Friday, October 19, 2007

Colorado Rockies from a Train

Bonnie, Brandy and I spent last weekend in some of the most beautiful country I know. And relatively speaking, it’s in my back yard. I know some who visit these pages have never been “out west.” There’s no shame in that, but it’s a shame nonetheless.

Brandy turned 21 a month or so ago. One of the treats we conspired to make hers to savor was a ride in the “Parlor Car” of the Durango & Silverton Railroad in Southern Colorado. Bonnie and I spent a wonderful day in early January two years ago riding in this car pulled along as the caboose of an old train. This train rides the narrow rails laid down a century and a half ago through rough mountain country. The railroad itself was first laid in 9 months – right through the winter. The laborers lived in box cars. Or – and I’m not kidding – in caves.

Tracks have been ruined in floods in the intervening years. Between storms and fires and land ownership disputes, this quaint railroad has persevered. It is of course now protected by the Federal Government as a national treasure.

Look at these pictures. It really is a ride to be treasured. My stomach started that Saturday morning a week ago a little weak; I could have slept in a couple more hours. But I rode the rails where you need the legs of an old sailor to remain standing (and the stomach of a cast iron stove to remain sitting). The wheels on the tracks don’t clack … clack …clack. If they make any noise it’s a discomfiting crash and jangle, and you wonder what’s going to fall off the train. But the wheels do present the riders of these rails with a cadence nonetheless. This somnolent rhythm is like nothing so much as that of a small boat forever destined to ride the wake of a larger vessel. Back. Forth. Back. Forth.

Brandy loved the train ride. Either that or she’s a better negotiator than I give her credit for. No, I think she really liked our attention to the detail of her experience on this one. Despite urpy stomachs and an obscenely expensive dinner in Durango later that evening, this was an absolutely wonderful weekend. I love so much spending time with my wonderful daughter. Her powers of observation – now that they’ve matured beyond “whatever … ,” are really pleasant to observe.

John and Sandy – this is where you ought to go when you get here ahead of Thanksgiving this year.


Dostoy said...

WOW! What stunning scenery!

I'm assuming Brandy took the photos... Am I right?

Yar said...

Actually dostoy, these were my photos. I'm really happy with them. To be honest, Brandy has taught me a lot. Besides that, as you can see, the incredible scenery presented pretty much a no-brainer photo session.