Spring 2014

Blue Ridge Mountains – Mount Pisgah (June 5 – 8)

Jon and I wanted to spend the last weekend at the National Park Service Mount Pisgah Campground off of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Mount PisgahCampground on the Blue Ridge Parkway

We had planned on taking I-40 all the way there.  Unfortunately, I-40 at the NC / TN border was closed for most of the day, so after looking over the map, we decided to go through the Smoky Mountain National Park via Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge, TN.  It was amazingly tacky.  It had all grown up quite a lot since the last time I went by this area.  The traffic was pretty horrible and unpredictable.

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We drove through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  It was really pretty and very full of traffic and cars.

It had been raining off and on today.

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We made it to the campground around 4 in the afternoon.  We drove around several times and found a nice campsite.

 

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We came out here in August for our first trip in the Mitsubishi Fuso.  We had a great time and wanted to spend a weekend here before heading home.  It was a great way to celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary. Once we settled in, we went out for a walk.  I fixed some wonderful smoked sausages for dinner.  We bought them when we were in Kansas.

Opa’s Smoked Sausages

The package only contained 4 of sausages, so cooked up all of them. They were so filling that Jon and I only finished off two of them.

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The next morning, we went out on the motorcycle and saw some pretty amazing views and several wild turkeys on the side of the road.  We visited the Folk Art Center and the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center.

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The Mountain Laurel, Rhododendron and Flame Azaleas were in bloom. They were just beautiful.

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We ate at the Pisgah Inn for dinner to celebrate our anniversary.  Jon and I both had the fresh mountain trout but prepared differently.  The food was fabulous as usual.

The next day, we went out for a vigorous hike.  We went down the Pilot Rock Trail.

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It was a very long climb down (1,800 ft) over a pretty short distance (3.6 mi).  We had been warned that the sign was incorrect.  We were passed by a couple of mountain bikers.  Once we reached the bottom, we ate a little lunch and then hiked back up.  We were passed by a lot of mountain bikers coming down the trail on our hike back up.  The climb up seemed a whole lot longer than I remembered going down.  We took a slight detour coming back for a little variety.  The views and flowers were really nice and it wasn’t too hot.

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It turned out to be a 9 plus mile hike with over 2000 ft elevation to climb.  I was pretty tired by the end.

We got cleaned up.  I fixed dinner and then we went to the Campfire Circle to attend the program about Bobcats.

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It was really well done and there was a good turn out (about 70 people).

Jon and I left the next morning after having breakfast at the Pisgah Inn.  Yes, I actually had oatmeal.  It was really fabulous.

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Unfortunately, the mountains were covered in clouds/fog and there wasn’t much of a view.

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We watched a poor cold chipmunk huttle for a while.

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Our drive home was uneventful thank goodness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heading Homeward – Southern Colorado to Tennessee

June 1 – 4

After our night at Picket Wire Canyonlands, we headed east.  With the temperatures and humidity levels rising, we decided to stay at campgrounds with electrical hookups so we could use the A/C to at least cool off the camper at night.

We stayed at a municipal lake campground at Lake Coldwater in Coldwater, Kansas on Sunday night.

Lake Coldwater in Coldwater, KS

The sites had electric and water hookups around the only lake in southwest Kansas that allowed water sports.  We reached our site for the night and found someone else in our spot.  Jon talked with the owner and it turned out that he had just parked in the wrong spot by accident.  Since we were only going to be there for the night, it didn’t really make any difference to us.  We just parked in his spot. You can see his camper in the background.

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We were set back from the lake by a row, but you can still see the lake.  We set out chairs to face the lake and just enjoyed the surroundings.

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It was amazingly quiet, especially since there were a lot of campers parked in the area.  There just weren’t any people in them.  We assumed that most people stayed parked here for the season; coming and going when they had time.  The campers that were occupied seemed to be of the type owned by transient workers.  There is a lot of petroleum work in the area.  They tended to come back to the trailers and disappeared inside.

After a rainy and windy night, we started off.  To save time, we decided to eat breakfast out.

During a brief time with an internet connection on our drive, I downloaded:

Kansas: An Explorer’s Guide

It recommended a couple of places in Coldwater for breakfast.  We headed to the Timber Wolf Inn.  Well, the restaurant was at the location, but it was now called the Blonde Grill.

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We were game.  The menu was very innovative and the food was great.

