All Aboard!

July 25, 2011 began a unique experience.  It was the launch of my first backpacking trip, following many months of planning and preparation.  Destination:  The Chicago Basin in the San Juan Mountains between Durango and Silverton, CO.  5 Days and 4 nights communing with nature.  There would be no cell phone access, no computers, no Starbucks, and no way to stay in touch with Kathy and the girls.  But on the other hand, there would be lots of fresh air, plenty of God’s splendor and beauty, good workouts hiking at 10,000ft.+ with a 50 lb. backpack, and most of all, a brand new adventure in all respects!

The backpacking expedition began early on Monday morning with a ride on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge train.  First we had a hearty breakfast at the Durango Denny’s, then I successfully managed the logistics of dropping off Betsy and Jerry with our gear at the station, driving the car to the Hampton for the week’s stay, and catching Durango’s trolley back to the train station.   Oh, BTW I had an adrenaline rush when I realized at breakfast I had misplaced my train ticket.  Luckily it was at the hotel on the nightstand … right where I left it.

The train departed at 9:15am sharp for Silverton, but a little more than two hours into the trip it would drop us and about 50 other backpackers off at Needle Creek (that is to say, in the middle of nowhere!).  The train ride was really cool.  This was a train and railroad from “back in the day,” fueled by coal and steam!

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge RR, Engine #481

My good friends Jerry McCart and Besty Cagle from the Atlanta area were not only instrumental in helping pull this trip together, but were also to be my trail and camp buddies for the next week.

Jerry and Betsy before boarding the train in Durango

We were also accompanied by Lance, Kara, Louisa, and Paul.  Louisa and Paul are wonderful friends from Vermont that I met on last year’s Yellowstone trip, and they brought along their good friends Lance and Kara.

L to R: Lance & Kara Parker, Paul & Louisa Larson, Jerry McCart & Betsy Cagle

Car 22, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge RR

Yours Truly on the Train

I’ve been wanting to resume my blog for quite sometime, but I haven’t been able to find time or make it a priority.  This trip is my catalyst!   It was a fantastic experience, so stay tuned for more info and images.

This entry was written by Mark , posted on Saturday August 06 2011at 11:08 pm , filed under Backpacking, Colorado, Landscapes, People . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

4 Responses to “All Aboard!”

  • Carl Gandolfo says:

    Very nice, my friend!! Can’t wait to see more posted here about the trip, especially the images.

  • Mike Sisco says:

    Mark,
    About time you gave us more material, , , liked the train photo and of course, the one of you. Sounds like you had a good time.

  • Brent Johnston says:

    And so it begins! Looking forward to, as Paul Harvey said, “the rest of the story.” Love the sepia treatment of the locomotive; very fitting. I could feel the adreneline rush as you began your journey. Kudos to Jerry, looks like he lost some weight in training for the trip. 😉

  • Carl Gandolfo says:

    The train left the station but I don’t think it’s coming back! :(

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