGW hospital I spot a female deer and two fawns using the grounds like they owned the place.  They had little fear of me being within a few yards of them.  In fact, the female left one within 10 yards of me and then left to go get the other one she had stashed out of sight somewhere.  She was gone for about 10 minutes before she returned with the second one.

Salida, CO

Our next destination for the day was about 10 miles SE along US-50 where we would take a side road to get a close shot of one of the old railroad tunnel portals.  I would only get a shot of one side on this trip.

Wellsville, CO

Our final stop for this day would be in Smeltertown, CO where we find the old Ohio-Colorado Smelting and Refining Company smoke stack.  This remnant stands 365 feet tall so it is one heck of a historical landmark and in 1976, during the American Revolution Bicentennial, the smokestack was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as a “highly visible monument to the mining industry and its workers.”

Smeltertown, CO

 
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Posted by on 08/18/2012 in RRAdventures, World Tour

 

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2012 – August Weekend Outing – Part 1

On August 17th, we take off for a 4-day weekend.  After driving awhile we stop on top of Kenosha Pass to walk around a bit.  There is a sign here about the railroad history when the Denver, South Park, and Pacific once operated over this pass.

Railroad History

Our next stop is to get a photo of the Replica Depot in Fairplay, CO of the DSP&P (Handcock).

Replica Depot - DSP&P Hancock

When I went to the Colorado School of Mines the head of the Mineral Engineering Mathematics Department and my Adviser was Ardel Boes. Something he did on the side was to race Burro’s here in Fairplay and lets say he won the race rather often.  I stopped to photograph the winners board…

Our next stop was Trout City, CO where the Mc Gees Depot is sitting for sale along with other replica buildings that make up a Bed and Breakfast.

Trout City Trout City

We will stop briefly at Ptarmigan Lake Trail to hike to the bridge where we heard the views might be good,  Um, nice bridge over a cute stream.

Bridge

We will drive over Cottnwood Pass which is a Continental Divide pass at 12,126 Feet Elevation.

12,126 Feet Elevation

We head to Tin Cup, CO next to visit the Cemetery there where there are many old historic graves including this one of T. L. Stormes who was the first person buried here in 1879.

T. L. Stormes Headstone

Something else this small remote town is know for is it’s fire hydrants that are old and can be found in some interesting locations.

Tin Cup, Colorado

We will also spot the remnants of a old dredger that is sitting on private property so I tried to find a spot I could get a shot from roadside.

Our last photo stop of the day will be the Taylor Lake Dam

 
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Posted by on 08/17/2012 in RRAdventures, Trip Reports

 

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Video – Goose Fest 2012 – RGS#7

 
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Posted by on 08/15/2012 in RRAdventures, Videos

 

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Video – Goose Fest 2012 – RGS#4

 
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Posted by on 08/07/2012 in RRAdventures, Videos

 

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