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2013 – Summer Vacation – Part 5B

As we continue our journeys we head up to Wolf Creek Pass (10,857 ft.)

Wolf Creek Pass

We had also planned a side trip up to Lobo Overlook but we were shocked to find the gate still closed

Lobo Overlook

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.

Charles Stith OverlookCharles Stith Overlook

Our next stop is to hike up to Treasure Falls 37 26.553 N / 106 52.639 W

Treasure FallsTreasure Falls

Time for lunch so we pull into Pagosa Springs for a bite to eat…

Pagosa Springs

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

Florida River Bridge (D&RGW)Florida River Bridge (D&RGW)

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…

Emma SweeneyEmma Sweeney

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…

Mesa Verde National ParkMesa Verde National Park

 

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2013 – Summer Vacation – Part 4B

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.

La Jara, CO - 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.

Antonito - Ex-Conejos (D&RGW) Depot

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.

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As we head up over La Manga Pass (10,230ft) we stop at the Scenic Overlook on the eastern side; nice views!

La Manga Pass Scenic Overlook

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.

Los Pinos Trestle - Cumbres & Toltec

Also get a photo of the Los Pinos Water Tank from a different location

Los Pinos Water Tank - Cumbres & Toltec

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.

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That’s it for Day #4 of our nine day trip…

 
 

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2013 – Summer Vacation – Part 2C

Before we leave Victor, I will also catch a photo of the Midland Terminal train station from a different angle

Midland Terminal - Victor, CO

We leave town and then make a stop at The Little Grouse Mountain Mining Exhibit ( 38.710412° -105.162187°) that is a roadside museum of various mining equipment

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From that same location you can also see the Arequa Gulch Bridge – Highest Bridge on Colorado State Highway System (38.714215° / -105.165698°); 1,218 ft Long / 250+ feet high.

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Time to head on down the road for our next stop…

 

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2012 – Fall Vacation – Part 8

As we near the end of our trip, we will spend Day #8 hiking (climbing) up to Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs, CO.  Once parked, I spot a few Fallen Flag Gondola’s that are tough to get photos of but I did manager to get one clear shot.

Hanging Lake Trail

As you get ready to hike the Hanging Lake Trail there is a Warning Sign.  We Saw many on the trail that didn’t read this OR didn’t care!!!

Warning Sign

As we walked along the flat section of the trail along the River you get great views of the canyon and places one can also see the Railroad tracks; not a train in sight…

Hanging Lake Trail

Once you get to the original Hanging Lake Trail Head there is a great sign on the area

Information Sign

Here is another River and Railroad shot I took but still no trains in sight

Hanging Lake Trail

Once we are deep into the trail, we could see Waterfalls everywhere and this was fall when the water levels are normally low.  This is just one of many such places we stop and took photos of…

Hanging Lake Trail

After a nice long but tough hike we reach Hanging Lake.  The last say 0.2 miles is a very steep hike and narrow so mind your footing but the destination is well worth it.  We got up to the lake early so there wasn’t too many folks there let but WOW, by the time we left it was packed with people

Found this Hanging Lake Marker on a rock near the lake edge

After getting our shots of the lake we headed farther up the trail to Spouting Rock.  It’s not much of a hike by distance but it’s a bit rocky in places so again watch your footing.

Hanging Lake Trail

By the time we get back down it’s time for Lunch and we find a spot at one of the rest stops in the canyon.  I can hear a train coming (finally!) and grabbed the video camera; waiting at this location for the Passing Train.  Will share the video later…

Video coming later :-)
Our next stop is the Glenwood Railroad Museum that is in the old depot that is now used by Amtrak.  We have been here many a time to only find the museum closed but this time we made sure we would be here when it was open.  The front section has an O-Scale/O-Gauge setup and the back section has some nice historic pieces as well as a Large-Scale steam engine

Glenwood Railroad Museum

Our last destination for the day is Aspen, CO.  We tried and failed to find the old Depot but we have since learned we were looking in the wrong place.  We did however find the Colorado Midland Railroad Bridge (39.201200° N 106.849400°W) that today is used for pedestrian crossing over the creek.  It’s right next to today’s highway bridge.

