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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 – 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 – Wichita Kansas – Part 1

We head to Wichita Kansas to attend my nieces college graduation and add some time before/after to make a mini vacation out of it.

Well our flight out turned out to be a Turbo-Prop but at least we sat far enough back to be away from most the noise.

We get in to our hotel close to midnight and then get up early to start our next RRAdventures of 2012 by heading for Hutchinson, Kansas to track down some depots; including the Arkansas Valley Interurban Depot.

From there we head for Fort Larned National Historic Site near Larned, KS

We then head down the road a bit to the Santa Fe Trail Center that has lots of historical stuff but not as much on the Santa Fe Trail as we had hoped but still very much worth the stop; especially since they have a depot there!  The depot is from Frizell, KS and is AT&SF

With the major outside activities done (to avoid the heat) we head back into Larned itself to track down another depot

From there we head for Pawnee Rock, KS to track down their historical depot

Our next stop in Pawnee Rock is Pawnee Rock itself which was a geologic structure that mark the midpoint of the Santa Fe Trail.  We also find a lone grave to Nehemiah Carson (PVT Mexican War) who died here from an unknown illness.

We don’t have much time left but we quickly pass through Great Bend, KS to track down AT&SF Steam Engine #3416

Time to head back to Wichita, Kansas to call it a night

 

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2010: Railfanning South of Town; Part II / Day#1

Lisa and I once again headed out of town and headed south for a short vacation. On our first day we hiked around Castlewood State Park which once was a lake behind a dam that failed reveling the canyon once again.

We next headed into Manitou Springs to track down and photograph the Colorado Midland Passenger Depot that still exists that is now a private home.

We later headed up Highway 24 to see if we could find some historical markers in several towns that we read marked the location of where their depots once stood. This information we had was from 1979 and sadly we did not locate any of the markers. The towns searched were Cascade, Chipita (Ute) Park, and Green Mountain Falls. All of these would have been on the Colorado Midland route that basically Highway 24 now resides.

We continued to Woodland Park were we also read that part of the Passenger Station still exists and was now the library. Well, we found a brand new Library but talked to folks that said the old library had been moved over to a park to be used as a storage shed. Yep, one Baggage Room; all that remains of the depot from the fire that nearly destroyed it many years ago…

 
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Posted by on 09/10/2010 in RRAdventures

 

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2008: Escape of the DNC; Day#4

We start the day NW of Leadville by taking a drive around Turquoise Lake. We look several small hikes as well as stop at the Charles H Boustead Tunnel (Water) and the Sugar Loaf Dam. We then swing by the Leadville National Fish Hatchery.

We next head SW and drive over Independence Pass (12,095 ft.) and also stop at what’s left of the old ghost town.

Continental Divide

Not to fear, our next stop is very much RR related as we head to Basalt. Here we photograph the Colorado Midland Depot and as well the C&S Caboose #1050.

As we drop up the highway we noticed something on a side road; track? Now we understand all that should have been gone so we doubled back to find the side road and sure enough there it was. A small section of the Rio Grande Trail still was a section of track. Might make a great Google Earth contest in the future.
On on way we also find some great Red Rock geological formations
Carbondale, COCarbondale, CO
At the end of the day we reach Glenwood Springs and when we drove towards our hotel I noticed the UP yard was close by and something; so after dinner we drop over there. Here is just a teaser of what we found but not the only thing.
 
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Posted by on 08/26/2008 in RRAdventures

 

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2008: Escape of the DNC; Day#2b

We continued our day and switched Fallen Flags; now the Denver & Rio Grande Western.

But first, before we leave Buena Vista I wanted to share a smile. Beside the Depot is a Caboose listed as Colorado Midland #425 but don’t be fouled, it’s really CB&Q #14364. It fact, they have not yet painted the backside of the display where it still sports it RED color, logo, and road number. When I do my complete RRAdventues story I will share those backside images too.

From here we turned north to Leadville along track that we understand UP might soon abandon. So, we took some time to stop a take a few shots to log certain pieces along the route.
We reached Leadville and took a few shots of the depot before we continued our drive north.
We continue north over Tennessee Pass and stopped at a WWII Memorial that is very important to Colorado and the Ski Industry.
Continental DivideTennessee Pass
This next shot I think my friend  HEMI will enjoy!
We continued over the pass to Camp Hale for a few shots there.
Tennessee Pass
Then onto Minturn to catch a D&RGW Depot there as well.
We turn back to Leadville and stopped at Climax Mines that is in the process of reopenning which will be huge for the local economy in this part of the state. There is a nice static display along the highway including mining train equipment.
We return to Leadville for the night to stay at the old Delaware Hotel. Talk about sleeping in an antique store, your room is shown off like a museum piece during the day and you sleep in at night. Nearly all the pieces are also for sale so it’s weird to stay there…
Leadville, CO
 
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Posted by on 08/24/2008 in RRAdventures

 

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2008: Miscellaneous (Clear Creek Canyon CO)

Took some time while driving along Clear Creek on US-6 back on May 30th to photograph various Flat Cars that are today being used as private bridges. Using Google Earth I have identified their location via GPS rather than by city.


D&RGW AX #22051
39°45’52.34″N 105°26’47.13″W

D.O.D. #21024
39°45’52.15″N 105°26’47.16″W

BN #962145
39°45’3.04″N 105°23’57.90″W

 
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Posted by on 05/30/2008 in RRAdventures

 

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