Canyons of the Ancients – National Monument
A new day and a new destination off the beaten path of most
With our morning hike on Petroglyph Trail complete, we head into other areas of the park to take in the Overlooks and Road Side locations. We were surprised on how few folks were at these locations. Seems most visitors on this day were heading to catch their guided tours into the main ruins and didn’t leave enough time in their schedules to see the rest of the park
Mesa Verde – Cliff Palace
Mesa Verde – Square Tower House Overlook
Mesa Verde – Navajo Canyon Overlook
Mesa Verde – House of Many Windows
Mesa Verde – Hemenway House
Mesa Verde – Pithouse
Today we head into Mesa Verde for a morning hike but will stop at a couple of overlooks…
We will reach Spruce Tree House
Below here is the Trail Head to the Petroglyph Trail…
Besides going to see the wonderful Petroglyphs we also kept our eyes pealed for other less known ruins here in the park…
After a long hike through an interesting hike we pass over the top and around Spruce Tree House back to where we started the hike
As we continue our journeys we head up to Wolf Creek Pass (10,857 ft.)
We had also planned a side trip up to Lobo Overlook but we were shocked to find the gate still closed
So down the road we went to the Charles Stith Overlook 37 27.015 N / 106 53.353 W for some great views of the valley below and the interesting geology here as well.
Our next stop is to hike up to Treasure Falls 37 26.553 N / 106 52.639 W
Time for lunch so we pull into Pagosa Springs for a bite to eat…
It’s time for some Railfanning and this time we are off to find the D&RGW Florida River Bridge 37 12.861 N / 107 44.851 W
We then head for Durango where we heard a new Steam Engine is being setup and restored in the park; Emma Sweeney. They are doing a great job and got a chance to talk to the team for a bit while I was there…
Time to head over to Mesa Verde National Park to get info on our planned morning hike. This is also our first time to see the new Visitor Center.. Much larger and modern then the old one…
As we start off our fifth day of our vacation I stop at a gas station in Monte Vista and I am shocked to see a train station where one should not be. See, the Monte Vista depot is gone yet it looks to be right there where it once was. Well, after some research, I had to laugh. See, in 1953 Bob Richardson and Carl Helfin built a replica of the Rio Grande Southern’s Mancos depot for the Narrow Gauge Museum & Motel south of Alamosa. That depot is also very similar to the one that was once here in Monte Vista. When Bob moved the Narrow Gauge Museum to Golden in 1958, the building remained at the Narrow Gauge Motel. Sometime later, it was moved to Cole Park in Alamosa and was used as their County Chamber of Commerce building. The city of Alamosa since decided to do an expansion of the municipal buildings at Cole Park and the depot building was in the way. SLRG purchased the building for use in Monte Vista. Here is a historic photo postcard of the original Monte Vista Depots (Freight & Passenger) along with the photo I took of depot that now stands here today.
I will also get shots of RAMPART RANGE CORPORATION RRBX #2095
and of AMERICAN RAILCAR LEASING, INC. SHPX #203212 tankers
Next stop is Del Norte, CO where we track down the D&RGW Depot
Also here in town is Denver and Rio Grande Western Caboose #0580
As we head into South Fork for our next two historic structures we spot a Railfan opportunity and stop for a few photos. We find Santa Fe Passenger Car #36, a diesel engine labeled White Satin / Brighten with what looks to be NO-1, and a old Seaboard Coast Line Passenger Car now labeled PPCX #6401.
Across from them is our first historic structure we were searching for; the South Fork D&RGW Water Tank.
Our other historic structure we had on our search list was the D&RGW Depot of South Fork, CO
Today this is also used as a tourist line but they are closed so we will make plans to return here someday. But, that didn’t stop me from taking a few photos include one of the Hy-Rail truck of the new D&RG Railway labeled the Wagon Wheel Gap Route ( South Fork / Creede )