"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Chama, NM


After visiting with friends at Big Meadows, and hearing about their ride on the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad a few years ago, we decided to give it a try.  It took a little less than two hours of driving from Big Meadows, on the East side of Wolf Creek Pass, to the small town of Chama, NM.  We got a spot in a RV Park situated right beside the tracks, and with this old bridge out the back gate.

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A short walk down the tracks brings you to the train yard.  A working, “blast from the past” for someone from an old railroad town.

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Imagine our surprise when, shorty after arriving and getting set up at the RV park, we get a knock at the door.  Seems someone had seen our license plate, and they were from our neighboring town.  We didn’t know each other, but had many joint friends and acquaintances. He and his wife had been volunteering Summers to the railroad for the past fourteen years. He was one of the docents for the open sightseeing cars. Quite a character.

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Sunday morning was clear and bright as we made our way to the station.

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Our car.  At this point in life, I’ll take the best when I can.

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I won’t bore with you with lots of history, or pictures of the train ride, itself.  It was a very interesting journey from Chama, up, and over 10,015’ Cumbres pass, and down to the old station of Osier. Some wildlife along the way.  Apparently didn’t like that monster coming around the curve.

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There is actually two trains each day, one departing from Chama, NM and one from Antonito, CO.  They meet at Osier and lunch is served in the railroad cafeteria. A full meal of turkey and dressing, or meatloaf; with all the trimmings, along with many other side dish’s and desserts.

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The train from Antonito beat us there as we had a small mechanical problem on the way up.

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Running out of water just before a station can lead to some embarrassing moments.  We sat for about thirty minutes while the engine went for water and returned. You can see the station just a few hundred yards up the track.  Poor engineer.

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We had picked the ride from Chama to Osier, and back to Chama, so we got to change trains for our return.  As I mentioned earlier, I took about two hundred pictures, but here’s just a couple from the trip up and back. 

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I think we enjoyed it better than the Durango and Silverton from a few years ago…..jc

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  1. I don't usually care much for trains, but I think I might have liked that trip.

  2. Ahhhh, memories. When I last took this, a couple got married at Osier. They had been sitting behind me and I didn't know they were getting married until we got there. She asked me to stand with her and it was a big thrill - almost 7 yrs ago.

  3. Ah! So you made it to Chama. I stayed in that campground and I have many pictures of the whole area. If you're looking for a good dinner, there's a place in town (or was) called High Country.

    The Durango Silverton train and Cumbres de Toltec were once one line. I enjoyed the volunteers at the campground. They are very dedicated people. I didn't take the train because I had Jack (they offered to watch him at the campground) but I drove up to Antonito. Very pretty area. Don't know how long you're staying, but at dusk just south of Cumbres Pass, the elk come down to graze. I believe I told you the other day that a couple of blocks from the campground there's an elk preserve. The elk were up in the mountains when we went, but Jack and I had a blast roaming around.

  4. Love old trains! How exciting to ride through the mountains! Enjoyed your pictures.

    Another great place to check out someday!

  5. Wow...Great looking scenery...and a train ride, and meatloaf for lunch...you're living the good life...I just put Chama, NM on my list of places to stop for my proposed Fall Trip....Enjoyed the photo's....Happy Trails...Horst sends

  6. Loved your post. We took that same trip about 12 years ago, (pre-bloggin days). I remember the meal was delicious and the pies had meringue piled miles high!
    We've also taken the Durango Slverton trip. I love to take those old train rides. However we took one in one of the Carolina's that was bad, so bad I can't remember the name or area!
    Safe travels~

  7. You just added another one to my list! We were there about four years ago but didn't do the train ride. Now I've got to go back. :-)


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