The Silverton Train

Silverton TrainFor our 40th wedding anniversary gift to each other, Bonnie and I rode the Silverton train today. The 9:00 a.m. train left about 9:30 a.m., but as a song says, ‘We had tickets to ride the train from yesterday, and it left on time!’ We had reserved seats on an open car with padded bench seats facing to the side, and it was the last car on the train. Most of the better pictures we snapped (and between the two of us we took 456 pics) were obtained on the three-hour ride from Durango, CO to Silverton, CO – because it rained on us for three hours on the return trip (remember, we were in a car without windows – a gondola with a roof).

Silverton TrainDurango is at about 6,000 feet, and 45 miles or so away, Silverton is at about 12,000 feet. Durango was cool with overcast skies, but Silverton was noticeably cooler. (We even spied snow on peaks hovering over the little valley occupied by the town of Silverton.) The rainy, return trip was beyond cool; it was cold!

Water TankSilverton was not as I had imagined. For the most part, it appears to be mostly a summertime town – becoming nearly a ghost town itself in the winter. That probably explains why the streets except for the highway passing through Silverton were muddy gravel lanes. Many of the buildings were old frame buildings, many needing repair.

Colorado RockiesOur return trip was initially delayed due to a broken part of some sort on the engine. After ten minutes of welding, we were off. The engine had struggled uphill all the way from Durango, but from Silverton back to Durango was all downhill. The key to the first half of the trip going to Silverton was to go fast enough to successfully negotiate the steady upward grade, whereas the key to second half of the trip back to Durango was to go slowly enough not to either jump the track or rock into natural stone walls.

Colorado RockiesBack in Durango, wet, cold, tired and sooty, we went directly to our hotel. We buffeted for supper on crackers and cheese in our room after cleaning up from the day’s outing. I have desired for years to ride the Silverton train, and I never thought that it would ever happen. Happen it did, and what made it all the better was that my best friend, my wife, my dear Bonnie and I made the journey together. A longtime ago we began a journey throughout this life together – a journey that also has become a pilgrimage of Christian service in search of a city whose builder and maker is God.

Colorado Rockies

Colorado Rockies

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