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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 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 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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2012 – July 4th Outing

For the July 4th holiday Lisa and I decide to skip the traditional activities and head up high into the mountains and when I say high I’m talking over 12,000 feet for a portion of the trip and above 11,000 for other portions.

But, before we get deep into the mountains, we stop back at Bailey, CO to the park and get photos of what I thought was an old RR Wait Station on June 2nd.  After taking a few photos and doing some research since we got back, sure enough it is.  The below structure is actually what is left of the Glenisle, CO and Grousemont, CO RR Wait Stations that were identical in construction.  Both were in such bad shape that to save them they took what was restore-able from both to make a single structure as it looked at both Glenisle and Grousemont.

From there we stop at the top of Kenosha Pass (9,997ft) for a quick break to stretch the legs.  I took a quick shot of the reconstructed Wye that sits at the top of the pass since it was easy to see from the highway given the light.

Our primary travel goal of the day is to take three (3) Auto Tours around Alma, CO (Highest Incorporated Municipality in the US at 10,578ft) but nearly all the Tour Auto Signage was getting replaced so it made it tough to know when we reach each place along the tour guide.  We started off on the Placer Valley Auto Tour – (Fairplay to Alma) but didn’t find much to take photos of.

We then cut over to the Buckskin Gulch Historic Auto Tour and our first major stop on that route was the old town cemetery that is still used today by Alma.  There are many different headstones from days of old and the guide pointed out one related to Thomas Faley that we were able to track down.  There were also many military graves here that someone took the time to place a US Flag next to for the holiday (Thank You!) one that was even listed as a Civil War veteran.  Here is a photo of Thomas Faley headstone as well as Daniel M Clack of the 2nd Colorado Calvary.

From here we head up higher and find the Hungry Five Mine clinging to the side of the mountain.  Don’t be fouled by the telephoto angle, it’s a long way down to the valley floor!!!

We next spot the Paris Mine which too is hanging off the steep side of the same ridge.  Here you can better tell that just below the mine is a vertical rock face that drops and drops and drops some more

On our side of the mountain valley is the Paris Mill that Ore was carried down to via cables.  You can tell this historic building is being somewhat taken care of for younger generations to see some day…

We will now reach a turn-off to head up towards Windy Ridge but before we get up there we will find what little is left of the Mineral Park Mine.  You can start to tell from this photo that we are nearly at tree line…

We will reach the Bristlecone Pine Scenic Area that was been nearly untouched by logging or mining so these trees here are very old and you can tell what this is called Windy Ridge from their shape.  At this point we are also at 11,719ft when we start hiking.  From here you can also see Alma far below us…

We turn back down from here to the turn off to head back up towards Kite Lake.  At this point we are just below three mountain peak that are above 14,000ft that many hikes come here to hike up.  If you are going to take those hikes start really early as you do NOT want to be this high when the afternoon lightning storms hit and have no cover so you become the Lightning Rode.  Many a hikers die from lightning at these altitudes.

On the way back down we stop to take a photo of one of the local that call this place home.  Nice of him to pose for a few shots.  Don’t be fouled by his cute looks, this is one tough / mean critter that rules at this altitude.

From here we will head all the way back down to Fairplay, CO (9,953ft) to have lunch at the Brown Burro which is one of our favorite places to eat in this area.

After a wonderful meal we head out for the third Auto Tour; the Horseshoe / Fourmile Historic Auto Tour.  As we turn onto County Road 18 from US285 we are now on the old Denver, South Park and Hilltop Railway grade that serviced the mines / mills of what was Leavick, CO.  This railroad hauled the our down to the Denver, South Park, and Pacific that would later become part of the Colorado and Southern Railroad.  I believe the DSP&H was a bit over 11 miles in length as it headed up the gulch to the old mining town of Leavick.

On the way up, we will pass the old Mudsill Mill that is in need of some TLC or will be lost to time soon.  Yes, that is a For Sale sign and there is a fair amount of acreage that comes with the sale…

We will go as far as motorized travel is allowed which is still well below the mine that you can hike up too.  We are at 12,061 ft when we park and get out.  It’s starting to Rain and clouds are moving in so it’s time to get down of these high mountain trails.  Looking back down the road you can see part of the DSP&H roadway we just travel over to get up here.  Yes, there are no trees up at this level so we are the lightning rods right now so down we go.

Part way down now below timber line we pull in to the Limber Grove Trail.  Part of the trail crosses over the gulch and I notice the heavy timbers are being supported from below are railroad ties, have I found some small part of the DSP&H still here?

Time to head back towards Alma to track down and photograph the old Alma Junction depot.  The first time we looked for it we missed it (in plain sight) and after re-reviewing some old photos we realized the back of the depot was to the road and thus mistook it earlier for one of the cabins. (GPS  39°16’11.52″N / 106° 3’10.18″W).  This depot too needs some serious restoration $$$ to save it.

We have one more stop to make of this chapter, we head for Breckenridge, CO.  You might recall that Colorado and Southern Steam Engine #9 was restored to operations, placed into service on the Georgetown Loop and quickly was broken from over usage.  Well, it’s new home is in Breckenridge where it is once again a static display.

It’s getting late and I do have to still work for a living so it’s time to head home.  We will stop in Idaho Springs for diner at one of our favorite places there (Buffalo Bar) and then head the rest of the way home.  Not a bad One-Day vacation and a way to celebrate July 4th by visiting various historical places and saying Thank You to a few war vets from conflicts of long ago at the Buckskin Gulch Cemetery…

Dinner Idaho Springs

 
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Posted by on 07/04/2012 in RRAdventures, Trip Reports

 

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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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