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Tag Archives: Denver and Rio Grande Western

2013 – Summer Vacation – Part 3A

As we move our base-camp to new location tonight, we head over Wilkerson Pass (9,507ft) and stop to take in the views

Wilkerson PassWilkerson Pass

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.

Colorado Midland / Denver, South Park, and Pacific Crossing

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.

IMG_4161 – IMG_4160

We will then head up to Monarch Pass to take a ride up on the Tramway; COLD & WINDY ride

IMG_4163IMG_4165

I will also photograph an piece of Snow Removal equipment in the parking lot; you can see snow is still here

IMG_4182

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

Steam Era Water Tank Remains ?

 

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2013 – Colorado Railroad Museum – Open Car Day

Today, the CRRM had its first of several up and coming “Open Car” Days where visitors get a chance to go inside cars not often open to pubic viewing.  Open Car Day #1 featured the following cars…

CMR Observation Car No. 111

CMR Observation Car No. 111

RGS Business Car Rico No. 21

RGS Business Car Rico No. 21

D&RGW RPO No. 60

D&RGW RPO No. 60

UP Coach No. 5442

UP Coach No. 5442

CB&Q Business Car No. 96

CB&Q Business Car No. 96

 

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2013 – Colorado Railroad Museum – Ride in Varnish

Colorado Railroad Museum

Ride in “Varnish”

This Saturday the Colorado Railroad Museum featured a completely historic 1880’s “Varnish” consist featuring Steam Locomotive No. 40, Rail Post Office No. 60, Passenger Coach Nos. 280 and 284 (with red velvet seats and pot bellied stoves), and RGS Business Car “Rico”.  the private business car that the famous 19th C. photographer William Henry Jackson used when his was hired to photograph the Rio Grande Southern line.

 
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Posted by on 01/19/2013 in RRAdventures, Trip Reports

 

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2012 – Fall Vacation – Part 9

On this day we will travel for home but will make a few stops along the way.  Our first stop being at Dotsero Volcano.  From Wikipedia, Dotsero is a 700-meter (2,300 ft) wide by 400-meter (1,300 ft) deep maar volcano located in Dotsero, Colorado near the junction of the Colorado River and the Eagle River. It is classified as a scoria cone with evaporitic rock, basaltic tephra, and oxidized sandstone. Erupting approximately 4200 years ago, it is the youngest volcano in Colorado.

Once we reach Eagle, CO we will stop at the Rest Stop to get photos of D&RGW Caboose #01461.

Eagle, CO

We don’t have plans for any major hikes today but will take a short detour off of I-70 to go up to Shrine Pass to look at the area for a future hike.  We noted the “Caution” sign we spotted as we drove up to the pass being something unexpected

With that, we drive the rest of the way home completing our 1,704 mile romp through Colorado over nine days.

 

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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 6

On this morning, we head out early to hike the Interpretive Trail of the Rabbit Valley Research Natural Area (39.1936° N 109.0201 W) which is about 2 miles east of the Utah-Colorado State-line along I70.  Here is the Colorado State description of the area.

Rabbit Valley is located north of the Colorado River along the northwest flank of the Uncompahgre Uplift. The quarry has produced large specimens of several dinosaurs including Camarasaurus, Allosaurus, and Camptosaurus.  The Bureau of Land Management and the Museum of Western Colorado have developed the site for interpretive use, and the Museum of Western Colorado directs ongoing fossil digs.   The recent discovery of an Iguanodon skull marks the earliest known record of this species.  High quality pinion pine – Utah juniper woodlands occur on the site north of the fossil locality.

Please be aware that this site contains features of state-wide significance. Collection is prohibited at all times with out proper permits.

Rabbit Valley Research Natural Area

With the morning hike complete we head to Fruita, Colorado to visit the Dinosaur Journey museum which is the Museum of Western Colorado.  It’s a nice museum of the dinosaur history of the region and they also had a movie that we also enjoyed.  Found this interesting vehicle outside I had to stop and photograph as well.

Fruita, ColoradoDinosaur Journey

Across the parking lot at the museum I also spot a railroad passenger car which turned out to be D&RGW #52 and it is sporting the Fruit Belt Route logo on it.

Fruita, ColoradoFruita, ColoradoFruita, Colorado

Our main goal today was to tour the Colorado National Monument again and hope to catch some nice shots under different light conditions.  You can tell in some of the shots that wildfire smoke still is in the valley.


Well, you can’t visit here without at least stopping at Balanced Rock as the best angles are not from roadside but a short walk away from the road

Colorado National Monument
We will stop next at the Fruita Canyon Overlook where you can also see Balanced Rock down below

Colorado National Monument
We will only take a short hike on the Canyon Rim Trail this time just to capture a few shots near the visitor center itself.

Colorado National MonumentColorado National Monument

Independence Monument is the next stop on the drive.  This free standing soft red sandstone monument stands 450 feet tall.  For those adventurous enough, I believe you can climb this but for us we will enjoy it from the overlook.

Colorado National MonumentColorado National Monument

Also right in this area is Monument Canyon where other soft red sandstone formations stand tall above the valley floor.

Colorado National Monument
At the Artists Point overlook there is two places to enjoy the views so if you have time and don’t mind a few steps make sure you head to your left to get to the lower section of the overlook to see other views you can’t see from the upper section.

Colorado National Monument
The Fallen Rock overlook is all about this rock slab that has broken away from the cliff wall.  Make sure you have a reasonable telephoto lens for this one as it’s a bit of a distance away for many Point-n-Shoot cameras to get a nice shot.

Colorado National Monument
We will briefly get a few shots of Red Canyon as we drive by.  Note the notch at the far end of the canyon; the canyon is starting its next phase of change and that will slowly work its way deeper and father back over time.

Colorado National Monument
Cold Shivers Point is one of those places that you can enjoy from the overlook or take a short hike to where this location gets it name.  The first photo is the one I took and the second is the one Lisa took of me standing where I took from photo from.  Right behind and in front of me is a vertical drop so watch your footing if you head out near the point to take photos.

Colorado National MonumentColorado National Monument

We will now head back to Grand Junction to visit the Museum of Western Colorado.  It was lots of great historical items to enjoy and yes you can go up into the tower as well to get views of the city.  You can get to the top via an elevator or use the stairs; below exit into the museum.

Grand Junction, Colorado

For our planned Railfanning, we head over to the Union Pacific Maintenance Department to hopefully get shots of some of the D&RGW equipment that is stored here.  We will get a clean shot of  D&RGW Crane #028 along with its Wheel / Boom Car.  You can see another D&RGW car behind the crane but no way to get a clear shot.  I will also take a few shots of some older UP cars that are also stored here.

Grand Junction, Colorado

As we headed back to the hotel we got buzzed my fighters and I wish I had the video camera ready as they passed very low right over our car.  The  Blue Angels Navy F/A-18 Hornets are in town and on this day they were practicing so once we got to the hotel we had a nice FREE show.  Sadly I missed the support plane as by the time we saw it we had put away the camera equipment.  Will be interesting to see how well my new HD Video camera caught the action but here is a few of the still photos that Lisa and I took.

Grand Junction ColoradoGrand Junction ColoradoGrand Junction, Colorado

Grand Junction, Colorado

Well, that is it from this day but there is still several more days to go for this trip report…

 

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