A mountain ride. (Colorado trip part 2)

(see part 1: Colorado morning.)

To tell you the truth, I've never been a big fan of traveling on trains. I'd much rather drive and have the chance to pull into the shoulder when I see a potential photo beckoning, to have control of being able to stop and set my own pace. But the Durango-Silverton Train won me over. We rode the same train built in 1882 that traverses through the mountains and valleys for three-and-a-half hours at a pace of only 18 mph. What an adventure it was, as each turn revealed a completely different view and landscape. We were literally on the edges of our seats...

Mom and I arrived at the train depot just five minutes before departure at 8:15am, so we were practically the last ones on board. The conductor didn't even check our tickets and told us to quickly hop on, so we chose the car immediately in front of us closest to the engine. All the other passengers who had arrived earlier were packed in the other cars, some covered, some open-air, but we found ours entirely empty with about 10 rows on each side of uninhabited seats. So we sprawled out and opened our windows as far as they would go and let the morning sun stream in.

As the train left the depot and began slowly chugging along, I grasped my hot tea in one hand and camera in the other. I shivered a little at the cool air and removed my jacket so I could feel it on my arms. There weren't any screens on the windows - nothing separating us from the views we were about to experience. Perfect!

What's so special about the Durango-Silverton Train {besides the fact that it's been in continuous operation for 127 years!} is that it takes you places where cars simply cannot go - inches from the rushing, tumultuous Animas River, around treacherous mountain bends where you are practically hanging off the edge of a cliff, through caverns of blasted rock.

Besides the other passengers, we didn't see a soul the entire ride. Only lush meadows dotted with aspen trees, dangerous rapids, snow-capped mountains. Through the open window, I saw Colorado close-up, as if through a viewfinder where the scenes keep changing. Her beauty stuns you, awakens you to see that the natural world is both beautiful and dangerous, like God.


About two-and-a-half hours into the ride, when Mom and I had become accustomed to switching our seats at every whim so we could get the best view, a true gift unfolded before our eyes. I was looking out the right side of the car, and she was looking out the left, when she said, "Christine! Look!" I jumped across the aisle to see this double rainbow, our little promise...

It's the second time I've seen a special rainbow in my life, once on my wedding day, and then on this day when I needed very much to know that things are going to be okay.

An hour later, we pulled into the depot in the old mining town of Silverton, population 531, and disembarked in search of the next adventure...

(part 3 to come...)

(see Part 3: From the heights.)