Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"River of the Lost Souls"

Our visit to Silverton (CO) was all too brief; Engine 481 signaled the time for departure after only two hours. The beauty produced by the mountains surrounding the town was matched by the energy and friendliness of the townspeople.

It was difficult to leave.

Our seats on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Guage Railroad for the return trip to Durango presented us with many magnificent views of the Animas River. This was in contrast to the views of the mountains which the trip to Silverton featured.

This river, which is part of the Colorado River System, was named "Rio de las Animas Perdidas," "River of the Lost Souls."

The views of the river against the trees and mountains would have been sufficient to satisfy our photo-graphic interests, but when you add the rapids resulting from the spring runoff, the attraction of the river increased many times over.

During the latter part of the 1960s, the Durango-Silverton was registered as a National Historic Landmark and was awarded as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

Throughout the 1980s, under the ownership of Charles E. Bradshaw, Jr., the D&SNGRR continued to build on the scenic tourist railroad industry. Engines and coaches began to be weatherized for winter use; a third train to Silverton was added to the schedule; and major track reconstruction occurred as nearly ten thousand ties were replaced. Loco-motives #497 and #480 were restored and returned to service. In 1985 the D&SNGRR purchased the Silverton Depot, returning it to service.

Since 1998 the D&SNGRR has been owned and operated by American Heritage Railways.

The Upper Animas River serves as the course for a number of rafting companies. The river is billed as the most scenic and challenging river in the state of Colorado.

Depending on the route selected, rafters can experience Class III, IV, and V rapids on this river. Perhaps that is why the river has been called the "River of the Lost Souls."

These trips can vary between a couple of hours to a few days, but we did not see any rafts on the river on the day of our roundtrip.

This is one of the smaller streams that empty into the Animas.

As we neared Durango, the river dropped further into the canyon and further from the train.

On the outskirts of Durango, we had this view of this lake.

For stunning scenery the length of the trip, this train ride scores very high marks.

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