Near Aspen, CO

Only one more day left of our vacation…

 

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2012 – Fall Vacation – Part 7

We will head back to Black Canyon of the Gunnison for one more morning hike and given the route we took I spotted a Railroad Bridge at 38.7767N 107.9620W along Hwy 92 ner Austin, CO that was a bit of a different configuration.  Time to pull over and get a photograph.

38.7767N 107.9620W Hwy 92 Austin, CO

Once back at the North Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison we will take the North Vista Trail to Exclamation Point.  We skipped this trail Day #4 as it was late and hot for such a long hike for us  We took allot of photos but at Exclamation Point I wish we had taken the hike in the afternoon as I think the light would have been better.  Still, it was a wonderful view and hike.

Black Canyon of the GunnisonBlack Canyon of the Gunnison

As we head for our next destination for the day, we pull off to view Adobe Hills at 38 37.062N 107 59.740W near Olathe, CO.  Nothing like seeing a green farm field right next to an arid landscape and even with the haze of wildfires the light was great to capture the colors and contrasts.

Olathe, CO

As we head down highway 65 towards Grand Mesa National Forest near Cedaredge, CO we pulled over to get a photos of the Aspen along this hill that were spectacular.

Cedaredge, CO

Once inside the Grand Mesa National Forest the number of Aspen that were in full color was amazing and we took advantage of nearly all the pull-offs to take photos.

Grand Mesa National Forest

We will stop for lunch at Grand Mesa Visitor Center and looking South from the picnic table was a nice view towards one of the many lakes up here on the mesa.

Looking South

While on the Grand Mesa, we take a side trip onto Forest Access Road 100 to “A” Road to Lands End Observatory.  The cliff side views are worth the stop and at one stop you can also see  “S” Road coming up from below also heading to the Lands End Observatory that sits out on a pointed of the mesa you can see on the first photo below.

Heading to Lands End ObservatoryHeading to Lands End Observatory

We reach Lands End Observatory that is at 39.0252N 108.2242W in hopes of taking some great shots of the valley but the haze of the wildfires was too heavy for any good photographs.  We still look some but they are not worth showing.  We also took some photos of the Lands End Observatory itself along with the sign talking about this location which at times doubles as a Visitor Center.

Grand Mesa at 39.0252N 108.2242WGrand Mesa 39.0252N 108.2242W

While here, we found a friend eating a pile of Sunflower seeds someone left behind.  He didn’t seem to concerned about getting his photo taken as long as we didn’t get to close or move to fast.  He was bound and determined to eat all the Sunflower seeds that were sitting there.

Grand Mesa Lands End Observatory

We then turned around to head back to Highway 65 and then head towards Mesa, CO.  The Aspen colors on this side of the mesa were as wonderful as the other side so we also took advantage of nearly all the pull offs.

Grand Mesa National ForestGrand Mesa National Forest

While on this drive, I spotted a Denver & Rio Grande Western Passenger Car – Scenic Line of the West on private property so I could only get a distant shot from the road but maybe I can get back here and talk to the owner to find out more about this car.

39 11.382N 108 08.971W - Mesa, CO

Another full day in and time to head for the hotel…

 

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2012 – Fall Vacation – Part 2

For our second day of our Fall Vacation we will head back to Marshall Pass, this time in the opposite direction from the past trip.  Again, the Aspen Foliage is in it’s full Golden Colors as we make our way through the mountain valleys.

If you recall from my August 18th post (2012 – August Weekend Outing – Part 2) we video recorded Marshall Pass starting from Sargents, CO to US-285, and this trip we will go the other-way to capture the route heading towards Sargents, CO.  Reminder, this is D&RGW Right-of-Way ofn the days of Steam Engines and Narrow Gauge trains that we are recording.