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Jon chose the Hot Pepper Bacon Waffle – One Crispy Corn Waffle with Bacon, Jalapenos & Cheddar Cheese.

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I chose the Huevos Divorcadas – Two crispy tortillas, meat, beans, 2 eggs, cheese, red sauce, green sauce & sour cream.

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They were both fabulous.  If you are ever in this part of Kansas, I would highly recommend stopping here.

The Blonde Grill

We stopped in the middle of nowhere KS for lunch.

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We made it to Joplin, Missouri on Monday.  We stayed at Zan’s Creekside RV Park which was right on Shoal Creek.  It was kind of a strange place.  To get to the campground required a number code to get through a gate behind a bar & grill.  But it was a nice spot. This was the view from our campsite.

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It was pretty close to a major road.  Fortunately, the noise quieted down after a short time.  On the other side of the creek was a public access area.  We walked down the creekside for a little way. We sat in our chairs and watched people drink, sunbathe and tube down the creek with small dogs in their own tube.  Here is a view of our campsite from the creek.

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You can kind of see our camper from here. There weren’t very many other people at the campground.  We had a quiet night.

We stopped at Bull Shoals Lake in Theodosia, MO for a brief lunch.  We’ve been eating cheese and sliced meats for lunch.

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We stayed at Lake Charles State Park near Pocahontas, Arkansas.

Lake Charles State Park

It was kind of a strange place.  We took a walk around the campground.  There was some kind of group camp for teenage girls.  I was glad that we weren’t sharing the bathrooms with them.  The park had a Yurt that you could rent in additional to two RVs. We had strange neighbors that came and went at all hours of the night.

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We drove into Tennessee the next day.  We saw someone doing tricks in a biplane during the drive.

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We stayed at Floating Mill Park on Center Hill Lake near Cookville, Tennessee.   It is part of an Army Corp of Engineer facility

Floating Mill Park Campgound

We needed a campground with a laundry this night. Plus, since we still weren’t used to the humidity yet, we also wanted one with electricity. This campground had both. We were able to get a spot with a great view of the lake.

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The camp had a washer & dryer at each bathroom facility. It meant that I had to hang out and wait for it to finish. I finished it off just in time to get back and enjoy the sunset.

 

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Off to NC tomorrow.

 

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Comanche National Grasslands – Picket Wire Dinosaur Tracksite

Saturday, May 31

The Comanche National Grasslands also includes an area called Picket Wire Canyonlands. Within this section lies a Dinosaur Tracksite. This part of the US was once under a very large sea and during one of the points where this particular area was along the coast of the sea. Dinosaurs that happened to walk in the sand left tracks in what became Dakota Sandstone.

To get to the Purgatoire River dinosaur tracksite, you can either hike or bike about 6 miles from the Withers Trailhead or go with a representative of the BLM to the site. Jon & I thought that it would make for a great 12 mile hike.

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Picket Wire Canyonlands Dinosaur Tracksite

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We got up fairly early and drove to the trailhead where we found a primitive campground. I was rather annoyed with this since everything I read said that you couldn’t camp there. There were several people occupying the sites, so I wasn’t too upset since Jon & I had Vogel Canyon all to ourselves. It was obvious that it had rained here during the night.

We packed up our stuff and hiked down 250 ft into the canyon. Since it had rained there, we could tell that only a couple of mountain bikes had gone down the trail this morning. Like a lot of this area, most of the hike is very exposed with very little shade. We had spent quite a bit of time at elevation where the temperatures are quite a bit lower than in the canyon. It felt really hot, especially down in the canyon.

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We passed by a number of old ruins.

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After a while, we came across two mountain bikes left in the trail. There was a distinct trail going up the side of the canyon wall. We caught a glimpse of the biker heading back down. Jon asked if I wanted to follow the trail. I suggested that we wait until we were heading back to decide.

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We also came to a copy of a shoulder blade of a Sauropod. It was about 8 feet long. The original had been found at this site.

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We finally reached the dinosaur tracksite.  There were a number of dinosaur tracks on this side of the river, but the vast majority were on the other side of the river. Since it had rained, the water was fast moving and cloudy.

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Jon and I stripped off our shoes and carefully crossed in the area mentioned on the map. Once again, it was helpful that I took a picture of the signage. It was also very helpful that Jon had brought his hiking poles. I’m pretty sure I would have slipped at some point if I had not been using one to cross the river.

