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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 3B

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.

Colorado Gators Reptile Park

Colorado Gators Reptile ParkColorado Gators Reptile ParkColorado Gators Reptile Park

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

RBWX #60474

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RBWX #60260

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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.

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IMG_4288Great Sand Dunes

 
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Posted by on 06/03/2013 in RRAdventures, Trip Reports

 

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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.

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

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

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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 – Summer Vacation – Part 2D

Cripple Creek-Victor Mining District

This area today is being heavily mined by what is known as the Cresson surface mine.  Because of this, the historical structures in the area are moved (the best they can) so where you find things one year might be different the next.  This was very true on this trip as we found various things moved again…

After crossing 250-foot bridge over Arequa Gulch that was constructed by the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company we head into the next section.  We are expecting to stop to take photos on structure on the left side of the road but are surprised to see a Headframe on the right.  After a bit of research, I determine it’s from the Golden Wedge Mine.  This headframe was originally at  38.727941° N / 105.157534° W but it’s been moved to 38.724918° N / 105.167238° W now.

Golden Wedge Mine

Beacon Hill Phonolite Plug

To our left we find the Nichol’s Mine as expected at 38.722430° N / 105.165642° W

Nichol's MineNichol's Mine

Next down the valley is the El Paso Mine at 38.719252° N / 105.170454° W

El Paso Mine

Farther yet down the valley is the Mary Nevin Mine at 38.718397° N / 105.175245° W

Mary Nevin Mine

As you continue on State Highway 67 we will reach a timber wall or cribbing on the right that supported the dump rock of the Mary MacKinney Mine.  This cribbing was originally placed here to permit the passage of the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad (F&CC) on what is now the highway.  You can start to see how the current Cresson surface mine is pushing down hill into this area.

Cribbing – Mary McKinney Mine

Anaconda, CO

As we make the tight turn in the highway, this is where Anaconda, CO once stood and the railroad once also had a depot that is now in Cripple Creek used by the tourist railroad today.  We will stop after making the curve in the highway where we can get more of a panoramic view of the changes that have occurred since we were last here.

As we look to our left down the highway we just passed over we can now clearly see why the Golden Wedge Mine Headframe was moved as the Cresson surface mine has pushed into that location now.  We also note the old Blacksmith Shop building is missing (unknown status) and can barley make out where the old dept once stood now.  What was once left of Anaconda’s ghost town is nearly gone now and what remains will be gone soon…

Anaconda, CO

Rotating clockwise, the cribbing  of the Mary MacKinney Mine is back in view of the camera again.

Anaconda, CO

Rotating clockwise again, you can truly see between all these three photos the impact the Cresson surface mine is having now.  It won’t be long and this entire area will be transformed.

Anaconda, CO

Zooming in, I will also capture a closer view of the Chicken Hawk Mine at 38.726301° N / 105.163991° W.  I wonder how much longer it will remain.

Chicken Hawk Mine

Here is a couple of Goggle Earth Images from 2001 and 2012 of the Cresson surface mine to show growth over ~10 years of mining operations.  Anaconda, CO stood basically where you see the hairpin curve in the highway in the middle of these images

Cresson Mine - 2001

Cresson Mine - 2012

 
 

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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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2013 – Summer Vacation – Part 2A

Colorado Midland Railroad

We will start off our second day by driving up Elevenmile Canyon.  Once we turned off into the canyon road, we will be on Colorado Midland Railroad grade so the video camera gets mounted on the dashboard and we head in to record the route; making a few stops along the way…

38.968622° 105.362816°

Our first stop directly related to the Colorado Midland is for the first tunnel which I believe was know as Tunnel #9.  I will take photos of both portals but here is the shot I pick for our travel blog.

38.931458° 105.413715°

We will later pass through this Rock Cut; I don’t know if it had an official name.  Note also the bridge behind it as we will cross over the water at this point as well.

38.941537° 105.403897°

We crossed over a few bridges that were obviously built/rebuilt by the State Highway Department.  This bridge however just beyond the cut has a railroad look to it.  The Bridge does have a State Highway Department tag on it from 1923 but I will do more investigation if it is one of the old RR bridges that the CM once used too…

38.941141° 105.404172°38.941141° 105.404172°

Farther down the canyon we will reach two tunnels close to each other.  Like with the first, I will take a few photos of both portals of each one.  I believe this one was called Tunnel #10 under the Colorado Midland usage.

38.916054° 105.448101°

Making this on likely Tunnel #11 of the Colorado Midland Railway

38.915933° 105.449635°

Afterward driving farther up the canyon we reach the Dam where we can no longer trace the Colorado Midland Right-of-Way.  The route would have continued on along the river to Hartsel, CO

38.904796° 105.475883°

 

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2013 – Summer Vacation – Part 1

Lisa and I will take off on a nine-day vacation starting on June 1st; heading into southern Colorado.  We will spend our first night in Woodland Park, CO; but, we will make several stops that day in the region.

Our first stop is in Green Mountain Falls where the Colorado Midland Railroad once operated.  We have been trying to locate where the Depot once stood related to the tracks that passed by the lake.  We had hoped the information office would be open but once again is was closed.  In the below photo, the tracks would have been along this path and the depot we believe towards the far end.

Green Mountain Falls

From there we head to the Ute Pass History Park where one of the buildings is dedicated to the Colorado Midland Railroad.  We got there too early but return to find the main building open but were told the RR building is only open one weekend a month during the summer and this wasn’t the weekend. Grr!!!!

Ute Pass History Park

The bulk of the day will be spent at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.  We will hike the main trail and see lots of great stuff and also get a break and find a section also open that is normally closed and get a nice history lesson of from a Ranger about the ongoing research being done at the dig site we got to go into.

Florissant Fossil Beds National MonumentFlorissant Fossil Beds National Monument

We will stop at the Pikes Peak Historical Society Museum we have often drove past to see what they might have to enjoy.  Besides lots of great information from various aspects of this region including Rock / Mineral displays that Lisa very much enjoyed I would also find a photo from Green Mountain Falls that shows the train at what I believe is the depot.  More research to be done to confirm but maybe the location is now found!

Pikes Peak Historical Society MuseumPikes Peak Historical Society Museum

In earlier trips we have also explored many of the old Mines open to the public in Victor around the Battle Mountain site but have yet to explore all the areas.  On this stop we will check out the old Mill Site.

Battle Mountain – Mill SiteBattle Mountain – Mill Site

As we travel this area we often pass by an old Midland Terminal Tunnel.  I have gotten shots of one portal on previous stops but never got a shot of both; until this trip!!!

Colorado Midland TunnelColorado Midland Tunnel

Time to get to the Country Lodge for the night to get checked in and have some dinner

 

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Nation Train Day – 2013

Nation Train Day – 2013

 
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Posted by on 05/11/2013 in Other

 

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Video – SkunkTrain 2000

 

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Video – B&O Museum 1999

 

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