As we travel back towards Gunnison, CO where we are staying again for this section of our journeys we pass by a property that had D&RGW MOW Car #04408 to find they have added another addition; D&RGW #5900.

Our next destination is to travel over Ohio Pass and as we start our journey we can see in the distance along with more great fall colors.

As we close in on our primary Denver, South Park, and Pacific Railroad location on Ohio Pass I will stop for another Mountain / Aspen Color shot.

The DSP&P Railway started to build Grade and Track from Gunnison, CO (which they reached in 1882) over Ohio Pass with plans to reach the Pacific Ocean.  Construction here ended in 1883 with the grade making over the top of Ohio Pass but track laying never reach there.  In building out the grade, the DSP&P had to build “The Great Rock Wall” which still stands today in it partially built along with some Rock Culverts.  The hike was a bit to rocky for us to take all the way for this trip but maybe I will get back here another day to photograph more of this section.

End of the Line

The Great Rock WallGrade - End of the Line

Grade - End of the LineGrade - Big Balloon Loop

While I walked a section of the Big Balloon Loop over the rocky grade, Lisa stayed back and took some great closeup Aspen shots as well as shots of Castle Mountain from this location.

Ohio PassOhio Pass

We will drive over Kebler Pass before heading to Lake Irwin to have lunch along the shoreline.

Our final stop on this day will be at the Jokerville Mine Memorial in Crested Butte, CO.  On January 24, 1884 a serious mine explosion killed several miners   Some of those killed are buried at this location as well.

Crested ButteCrested Butte

Lisa will also get some great shots of Crested Butte and the Aspens colors here too…

See, this is why Lisa doesn’t mind doing these historic railroad trips as we do travel through some wonderful areas with lots of geology and vista and being Fall, we also get great Leaf Peeper shots of the Aspens

 
 

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2012 – Fall Vacation – Part 1

On September 15th Lisa and I will take off for a nine (9) day outing that will contain a mixture of allot of the areas we enjoy and enjoy sharing with others such as yourself…

Our first stop is at as anytime we take this route out-of-town in makes for a good stopping point to stretch a bit. This is also a place where many come to Hike/Bike the Colorado Trail and during this time of year it is also a very nice place to take in the Aspen that were turning into the spectacular colors. Here is just one of many photos we would take to give you just a small hint as what the trail was like…

Aspen Colors

Our next stop will be in Como, Colorado to mainly get photographs of the hotel.  A little history might be in order as to how this has a railroad twist and hopefully I have the dates right; if not, I will correct.  The Denver, South Park and Pacific reach here in June 1879 and the Roundhouse built in 1881.  The Depot was built in 1879 and was later altered into a “L” shape and the depot today is under renovation.  The Original hotel (Gilman Depot Hotel) was built here and opened for business January 1, 1881, extended in March 1882, and taken over by Union Pacific in 1885.  Sadly in November 1896 that hotel was lost in a fire.  Here is an old photo of that hotel that is online at the The Narrow Gauge Circle website (http://www.narrowgauge.org/)

The new “South Park Hotel by the Railroad” (or also known as the “Eating House”) was built in 1897 and still stand today.  The DSP&P operated their last train here in April 1937 and the tracks removed a year later.  Here is one of the photos we took of this hotel on this day along with the Roundhouse and Depot…

Como ColoradoComo ColoradoComo Colorado

From here we head down the highway a bit father to Red Hill Pass where some of the old DSP&P route can still be seen.  The Aspen colors from here are also wonderful.  From here you can also see the “” where the old Denver, South Park and Hilltop Railway once operated that you can read more about in this blog from an earlier entry.

