For those who have never visited Durango, the train ride from Durango to Silverton is a huge draw and a big deal for tourists and locals. The train is an old-fashioned coal-burning steam engine train, and speed is not its forte; it takes over 3 hrs. to get to Silverton from Durango (vs. about an 85 min. drive).
This trip, however, also included members of the Southern and Mountain Ute tribes performing blessing ceremonies and dances, both on the lawn of the train depot before departure and at the Cascade Creek destination (about 1/2 way along the route to Silverton).
Since we are going to be heading to Taos early tomorrow morning for a 3-day, 2-night camping trip, I'll save the photos I took of the Ute members for another post when I have more time: it is worthy of a separate post.
In the meantime, here are some photos taken from the train trip itself. In an atypical circumstance, we were delayed about 1 1/2 hrs. not far outside of town. Apparently, the engine on the train that left before ours broke down, so they pulled the engine from ours and sent it up ahead. We waited while another engine came up from the depot in Durango. As one of the brakemen told us: "These are antique trains and sometimes the equipment breaks and needs to be repaired." Indeed.
I hope you enjoy these photos taken of the ride, and I'll batch out a couple of other posts if I have time to go up during my time away.
The Southern Ute tribal elder blessing the ride immediately before boarding. You'll see more of this gentleman in a later post
A view of the Animas River in its wide, meandering slow oxbow section through the Animas River Valley. The sky was incredibly hazy due to smoke from the huge fire in Alpine, AZ.
The train stopped for the engine exchange right in front of the glider airfield, and I managed to catch this one coming in for a landing from the train window
The train coming around the tracks next to the Animas river gorge. We were seated in the gondola car, allowing for these "hang out the window and shoot" types of photos.
For all my friends back east that are terrified of heights and exposure: the train crossing the narrow bridge a couple hundred feet above the Animas river.
Blowing off some steam at Tank Creek
Conductor of engine #478 taking a break at the Cascade Creek wye (rail junction) at our destination stop
Confluence of Cascade creek (l) and the Animas river from the footbridge about 1/4 of a mile from the train stop
A view looking down into the Animas River gorge on the way back. The river is at peak flow now, and rages through the narrow trough of the gorge. A ponderosa pine casts a shadow on the distal cliff wall
Close to the rocks!
Another view down into the gorge
Back in the Animas Valley and looking north. Some distal peaks of the Needles range still sport snow
One of the countless Animas river float trips with everyone waving to the train