Thursday, October 04, 2012

Durango & Silverton Train.

Just about the best way to access trail heads into the back country of the Weminuche Wilderness is to use the Durango & Silverton train. The train will drop you off on a scheduled day and pick you up another scheduled day. In our case we hiked a horseshoe-shaped route in which we were dropped off at a northerly trail and picked up later at a southern trail terminus.

Here, then, are photos and video I took of the Durango & Silverton train ride.

Andy Kunkle carrying his pack to the station.

The station.

Overhead racks.

The little details: Kerosene lamps.

Looking back!

Old cars going to ruin.

The car that took us in was much more comfortable than the one that picked us up.

Taking on water for the boilers.

They dump us off at Elk Creek.
Train prepares to leave.

The train leaves us at the trailhead.

After eight days we cross the footbridge to the Needleton trail head where the train will pick us up.
We picked Bob Johnson to signal the train to stop for us. Andy and I took photos and pictures.

When they picked us up, the conductor politely suggested to us that we might want to ride in the open air car! We had been eight days without a bath wearing pretty much the same filthy clothes. You can imagine his concern for our fellow passengers.

I have no doubt he could smell us across the aisle.
You want soap and water? We got soap and water.
I took this photo blind by holding the camera behind my back. Priceless. This is Bob Johnson, one of the trio that included me and Andy Kunkle. We stank. We had bought and consumed alcoholic beverages from the concession car. We were foul-smelling and laughing and loud. As you can see, the entire group of passengers had moved to the other side of the car. One guy even has his head out the window (apparently for fresh air, or maybe to vomit). Much hilarity, indeed. (For what it's worth, this trip convinced me that if there was a zombie apocalypse, the human race would not survive.)
We arrive back in Durango. The other passengers seemed somehow eager to exit the train.

We say goodbye to the engine.


Kent Tankersley said...

How cool is that. Can't be many places in the States where you can take a train to your trailhead. Sounds like you guys gave your fellow passengers something to tell the folks back home about. BTW, I have a serious trainspotter friend here who would really get a kick out of the train ride itself.

HemlockMan said...

It's the best way to gain access to the interior of the wilderness.

The Durango & Silverton is the best coal-fired steam engine train I've ridden, and Carole and I have ridden a number of them. Second best would be The Salamander in West Virgnia.

dogboy443 said...

What an amazing trip! Great picks and a very writerly account of events.

HemlockMan said...

It was a great trip! I'm going to take Carole there just for the train ride from Durango to Silverton and back. Lots of fun!