There were lots of tracks. It was just amazing seeing not just the footprints of the dinosaurs, but the continued tracks.

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The tracks included ones left by Sauropods, Ornithopods and Theropods. I could definitely see the tracks, but with mud or water filling several of them, it was not always obvious which kind of dinosaur left a specific footprint. It was pretty amazing to walk among them.

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It was warm and I was ready to head back. As we were heading back to cross the river again, we saw a few people come down the trail to the tracksite. Then there were more people and a ranger. Some of them were carrying coolers or chairs. It was obvious that they had not walked the 6 miles to reach this point. I remembered that it was Saturday, so it made sense that a guided tour was going on.

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I was hot and tired already, so we headed back. I had brought 3 liters of water and a few snacks with me, but I was already running low on water. I also didn’t start taking any salt tablets until we were well into our hike. As we were walking back, I was just focused on getting back so that I could drink lots of water and cool off.

Jon wanted to check out a couple more ruins. I just kept walking for the ones close to the trail. Then Jon wanted to follow the trail up to the canyon wall. I wasn’t excited about doing it, but followed after him. Jon stopped at a shady place and had sat down to wait for me. I was impatient to get back to the trail since I was already hot and tired and running low on water. Jon convinced me to sit down and take off some of my sun protective clothing. At this point, I think I was down to about 3/4 of a liter of water. Jon was very concerned that I wasn’t cooling off and had so little water left. After sharing some of his water and getting me to settle down, he left to find more water or assistance for me.

So I sat and tried to rehydrate. I took off my shoes and socks to let my feet cool off. I looked at the scenery and waited. I thought that we had climbed about 2/3rds the way up the canyon wall.

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After a while, I heard Jon coming back. He comes around the corner of the rock carrying a red Solo cup full of ice and water. It was almost like a mirage. I couldn’t believe that he had found ice water by climbing up the canyon and then carried it back down to me. Very amazing.

After drinking the water, chewing on the ice and wrapping some ice in a bandana to put around my neck, I followed Jon up the rest if the canyon wall. I had just assumed that the rest of the climb was about like what we had already done. It wasn’t that easy. There were a couple of steep bits. After doing that, I was even more amazed that Jon had brought me a cup of water.

There was a couple in an RV camped up on top of the canyon. They were glad to refilled a couple of my water bottles. We sat and talked for a little while, but I was still very hot and tired, so we headed out. Rather than climb all the way back down the canyon just to climb back up later, Jon used some of his orienteering skills and the Garmin watch to get us back to the Fuso.

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I wasn’t good for much by the time we got back. Jon put me in the cab of the truck and turned on the A/C. He then went back to the camper and brought me some cold water. He cranked up the generator and turned on the A/C in the camper, too.

Neither one of us was all that keen on camping at the campground, so we left the protected part of the area to do some dispersed camping. We found a great campsite with a great view near the canyon.

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I showered and took a nap. We had a nice grilled dinner and quiet night.

We were heading east the next day to make the push homeward.


 

Moral of this story
1) Not all days are the same, so you have to prepare for the day and conditions that you have.

– I was overconfident after our 20 mile hike the previous weekend. I had prepared snacks and water and had been taking salt tablets during the Keet Seel hike where the weather conditions were as close to perfect as possible.

– During this hike, I didn’t start taking salt tablets until it was too late. I also didn’t prepare for the heat adequately. Jon and I had been fortunate to avoid the worst of the heat until this weekend. It meant that our bodies weren’t conditioned to it yet. I needed to make allowances for that.

2) When you are suffering from heat exhaustion, you may not be thinking clearly.

– I was definitely not making the best choices in the situation. I really should have let Jon know what was going on before I got to that point.

 

Thank goodness my husband is very resourceful and was able to get us back to the vehicle safely.

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Comanche National Grasslands – Vogel Canyon

Friday, May 30

We drove from Chama, NM to Southern Colorado. We passed through the San Luis valley and up into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. A big thunderstorm was brewing. We received a little rain, but it was over quickly. Once through the mountains, we pulled off the road for a little lunch. This was our lunch spot. We watched the storm clouds move around the mountains.

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On our way through this general area, we had stopped at a Colorado Welcome Center and picked up information about the natural areas and parks in the Eastern part of Colorado.

I picked up a brochure for Vogel Canyon and the Picket Wire Canyonlands Dinosaur Tracksite, two areas in the Comanche National Grassland.

