There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label Durango. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Durango. Show all posts

20 April 2017

The Durango Railroad

Trains are my favorite way to see the world. You get the old world nostalgia seeing the steam rise from the locomotive. Walking past the connected cars as you look for the stairs that will lead you to your seat.

Hearing that final "All Aboard!" call as The Durango & Silverton narrow gauge railroad gets ready to leave the station.
The cars jostle rhythmically back and forth as we make our way up the mountains. Town fades into the distance, farms roll past my window, the ground starts to show the snow from winter.

I get lost in thought as the conductor tells stories of Durango's past.
Higher and higher we rise, and you can open the window to feel the cold slap your skin as you look down the at the sheer cliff's edge. We make hairpin turns as we carve through the mountainside. It's awe inspiring.
We come to the half way point and exit the train so that the engineer can maneuver the train in reverse to turn us around. As we walk in the snow along the river bank, you notice the greenish brown color of the water.

We learn it is from the mines that are still in the canyon, leeching out the toxic remains into the water. It's a sad reminder of the environmental cost of mining.
The train is finally ready for us to head on back. I take one last look at the mighty engine, it's robust machinery and strong back metal frame.
Train 473 is ready to ride the rails once again, bringing safe passage to it's occupants back to the city of Durango.

13 February 2017

Snowmobiling in the San Juans

As the train slows to a stop in the mountain town of Rockwood, I spot the white van in the sparsely filled parking lot. I exit and start to make my way towards a tall, lanky young gent.

"Are you the one that wants to snowmobile?"

"Oh yeah. Am I the only one?"

It turns out that I was the only one, but that didn't seem to bother him. He introduces himself as Dion as we head up the road to the top of the San Juan mountains.

He is easily twenty years my younger, but surprisingly the conversation flows without effort. This is his last snowmobile tour, as he is moving to Springdale, Utah, in two days to be a rock climbing guide.

He is trying to get his life together, a story I know all too well. We arrive at the trailhead, an elevation at a little over 11,000 feet. The skies are growing darker, and a light snow starts to fall. I tell him it's been about 20 years since I last rode a sled.

A quick refresher course and we are off, just the two of us. The scenery is truly epic.
We race up the mountain side, the snow coming down faster and harder the higher we go. Quickly our visibility goes to almost zero. Dion checks in with me to see if I want to brave it, and we keep climbing.

I feel so alive.

We come across another group, and after talking to them we finally decide to turn around. It's a total white out, and I'm not even sure where the trail is.

I just don't want to get stuck, or worse, dump the machine over.

We take a break on the edge, overlooking the valley below. Dion tells me about the summer he traveled to Patagonia, with stories of climbing and world adventure.

I smile and relay some stories of my own.
So I find a kindred spirit up in the mountains of San Juan as we cascade through the snow, fly up and down hills, weave in and out of trees, and just live in this moment.