To see the aspen in October: A trip worth a 12-hour, overnight train ride
October 7, 2014 by jimmycsays
I was in Colorado over the weekend with a couple of friends, Vince Gauthier and Kaler Bole, and we got to see the aspen in their golden, early-October glory.
Of course, there was a lot more to the trip than laying eyes on beautiful scenery. Trips are always an adventure from start to finish, with the traveling itself and the people you encounter being every bit as important — and often as memorable — as the reason for the trip.
And this trip certainly was an adventure, from our overnight, 12-hour Amtrak rides to meeting and visiting with various people along the way.
As usual, I’m going to try to let the photos tell a good story. I hope you like it…
My first great view, from the back of the westbound train, heading to Trinidad in southern Colorado.
Kaler (left), Vince and I were happy campers on the train — until nighttime, that is, when finding a comfortable sleeping position in those coach cars becomes virtually impossible, unless you’re 4 feet tall and have a row to yourself.
One of our first stops was Lake San Isabel, in the Wet Mountains, about 75 miles due north of Trinidad.
Here is Kaler’s cabin. It’s in a “subdivision” called Aspen Acres, where most residents have about three-quarters of an acre to an acre.
This is an old-fashioned “selfie,” where you take your picture with a real camera equipped with a self-timer. (Remarkable invention.)
No caption necessary.
Still in Aspen Acres.
Like almost everywhere else, Aspen Acres is not immune to “progress” and development.
I said almost everyone in Aspen Acres has about an acre. An exception is Randy Petersen, a pioneer in the development of frequent-flyer programs. Full-time Colorado Springs residents, he and his wife Julie have 40 acres.
Randy’s picnic table tracks his larger-than-ordinary life story. (He was a black history and anthropology major at University of Nevada Las-Vegas, where he played football.)
Several Aspen Acres residents motor around in “Gators” — two-seat, John Deere utility vehicles…With three people on board, I occupied the Gator Bed.
One more landscape photo before moving into “the city.”
Saturday evening we went into Westcliffe, Pop. 600 (or less). It is between the Wet Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains (in the distance). Sangre de Cristo is Spanish for “Blood of Christ.”
Some rooms at the Golden Corner Suites motel (right) offer a fine view of the Sangre de Cristo range.
In the Westcliffe pawn shop — where most of the action was — we ran into Roger Wise, who runs the local, nonprofit radio station, KWMU-FM, 95.9 on your dial — if you live in those parts. The station, operated by West Mountain Broadcasting Corp., is around the corner from the pawn shop.