Vogel Canyon Hiking Guide

Picket Wire Canyonlands Hiking Guide

They both sounded really great. The Picket Wire Canyonlands area didn’t allow camping, so we planned on camping in the parking area at Vogel Canyon. We made sure that we had plenty of time to go on a hike.

Vogel Canyon was really nice and appeared to be almost completely unvisited.  There were really nice covered picnic tables.  We saw quite a few sunflowers in bloom.

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We set up the camper in the only flat-ish area we could find.

The skies had continued to be very storm laden.  It was a good possibility that we were going to be rained on at some point.

The Explorer’s Guide to Colorado recommended the  Canyon Trail because of the petroglyphs, the canyon and ruins.

Explorer’s Guide to Colorado

Jon and I decided to make a loop down the Canyon trail to the Prairie Trail to the Mesa Trail and finishing up via the Overlook Trail.

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We started with the Canyon Trail figuring that the sooner we climbed out of the canyon the better considering the weather.  The trail was really well marked in some areas, but at other points, it was difficult to tell exactly which path was the trail.The canyon was very attractive and somewhat unexpected.  When we started on the trail, it just all looked like primarily flat prairie.  Then you start dipping down a little and then before you know it, you are in a small canyon.  I became less concerned about flash flooding.  The canyon walls would be pretty easy to climb up to higher ground if necessary.

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There were cliff swallow nests on some of the canyon walls.
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We did find the petroglyphs and associated signs.  Unfortunately, the petroglyphs were difficult to see due to the damage caused by more recent graffiti.  It was very disappointing.

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We proceeded to get lost due to the lack of markers, but it isn’t a very big park, so we found our way back of the trail pretty easily.  There were some very interesting rocks.

 

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We found several ruins of buildings.  This area was part of the early western expansion and affected by the dust bowl.

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When we were almost back to the parking area, we saw a small group of guys hanging out at a picnic table. One of them was trying to climb through the barbed wire fence carrying a stick.  It was a very strange sight considering there were two gates in the fence not more than about 5 feet in both directions.  The other guys offered us beers.  We talked to them for a little while and decided that at least two of the four were very much under the influence of beer and possibly more.  But they seemed rather harmless.  They left after about an hour.  So we had the park to ourselves for the rest of the night.
The clouds looked even more ominous now and we started to see a few sprinkles.  We cleaned up and I started dinner.  It was too windy for the grill tonight.  I did take a short break to come out and take photos of our campsite.  I was really lucky.  At that moment, the sun came out just enough to light up the camper.

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It never did rain more than a fraction of an inch.

Tomorrow we are off to Picket Wire Canyonlands to hike out to see the Dinosaur Tracksite.

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Cumbres & Toltec Railroad – Scenery Photos – Part 2

Continued from Part 1

Lunch

We stopped in Osier, CO for lunch. There isn’t much to Osier. It was a toll station on the road between Conejos and Chama. The lunch is included in the price of the ride. It was buffet style with a choice or turkey, meatloaf or soup & salad. It was tasty. 

After Osier, we passed through Toltec Gorge. 

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Through the Rock Tunnel. Sorry that I didn’t get a photo from the front.

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Wonderful views of mountains. 

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Through the Mud Tunnel. It requires wooden supports throughout. 

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We did have some rain, but it didn’t last long. It did send everyone back into the covered cars. 

The last part of the route goes through Piñon Pine & Juniper forests followed by high mountain desert with sagebrush. We saw several pronghorn and an elk.

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The Lava Tank, a no longer used water tank.

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We also saw volcanic mounds at a distance. 

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We ended the train journey at Antonito, CO. 

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Followed by a bus ride back to Chama, NM. Most people were pretty exhausted at that point, so the bus was very quiet.

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Cumbres & Toltec Railway – Train Photos

The Cumbres & Toltec Railroad is a narrow gauge, coal burning steam train. The engine on our train (#489) was built in 1925 and has been lovingly restored. 

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Jon & I have had a great time riding on the steam trains. One hazard is that because it uses coal, there are quite a lot of cinders in the air. We were warned to wear something to protect our eyes and so we did. 

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The other major hazard is fire from the cinders falling onto the track or nearby brush. In Colorado, that is a big problem due to the very dry conditions. 