From here we will travel to the Fourmile Travel Management Area into an area known as Castle Gulch to view a rock formation know as The Castles.  This will be a Geology (Rock Shot) stop for mainly for Lisa but I do enjoy the geological stops as well; just don’t tell her that…

Fourmile Travel Management Area

From here we head into Buena Vista for several stops which will lead us to another place not on our original plans as we didn’t know it was there!  Our first planned stop is at the Buena Vista Heritage Museum where the Buena Vista Model Railroad Society was founded in February, 1984 until 2004.  Today the model is lightly maintained by the museum and the model is based on the “Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad,” “Denver, and Rio Grande Railroad” and “Colorado Midland Railroad” during the period of 1900 to 1920.

Buena Vista, ColoradoBuena Vista, COHO Scale

We head down the street a few blocks to the last remaining depot in Chaffee County.  We have taken photos of this depot before but every-time we were here it was closed.  This time we setup our schedule to be here when it was open and it was well worth it.  One artifact inside was the old D&RGW Depot’s desk that somehow survived and I also look a photo of a display that showed this depot being saved / moved to the location it is in today.

Buena Vista ColoradoDenver and Rio Grande Western Deport DeskDenver and Rio Grande Western Deport Desk

Now that we made it into the old DSP&P Depot we turn back to our search of the Colorado Midland Ticket office to get a photo for our records.

Buena Vista Colorado

A building that was not on list (since it wasn’t RR related) that I spotted I stopped to get a photo since it was also a nice old historic building from times long since gone by and it is a Depot; just a Stage Depot.

Buena Vista, CO

Our next structure we locate is the Denver and Rio Grande Western Hospital.  This is the second of the D&RGW Hospitals we have now tracked down that the railroad build to take care of their employees healthcare needs.

Buena Vista Colorado

Our final two planned stops took a bit of research to find as you would not know these were railroad related.  Both of these homes today were originally part of the Colorado Midland and were later moved and became private homes.  The first is the old Telegraph Office that is also known as the Key Hole house and the other is the Section House.  Both were moved to the same neighborhood in Buena Vista and today would just pass as homes and not historic railroad structures.

Buena Vista, COBuena Vista, CO

Now back to the “unplanned” stop; while at the old DSP&P Depot I ask where the old Colorado Midland Depot would have been located since the CM route was on the outside of town well above the town itself and then they would have a stage-coach that passengers from there.  This was not as good of a setup as the DSP&P nor the D&RGW but to get the train into town would have been costly for the CM.  Well, I got not only the location but told how to drive the old ROW to get to the original site as well as to remnants of a trestle.  Time to set up the Video camera to record that section of the grade and take photos!!!!  Here is a sample of some of the photos we took…

Buena Vista, COBuena Vista, CO

Buena Vista, COBuena Vista, CO

Well from here we are off to the Christmas 1806 site where Zebulon Pike stopped while surveying the  Louisiana Purchase. Not much to see put it’s still nice to stop to overlook where history occurred.  The sign itself was placed in 1964 and is still in good shape…

Zebulon Pike - Louisiana Purchase

As we head back towards our hotel in Gunnison, we stop for more Aspen GOLD shots as the trees are changing very nicely this year!

 
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Posted by on 09/15/2012 in World Tour

 

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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 – Railfanning East of Town

On this day trip we head out east on I-70 with three planned stops…

Stop #1 is a quick drive to Montebello, CO which is just east of Denver in Adams County.  Here we track down the Union Pacific Freight Depot also know as Roydale.  Not much to look at but still another Railroad Station located and photographed!  I will also take some other Railfan shots of equipment that I will save for the full trip report…

UP Depot

From there we head to Strasburg in Arapahoe County.  Our primary stop here is the Comanche Crossing Historical Society Museum.  Lots of interesting items big and small to enjoy including the old Union Pacific Depot that was moved to this location for preservation.

UP Depot

We also know that the old CRI&P Simla Depot from Elbert County has also been moved to just south of town and is a private home of a major Railfan in this area.

CRI&P Depot

Our third and final stop of this chapter of RRAdventures in Limon in Lincoln County.  Here we head for the Limon Heritage Museum and Railroad Park which also include the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific / Union Pacific Depot along with other railroad RR equipment and historical items of this area.  To our surprise we will also find Ron from the Georgetown Loop working at the museum; it was his first day and it was great chatting with him.

