From the Great Dunes, we overnighted in a Kampground of America (KOA) RV Park. I just had to shoot the above image. I love the way the trees in the background become the extension on the painted trees o the mural. The KOA’s are good for usually reliable WiFi and laundry and we try to catch up on email while here.
We spent a couple of days in the Durango area. A new storm was coming in and we thought we’d wait to see how it played out before moving on. Durango is a growing mountain town that we first visited in the early 80’s. It was much smaller then. There are many more skiing areas now and lots more housing developments. It has gotten quite busy and less attractive to us. While here, we decided to visit the town of Silverton. When we first visited the area, Silverton was virtually a ghost town. People lived here and there were businesses – but not many – and the town pretty much closed down in winter. There is a famous narrow gauge train that runs from Durango to Silverton that is huge with the tourists and which we have taken a couple of times. In the fall, when trees are turning color, it is a spectacular 4 hour ride through the outskirts of Durango and up to Silverton several thousand feet higher in the mountains. Since most of the leaves have now dropped, we decided to just drive up to the town.
This is also a pretty great way to get there and offers the added benefit of being able to stop where we like to photograph or just look around. We get there much quicker as well – this a good thing since the storm was coming in as we got started. By the time we got there, the snow was falling lightly and Silverton, being at the bottom of a mountain bowl surrounded by mountains, was beginning to turn white. We watched several waves of weather come in and the blow out. The snow really wasn’t sticking to the ground at this point, so we were able to move around freely.
We visited the graveyard just outside and above the town. The graves go back to the early 1800’s and it’s always interesting to walk around to see how the stones are decorated and maintained. Afterwards, we came back into town to warm up and take lunch at a place called “The Pickle Jar”. Their motto, “Get Pickled at the Pickle Jar”. We didn’t, but did have a nice lunch and awesome chocolate cake dessert.
We then hiked around town and noticed how much the town had also grown. It no longer seems to be a ghost town. Many new homes, full time by the look of them now exist. Most all the really old places have been refurbished and/or cleaned up to the point where the town now seems to have less a unique character. The old city hall and a few other buildings are still there, but the place has much more of a tourist feel to it. But really, more power to them for making a go of the venture in such a difficult location. We photographed here for a while and finished by watching the train leave for the afternoon trip back to Durango. We are headed out to Canyonlands tomorrow for a few days of hiking in our favorite Park.