Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado


Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde, Colorado. As many as 80 families occupied this dwelling  by the time it had been expanded to this size.
The Pueblo people lived first on the plateaus as hunter gatherers and eventually formed permanent communities in the protected cliff dwellings while dry farming the plateaus.
Looking across the canyon into Cliff Palace.
Intrepid Explorers
One of Mesa Verde's Canyons.
Can't kill nothin. Won't nothin' die.
Front Door Steps
Looking into one of Mesa Verde's cliff dwellings.
The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Brakeman on the Durango and Silverton NGRR
The line runs a little over 45 miles from Durango to Silverton, CO. It was built to service the silver mines that, up to then, had to use mules to pack supplies in and the ore out over the mountain. It reduced the cost per ton from $60.00 to $6.00....and made the mules very happy. The narrow gage rails and shorter cars allowed the train to make the tight turns necessary to navigate sharp curves.

The roadway was blasted out of the side of mountain by the miners from Silverton. They risked life and limb to drill the holes, load the blasting powder and fuses while suspended on ropes from the top of the cliffs. Once the fuses were lit they had to be hauled up before the charges went off.

Today the line is one of the last narrow guage rail lines in existence. If you're foolish enough to ride something that hangs off the side of a mountain you can enjoy a 3 hour ride through some of the most beautiful and historic country in the States.  There are several nice bars in Silverton which you will probably need when you realize that the only way home is to get back on the train and go back down the mountain.
While there is lots of room on one side, it's a little tight on the other.
Animas River - way down there ....
Animas River ... a lot closer. We have come up the mountain a long way. Durango's elevation is 6512 feet ... Silverton's is 9391. No wonder they needed a train.
A view from the train.
This locomotive engine has been completely rebuilt by the D &S machine shop which has the capacity to built an engine from the bottom  up, fabricating all the parts in house.
If you like BBQ Ribs and are lucky enough to get to Silverton in the warmer months, walk up 12th street to Green Street and look for this place. The pork ribs (if it ain't pig, it ain't BBQ) are  cooked to absolute perfection. The meat is tender and moist and slides off the bone.