CRI&P / UP Depot

I will also find the current UP Freight Depot just behind the museum.

UP Depot

From there we head back home in 90+ degree heat logging nearly 200 miles of driving for the afternoon trip

 
 

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2012 – Denver, South Park & Pacific – Part 2

Looks like we will have another sunny morning so we head back into DSP&P / C&S territory.  We take a different route in this time coming in via Sedalia using CO HWY 67 to reach South Platte River Road.  From there we turn north towards the ghost-town of South Platte.

Before reaching South Platte, we come across where Nighthank, CO use stood and the railroad did have a spur up to here in 1904; abandon 1916.  At this point we will be traveling on the old DSP&P ROW.  I will take lots of photos and Point-n-Shoot video clips to capture the ROW which is mostly still as it was; now just a dirt road.

We now reach South Platte, CO where the only part of town that still survives is the old hotel.  From old photographs we can easily spot where the depot once stood. as is was across the street/track from the hotel.  We will also hike a section of the old ROW that is a rail trail but only a shot distance this trip.

From here we head towards Foxton, Argyle, Ferndale, and on into Buffalo Creek.  We take photos along this stretch to catch other RR related items for our history research and detailed trip reports.  Once in Buffalo Creek we will find the old Section House that has been somewhat modified.  We will also find where the depot here once stood base on historical photos and buildings that still stand today.  I will also stop again in Pine Grove to get shots of the old RR cabins I took in the pouring rain the day before.

From there we head on into Bailey, CO for lunch but our research also tells us an old railroad bridge was moved there to a park and slightly altered to be a foot bridge.  As we pull into town I spot it and we will also find a C&S Caboose near by.  I might also have found an old RR Wait Station but that is not yet confirmed next to the caboose.

Time to eat and I will take Lisa to a historical place that nearly was lost but survived by getting moved to Bailey, CO.  It can be a wait to get your food but it’s worth the time.

We will now head over Guanella Pass which has been closed for three years for renovation

As we head down the other side we locate FR 248.1 which is important for a future trip to get deeper into Argentine Central RR territory but will be some serious 4×4 driving to get to where we need to go for that trip.

As we head down the hill more we come across a stop that was added as part of the Guanella Pass renovations.  We will also learn at this stop there is some more RR stuff to come back to find from the mining Gold/Silver mines here at the ruins of Silverdale, CO

As we get to the other end of the pass we come into Georgetown, CO.  If you are a Railfan like us you know this is Georgetown Loop territory.  One thing that has always bothered me is where was the ROW below the loop.  I took this quick shot near  39.7036° / -105.7001° as this is where the ROW below the loop gets cut off by the road.  Where in the heck did it go from here and get to the depot in town that is still in it’s original location was still a mystery.

Well today’s stop in Georgetown is not RR related but to visit the Energy Museum which is an old Hydroelectric plat that has been in operation since 1900.

It s fun/short/FREE stop and what to my surprise I find photos that show railroad ROW in it.  One of the gentlemen there could not solve 100% of my mystery but certain clear up the ROW picture for me.  See the ROW went behind the plant and not into town.  From there is stayed along the mountain side until it reach either a Switch or a Wye that the train would use to go back into down to the station.  So, train traffic heading out of Denver towards Silver Plume that would stop in Georgetown would take this siding heading into the depot and then had to backup to the mainline.  Coming down towards Denver the train would pass through Georgetown and the backup to the station via the siding and then pull forward to Denver from there.  Now that makes a whole lot of since knowing layout of town.  Exactly where the Switch/Wye was is not 100% certain but now I have knowledge to work from.  Also from behind the Hydro plant you can still see the ROW!!!!!!!

Well, with that it was time to head home and down load nearly 500 Photo/Video Clips we took these past two days.  Stay tuned for a full RRAdventures trip report coming later that will show all the details we learned from this trip…

 

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