Wednesday, June 01, 2011

NQR - Vacation: Durango-Silverton Narrow Guage Railroad

Over the long weekend, we took a spur-of-the-moment jaunt. For years, we've talked about finding a Narrow Guage train ride. The result of our Internet search was the Durango (Colorado)-Silverton narrow-guage railway, starting about 10 hours from home, in the southwest corner of Colorado. Our trip expanded to include a package (there are MANY optional packages) but this post is only about this portion of our trip. There is nothing 'quilt-y' about our trip -- just a really nice RR ride.

This is the view behind our motel - right next to the Animas River, where we spent time simply sitting and enjoying ourselves. That lovely walking/biking walkway you see, went on for miles. Kayakers and rafters, including dogs wearing life jackets who were joining their humans, were taking advantage of the swift river. Because this trip co-incided with the "Strong Man" bicycle trip, there was also a LOT of Spandex and buns of steel on that walkway!

This is the car (named "Alamosa Parlor Car") we were scheduled to board. We chose to ride the last car of the train, wanting to see the engine ahead during the winding trip. This car also included "Dave", a guide/waiter/attendant/barkeeper - he was a retired schoolteacher -- an unexpected bonus on this ride. I particularly enjoyed the morning's Rusty Spike, and the complementary cinnamon buns.



Above is one of numerous views of the Animas river, moving swiftly due to massive snow runoff.

Below is one of the views of the engine. The track curved so sharply, we could see it often, one of the benefits of our car. Of course, many of the mountain views were just plain spectacular!

Below -- can you see the guy in the red jacket in the tree? One of the options of this trip was taking advantage of numerous zip lines. That sounded pretty fun to me, but the activity was more geared to the macho/younger men. This guy did some acrobatics before he came to a stop in the tree. The zip line went from mountain to tree to mountain to tree. I think they had to "unhook" and then "rehook" along the way. The photo op went by too quickly.

Below is the inside of our car. We were free to change seats if space was available. And of course, that bar helped to calm nerves, when there appeared to be nothing holding up the train tracks.
I mentioned earlier that the "Strong Man" bicycle event was also in town. That crowd of bikes left Durango for Silverton 15 minutes before our train left Durango, a 54 mile trip, and when we were almost in Silverton, we looked waaaay up on the ledges/highway above us, and could see dots of bicycles coasting downhill, into the town.

When we got off the train and walked near the finish line, we saw one guy who "pedaled" his specially-made bike with his arms, as his legs didn't work. What a loud uproar there was when HE crossed the Finish Line. I still get goosebumps thinking of his determination.

And below is the front of the train, disappearing around the curve. One option of the trip was to take a bus back down the mountain, but we chose to ride both ways. Our guide "Dave" taught us about narrow guage railroads, mining, American history. Wildlife included deer, elk, and 2 bears/bares. The second "bare" was some guy who mooned us! LOL

We both felt this was an economical and educational trip for families. Each RR car was a slightly different fee, depending on it's purpose. We visited the RR Museum (no entry fee), a wealth of information. I believe our cost for the day was $169.00, although we paid extra for special drinks. "Regular" drinks and cinnamon bun were complimentary on our car. We purchased a simple lunch in Silverton, now, a small tourist town.
Above is a final view of the engine disappearing around the bend. This was an exceptionally pleasant, relaxing trip.

Our "leg" tomorrow will be Mesa Verde cliff dwellings, with a private archeologist leading our way.

15 comments:

Saska said...

I want to go there SOOOOO bad! Enjoy your trip.

ytsmom said...

We rode the DSNG in the fall. It was spectacular; the color was fabulous.

sewprimitive karen said...

Wow! What a trip and what scenery!

Gari said...

I'm saving your post to share with DH, a train buff. We have ridden trains at the Grand Canyon and up a mountain in Maryland. DH has looked at the CO trains and this will probably spur a trip. Thanks.

Nancy said...

Sounds like a great adventure. Thanks for the photos.

paula, the quilter said...

How fun! I was wondering why you were so silent.

Sherrill said...

That is TOO funny--we're headed up there over the July 4 weekend. We've ridden the train MANY times (lived in Pagosa) but family's going that haven't been. AND we're doing a MILD raft trip then enjoying the small town Fourth festivities before heading home. That train is AWESOME but we love riding the open cars.

Chell said...

What a beautiful, peaceful trip!! The pictures make me want to visit this area!!

Linda said...

My husband and I took the Durango to Silverton train several years ago and really enjoyed the trip and a wonderful meal in Silverton. On the trip back to Durango we were passing some boaters who had been enjoying the day on the river. One of them "mooned" the train. Luckily there were no children on the train that day. The adults had a good laugh and gave the young man an ovation.

Loretta said...

Elaine, it was so nice revisiting this train ride through your pictures. Our pictures are similar, but ours are faded. My father took my brothers and me on an extended vacation in June, 1965, and it included a ride on this train. We were 12, 11 and 9, and my brother was saying last week that he would like to ride the train again. Thank you for sharing.

Mama Spark said...

JEALOUS!! When we were there the risk of fire was so high we could not take the train trip. Someday we will do this. My DH would LOVE to take this trip.

Purple Pam said...

Wow, what a great trip. All your pictures are so clear I feel like I am right there along with you.

Bonnie said...

You'd make a great advertisement for this train ride. so, where are pictures of the spandex... that's at least fabric. Made me laugh. And, to think of my son the biker in a whole different light! Thanks for sharing

Beth said...

We did both of those trips when our older kids were...well ...YOUNGER! I think I liked the Mesa Verde trip a bit better, even tho I huffed and puffed a bit. The kids were facinated! I panicked when a deer walked thru our camp site one night. My husband got a kick out of that!

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