The trains are followed by ‘speeders’, very small vehicles that run on the track carrying water & shovels to put out fires.  It is kind of odd to look back down the track and see what looks like a secret chase vehicle. 

The trains are also followed on the roads by a water tank truck just in case. We passed by it on one of the intersections.

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The Cumbres & Toltec Railway runs 2 trains a day. One of the goes from Chama, NM to Antonito, CO and other one does the reverse. Both trains meet at Osier, CO for lunch.

This is the other locomotive. It is running the route in reverse (#484).

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We were able to see it from our train when we pulled out after lunch.

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Both engines are K-36 type steam locomotive. They have a 2-8-2 wheel arrangement. It means that they have 2 pilot wheels, 8 driving wheels and 2 trailing wheels.

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Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad – Intro & People Photos

I’ve divided this post up into several parts to make for easier loading. I wanted to post quite a few photos. The new WordPress app seems to really slow down when posting photos.

Thursday, May 29

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
Narrow Gauge Coal-fired Steam Train

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

We walked over to the railway from our campground in the morning. We picked up out tickets and wandered around the train yard for a while.  The people involved with the railway were very friendly and welcoming. They seemed genuinely happy that we were there. 

The train travels from Chama, NM to Antonito, CO with a stop in Osier, CO for lunch. We had tickets for the Deluxe Tourist train car which provided us with a reserved table & chairs, snacks and a hostess.

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Our train car was directly behind the open-topped observation car.  We are standing in the Observation car in the photo below.

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We were welcome to walk around the train in all of the cars except for the Parlor car at the back. In the Observation car, a docent provided warnings of upcoming features, explanations of how things work, and generally someone to answer questions.

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We spent most of our time here. I imagine that it gets pretty crowded in the summer, but it was fine during our trip.

It was great meeting up with Jim Todd and Carole Guilfoyle in the Observation car.

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Chama, NM – May 28 (Pre-Cumbres & Toltec Railroad)

We drove from Durango heading generally east along the southern edge of Colorado. We stopped at Pagosa Springs to look at their natural hot springs. 

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We dipped down into northern New Mexico. We crossed over the continental divide.

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We stopped in Chama, NM at the Visitor Information center. They had restrooms, wifi and a convenient place for lunch.  It turns out that Chama also has a narrow gauge steam railroad. We decided to visit the train station. We were invited to walk around the train yard and were generally made to feel very welcome. After buying tickets to take the Cumbres & Toltec Narrow Gauge Railway in the morning. 

Cumbres and Toltec Narrow Gauge Railroad

We stayed at the Rio Chama RV Park which was only about a half mile from the train station. A number of the volunteers at the train stayed there and the campground was rough next to the railroad tracks and a nice river. There were lots of really great trees giving it a park-like atmosphere.

Rio Chama RV Park

The train came by the campground around 4:15. We hustled over to see it cross over the bridge. I didn’t have a chance to grab my camera, but it was very cool. We stood right on the embankment and felt the train shake the ground. 

Another couple had come over to watch the train also. We had met briefly at the train station.  While talking to them, it turns out Jim Todd & Carole Guilfoyle used to own Irish Wolfhounds and knew a lot of the same people that we did. It is a mighty small world. They were also taking the train tomorrow. 

Jon & I just hung out the rest of the day.  I watched Lewis woodpeckers and Ruby-throated hummingbirds. We had an early dinner and had a small campfire. We had planned in having a campfire for quite a while, but most places we stayed had a fire ban or it was too cold and/or windy. So we enjoyed sitting outside by the fire.

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Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Rail Road – May 27

May 26 – Jon & I drove to Durango from Navajo National Monument. We found a great campground, Lightner Creek Campground to the west of town.

Lightner Creek Campground

We needed a campground with all the bells and whistles after spending the last several nights without any services. After getting settled in, I worked on laundry and Jon checked on the truck.

Once done, we took the motorcycle out to Durango. We had purchased tickets for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Rail Road (D&SNGRR) on May 27.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

So we watched the train come in, picked up our tickets, figured out where to park, etc. We spent quite a bit of time walking around Durango checking out the sights. It is a very nice downtown area with lots of restaurants and shops.

We stopped at the Visitor Center to find out a little more about the area before heading back to our campsite.

We had to get an early start to be there in time for the train. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad was completed in 1882. Its primary purpose was to haul silver & gold ore to Durango.

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We had tickets for the Silver Vista car. It is an car with open windows and a glass top.

