Category Archives: RRAdventures
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 )
The second half of the day is primarily about Railfanning; our way, which is searching out remnants of railroad history…
As we pass through La Jara, CO we stop by the depot. When we were here in 2005 it was being used as the Town Hall but now it looks to be back in railroad usage. This was originally a D&RGW Passenger Depot.
We next head over to Antonito to check on the Ex-Conejos Depot that is endangered. The stone work makes this a unique building and is worth saving so I hope someone can obtain the funds and purpose to keep it from being lost to history.
Also here in Antonito is a historic hotel that belonged to the D&RGW that was built in 1890 and was called the Palace Hotel. Railroads of the past often owned destination hotels / resorts / ships to maximize their revenue.
As we head up over La Manga Pass (10,230ft) we stop at the Scenic Overlook on the eastern side; nice views!
We swung over to Cumbres Pass just to see what we might catch of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad but no trains in sight. I will take a photo of one of the large trestles near Los Pinos from afar.
Also get a photo of the Los Pinos Water Tank from a different location
One last photo for the day would be to get a nice shot of the Cumbres Pass Trestle that I had never gotten in the past.
That’s it for Day #4 of our nine day trip…
Our next stop will be at the Colorado Gators Reptile Park; yes, you read that right…
This is a Family Operated / Active Fish Farm with Gators and other Reptiles / Birds they have “rescued” from pet owners that didn’t understand what they had. So, it’s a bit of a tourist trap but it is also worth a stop if you are in the area and have the time to help them pay the bills.
I would also find some unexpected Railfanning while here as they had a couple of Boxcars used as storage sheds. Both are likely old Burlington Northern units that were later listed as RBWX (WESTERN FRUIT EXPRESS CO.) The location is roughly: Mosca, CO – 37 42.352 N / 105 52.160 W
After spending time walking through that facility taking photos and enjoying Lisa hold a baby gator it was time to leave.
Before calling it a night we will swing over to the Great Sand Dunes to take a few evening photos and get information on a trail we plan to hike in the morning.
As we move our base-camp to new location tonight, we head over Wilkerson Pass (9,507ft) and stop to take in the views
We will next track down a historic railroad location ( 38.911254°N / 105.975374°W ) where the Colorado Midland Railroad and the Denver, South Park, and Pacific Railroad crossed. What remains are only the roadbeds and a bit of trestle abutments of the Colorado Midland.
We head over to Johnson Village (near Buena Vista) to find what remains of the Denver, South Park, and Pacific Railroad over the Arkansas River. Without going below US24 you would never see it as the built the highway over the top of it.
We will then head up to Monarch Pass to take a ride up on the Tramway; COLD & WINDY ride
I will also photograph an piece of Snow Removal equipment in the parking lot; you can see snow is still here
We will then head over Poncha Pass (9,010ft) on our way to our next destination but something we didn’t expect to see catches my eye at 38.394426° N / 106.058884° W. It looks to be the remains of the Steam Era Water Tank which should make it Denver & Rio Grande Western. Research: Round Hill