While we were at Mesa Verde National Park, we drove there through Durango, CO. We had taken the Durango & Silverton Railroad twice before, most recently 29 years ago. Can it really have been that long ago?
It's still about the same. We took a day trip to Durango and caught the railroad and had a great time. The trip starts in Durango, a medium sized city in southern Colorado. The railroad goes up the valley and canyons to Silverton, which used to be a mining town. The railroad was built for carrying miners, their equipment, and the results of their labors as part of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. Now, it is a tourist thing, and a few people who live along the tracks and have no other way in or out also still take the train, along with some campers and backpackers.
The trip starts through the Animas River valley and gradually climbs to Rockwood where the serious climbing begins. Durango is at 6520 feet while Silverton is at 9300 feet, so the railroad did a lot of climbing. The scenery along the track is great. Since we went in late May, there was a lot of water running in the river and there were a number of pretty spectacular waterfalls along the way.
The railroad ends at Silverton, which has changed from a mining town to a tourist town. We caught the train at 8:40 am and made it to Silverton just after noon. We had plenty of time to gat lunch and check out the shops, then it was back on the train and down the track back to Durango.
When we told Justin that we had taken the trip, he immediately wanted to know if they still had fresh root beer on the train. Sadly, they didn't so we had to make do with coffee and other beverages. They serve hard beverages on the return trip as well as the usual soft drinks and snacks, but no fresh root beer.
We did get a great laminated Route Map so we could see where we were on the way up and back.
Retirement is great. We bought a travel trailer and are exploring National Parks. (Actually, we bought one and sold it and bought a second one better suited to us. It happens...) And I have time to do some woodworking projects and things around the house. And now I have gotten interested in ham radio so there goes any free time.