Georgie Lake

Georgie Lake
Georgie Lake, Vancouver Island

8.20.2016

Durango to Silverton Narrow Guage

The 45 mile railroad from Durango to Silverton is one of a few remaining remnants of narrow gauge track that once hauled livestock, freight, and most importantly ore through out Colorado in the 1800s. In 1882 William Jackson Palmer with great difficulty extended his Denver and Rio Grande railroad to Silverton. The thin air prevented smelting the ore on site, so it was hauled 3000 feet down the mountain to Durango where the silver and gold could be extracted.


Three foot wide narrow gauge is cheaper to build and can make sharper turns than 4 foot 8 inch wide standard gauge. If the road bed cut into the cliffs had been wide enough for standard gauge, it would have tripled construction costs.  


Don't look down


We chose a car that offered historical narration. Kathy, in the persona of Palmer's daughter Dorothy, presented a very knowable and entertaining account of Palmer family history and the building of railroads narrow gauge railroads in Colorado during our 3.5 hour ride up to Silverton




Commercial use of the this route ended in 1968. These cars were left behind




We did not stop at the restored depot outside Silverton. Thankfully the train continues another mile right up to the edge of town.


Current location 37.400874, -107.535779

8.16.2016

Black Canyon, Bottom to Top

We first took the Morrow Point Boat Tour of the Black Canyon's upper region. To reach the boat berthed deep in the canyon you descend 232 steps, remembering with each step that you will have to climb back up ....


.... then you stroll three quarters of a mile along the old narrow gauge railroad bed to the boat. From 1882 to 1949 the Rio Grande Railroad carried freight and passengers through the Black Canyon.



Adolescent Bald Eagle


Curecanti Needle

















Sara shared her extensive know of the canyons
geology, flora, and fauna

A few days later I saw Black Canyon from the south rim.



Looking down 2700 feet from Pulpit Rock

Devils Lookout

The ancient sea bed was subjected to extreme pressure and heat 5 miles deep in the curst. This metamorphic Schist and Gneiss later fractured and magma squeezed up from below to fill the cracks. These pink pegmatite dikes are harder than the surrounding black metamorphic rock

Painted Wall View

What a canyon!!







8.12.2016

Curecanti Creek

We did a three mile hike down into the 900 foot deep Curecanti Creek canyon. Curecanti Creek flows into the Gunninson River which started carving the Black Canyon 3 million years ago. It was a wonderful hike through a pine forest down to a cool rushing creek.

Gunnison River

Curecanti Creek is down at the bottom

Christie and Arleen heading down

Beautiful day for a hike

The Gunnison River as well as the side canyons like  Curecanti Creek have carved down through 500 million year old rock. Back in the Precambrian period this area was covered by an ocean. The ocean dried up and its sedimentary deposits were covered by another 5 miles of material. At this depth the extreme heat and pressure changed the sedimentary rock into metamorphic gneiss and schist. Over the last 3 million years this area has been up lifted and the 5 miles of overburden eroded away to reveal the Black Canyon of today

Metamorphic gneiss and schist

Remember, what you walk down
you have to hike up.

Finally a beautiful cool stream


Current location  38.468737  -107.173161


8.05.2016

Fun in the Sun

We had great weather for a moderate 2.3 mile hike.





We went The Adventure Company in Buena Vista, Co for a moderate class 3-4 run on the Arkansas River. We chose the all day trip through Brown's Canyon that included lunch. Lunch was scrumptious, green salad, chicken fajitas, and brownies. Everyone had a great time. 







After a day of hiking and another of rafting we retreated to the Mount Princeton Hot Springs for a muscle soothing soak in their 105 and 95 degree pools. 

Life is good.
Current location  38.694342  -106.142510




7.30.2016

Over Independence Pass to Aspen

There are not one, not two, but several very large signs telling you not to drive a rig over 35 feet on this road. That being said, we were very shaken when we met a semi truck coming around a corner a foot or two into our lane.


It is an absolutely beautiful drive


 This section is called the narrows. Even today it is not a full two lanes wide. I am very thankful we did not meet that semi truck here. 


The Narrows of yesteryear.

One of the most beautiful and peaceful places in Aspen is the John Denver Sanctuary. Rock paths wander through colorful flowers and bubbling streams. John's songs and other inspirational message are carved into the granite boulders











In downtown Aspen shops and restaurants border tree shaded pedestrian only streets. It is very lovely and screams MONEY







Current location  38.694342  -106.142510