HLWT Day 7 – Cortez to the Rocky Mountains; Steam, Heights, Peaks and Turns

Okay, I’ll be honest. Today started badly. More than anything, it was a continuation of yesterday. However, it did get better. You’ll see.

The morning handed us quite a pretty sunrise over Cortez, Colorado, complete with bunnies and deer nomming on grass. Geese were honkin’ around too!

But soon we were on the road, passing strange Native American villages and everything!

Much of today was simply driving. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in Colorado, and we’ve both decided that, while nice, we like the desert better.

The mood lightened a bit when we saw some old friends from Pennsylvania in Durango. They were waiting to ride the excursion train. Smartz and I both believe that we saw Amish (or whatever) here the last time we went through (2008).

The station was open, but the steam locomotives were not yet out, so we sneaky snuck around the back get some pics. Not a lot of luck, but we happened to notice that you were not allowed to walk like an Egyptian to the trains. Good to know.

Mercifully short was the wait for the first train. Maybe someday I’ll get to ride it. It’s always sad for me to see an old steam train and not ride.

On our way to the next stop, we were greeted with more beautiful images to lift the mood even more.

What really did it, though, was Silverton, a little mining town that is now trying to make its living through tourism. It seems to be working and I hope it does.

For us, the biggest draw is their cemetery, complete with tombstones offering very specific epitaphs.

Sometimes shockingly specific.

It was also simply a lovely cemetery.

For MANY more of our photos at the Silverton Hillside Cemetery, go here!

Back on the road, our drive was a constant barrage of pretty.

The roads were twisted and fun, chucking a tunnel at us here and there.

In Ridgway, we got to see where the original True Grit was filmed (though this building wasn’t in the movie, as far as I can remember).

It’s also got a little railroad museum, including a bus converted to ride the rails called The Galloping Goose.

A line of restored rolling stock was also there for fun.

Shortly thereafter, we passed over the Continental Divide. For me, this was the first time since 2008.

Since we were so high up, we decided to drop in on the highest town in America!

Yes, it’s Leadville, Colorado, home of Burritos! Burritos! Burritos!

Another cool thing about being on this side of the divide – this is the very start of the Arkansas River! Here, it bubbles up from a spring before flowing 1,460 miles to the mighty Mississippi!

Several beautiful views…

And a train or two later…

We arrived at our overpriced campground – the YMCA of the Rockies! This place is mostly used as a summer camp/resort/convention center/who knows what else. And maybe our $45 will go to a good cause (I hope so), but it’s probably the crappiest place we’ve stayed so far on the trip (aside from a KOA).

At least we could eat a bit.

And do our laundry (while suspiciously eyeing something in the corner….)

To see many more pics, check out our Facebook gallery!

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2 responses to “HLWT Day 7 – Cortez to the Rocky Mountains; Steam, Heights, Peaks and Turns

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