Our last day on the trail, we had to be at Needleton for the train to pick us up at 4PM. We weren’t very sure how long the hike would be, but it was at least down hill. We decided to get an earlier than normal start as we didn’t want to miss our train. It was a bit cold early on in the morning and I was still hiking in my fleece for a while until the sun hit us on the trail. We met a few other people hiking up the other way. I was not jealous of them going up as I was done with my climbing for a while.
It only took us a few hours to get down at a leisurely pace. Once again, beautiful scenery along the way. There was two ladies at the train stop who had been hiking 14’ers for a few days. They had done the smart thing and left a car in both Silverton and Durango so they could catch any train. Our car was in Durango and our ticket was for the 4PM train, so we just sat by the river and enjoyed the last of our wilderness experience.
The train came past us a couple of times. One was going up to Silverton and another one later on that didn’t make a stop headed back down to Durango. Three trains a day ride that route.
Something the passengers don’t see is the little car on the rail that sweeps up behind the train with firefighting equipment. The idea being that embers from the engine may start small fires and this little car was there to spot and put them out before they got big. That looked like it could have been a pretty fun job.
On the ride back, the scenery just didn’t seem as great after having seen much greater sights in the backcountry. We both bought Dr. Peppers and a popcorn from the concession car. We were ready for something different to eat. I got the souvenir mug which gives unlimited refills for the day and shared a refill with Wendy. The train was creeping along as we were both ready to get back for a shower. We were both wearing our fleece to try and contain our horrible smells that we had acquired over the last 6 days.
We pulled into the Durango station a little before 7PM. We grabbed our packs and headed to the hotel. It was the same one we had spent the night in earlier. After showering, we headed off for our first meal off the trail. We stopped at a restaurant called The Red Snapper. They served both steak and seafood. I know, seafood in a landlocked state. Wendy had the trout which she has come to really enjoy. I had a steak. It was a delicious meal that came with a big salad bar. I don’t normally do much with a salad bar, but it had been a week since I had had fresh veggies so I enjoyed that too. After supper we walked back to our hotel room.
The next morning we woke up and headed home. On the way out of town we ate breakfast at the Durango Diner. It was a nice little locals place to eat. The food was really good and the portions were huge. I had something called the “The Cure”. It was hash browns, 2 eggs, cheese, green chili, and sausage and it was wonderful. Wendy had a huge dinner plate sized pancake. The line chef was in plain view and we could watch him work. He did an interesting thing with the potatoes where he took a cheese grader and graded the potato with that directly onto the grill to make the hash browns. I’ve never seen that done before and plan to do it someday.
We wanted to finish the rest of the scenic drive that we had started, so we took US 160 out of town, then took Hwy 184 and Hwy 145 back towards Telluride. The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful and we got home around 7PM that night.
Overall it was a great trip. I was glad to have gotten to do the itinerary that I had dreamed of for a long time. I was grateful that Wendy let me do the trip and that she went with me. Now to figure out where to go next year.