Thursday, August 27, 2009
Chama, New Mexico
After an overnight in Durango we headed towards Taos, and Liz's first trip to New Mexico. En route I actually took a wrong turn and ended up in Chama. Chama is one end of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. Both the Cumbres and Toltec and the Silverton and Durango narrow gauge railroads are leftovers of the Denver and Rio Grande Western spur line that went from Antonito all the way to Silverton and it's famous mines.
While I had been unimpressed at the level of access within Mesa Verde, I was very impressed with the Chama yard. They had a variety of volunteers in the area restoring train cars, organizing tools and whatever else needed doing, and any of whom was happy to answer questions. The only area that was off limits was the engine house, where they were performing repairs. Other than that the whole yard was open. Imagine, an organization that trusts that people won't break things, hurt themselves or otherwise won't make a fuss.
I had a fantastic time wandering about the yard, poking my head into rail cars and just generally have a good time. My poor sister soon was soon wondering if I had been kidnapped by the trains, but I was just exploring down a side spur.
Pretty soon that was it for Chama, and we were back on the road towards Taos. While it was a wrong turn, I think that all together it was a right turn, even if it cost us over an hour of me poking about the trains!