Here are details about the Silver Vista car.

Silver Vista Car – D&SNGRR

They were cleaning the glass on the top of the car when we arrived.

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Our train car attendant, Bob, is passionate about the train and provided us with snacks, drinks and lots of information. He was very useful at pointing out really great views to photograph.

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The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad was completed in 1882. Its primary purpose was to haul silver & gold ore to Durango. The scenic narrow gauge steam trail follows a 45-mile route that runs along the Animas River which has some pretty dramatic views of the river gorge. The first several miles are through the outskirts of Durango which is not particularly exciting. It did give us a chance to settle in and we saw 3 mule deer eating breakfast by the side of the river.

The rest of the ride is picturesque. Lots of mountains, cliffs, rapids, and small waterfalls.

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The river was running really high due to rain and snow melt.

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Silverton is a tourist town that caters to the train visitors. Unfortunately, the town has not been doing a thriving business and there are a lot of empty storefronts. Plus, the season hadn’t quite started when we were there and a number of businesses weren’t open yet.

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We ate at Grumpy’s. It had the expected sort of 1880’s saloon with a live person playing upright piano. The menu was also the predictable bar food. The food was pretty good considering. They did a great job of moving people through.

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We wandered around town for a while. Talked with several shop owners. We found out that Grumpy’s had one of the cleaner kitchens in Silverton.

We wandered down to the riverside and followed a little trail there. We stopped at the train station & toured the museum there. I talked with the dispatcher and petted her boxer puppy.

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We caught the train and headed back to Durango. Our trip back was uneventful except for a large number of college students from Lee College in Cleveland, TN on a field trip. We did see a marmot on the way back.

We ate dinner at Francisco’s Restaurante y Cantina in downtown Durango. The food was very good. I had a great margarita.

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We rode back to the campsite very tired.

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Navajo National Monument & Keet Seel (Part 2)

We left a couple of liters of water at the bottom of the cliff. Max had recommended leaving water at the bottom of the climb so we didn’t have to carry it the entire way and back.  It sounded like a good idea to us. 

The next six miles was a matter of hiking up the correct canyon making frequent stream crossings. 

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The canyon gave us lots of views of interesting sandstone formations. 

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We had to go around a few small waterfalls. 

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There were almost constant signs of cows and horses, but we didn’t actually see any on our hike to Keet Seel. The only footprints were from the earlier day hikers. 

After about 9 miles, we reached Keet Seel.  It took us about 4.5 hours. 

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The ranger was out giving a tour to the  day hikers that left before us. So we sat down on the benches & snacked.  Our first view of Keet Seel made it look a bit like a miniature structure. 

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Steve, the ranger, finished up the tour for the other two people and greeted us. He looked a little hungry and he wasn’t likely to get a chance for lunch later, so Jon suggested that he take a break for lunch. 

So we hung out with Steve in his cabin. Steve is an NPS volunteer. His father & grandfather had both worked on the archeological study of the site. It is hard to imagine someone more qualified to take us on a tour.

After lunch, we climbed the very tall ladder up to Keet Seel. It was certainly worth the hike. Steve was great. We learned a lot about both the native culture at the time, the geology of this particular area and,of course, an understanding of Keet Seel and the valley. The canyon we walked up used to be a relatively flat fertile valley where they farmed. At some point, the valley started to erode away into the canyon making the site no longer a viable for a community.

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At one point, the people built a retaining wall which increased growth of the community.

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When we finished our tour, there were 6 overnight hikers waiting for their turn. We headed back. The walk back was uneventful except for seeing 3 wild horses. 

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I was very glad that I brought a little more water than recommended (1 gallon per person). We had been very fortunate with the weather.  It had rained the day before, but not on the day of our hike. There was a 50% chance of rain and it was cloudy most of the day. That was great, because the stretch down the canyon is very exposed. The clouds kept down the heat and the direct sun. 

We stopped to rest at the bottom of the big climb up. We snacked a little & retrieved our water. I was really surprised how easy it was climbing out. I think that our time at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (altitude: 8500 ft) really helped. On the two miles of walking up the road to get back, we caught up with the women that were before us at Keet Seel. When looking at my Garmin, it turned out that we did the return trip faster that our trip down (4 hr 15 min). 

We walked back to our campsite and had a very relaxing, low key evening.

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Categories: Spring 2014 | Leave a comment

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