After boarding a van in Durango, we headed to Silverton, elevation 9,500 feet, 75 minutes away by automobile. On the way we rode through Animas River Valley and then over Coal Bank and Molas Passes, each just under 11,000 feet.
|Approaching Silverton from high in the mountains|
Ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, aspen, and small oaks dotted the countryside along with fields of blooming white, yellow, red, and purple flowers. Our guide pointed out North Twilight Peak, so named because at over 13,000 feet elevation it gets the last sunlight of each day.
|Homestyle cooking is a favorite at the Bent Elbow Restaurant.|
|Wide, dirt roads are the norm in Silverton.|
“Everything is still tangible historically,” explained Mace, our driver on the jeep tour. “This is new history,” he added in awe. On the East Coast, where he’s from, Mace said history seems disconnected and remote rather than alive and vibrant like it is here.
|Many buildings are original to the town.|
|Tracks follow the Animas River on the way to Durango.|
|Boarding the steam train in Silverton|
|Rugged mountains provided a scenic background for the train ride.|
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier