Georgetown Loop Narrow Gauge Train with Zeb the Duck

Today we are going to Georgetown to ride the train.   I love that train.

Georgetown Loop Train. Tickets and gift shop

Georgetown, Colorado is a former mining town.   In 1884 a narrow gauge train was completed to connect some mining towns.    At the time, this train was considered an engineering marvel.   There were horseshoe curves, 4% grades, 4 bridges across Clear Creek and Devil’s Gate High Bridge.   The distance between Georgetown and Silver Plume was only 2 miles (3.2 km) but the train traveled 4.5 miles (7.2 km) to go through the narrow canyon between the two mining towns.   Mining ended, roads were built and the train was dismantled in 1939.   But during the 1980’s, the train was restored and is now a tourist train.   Inside the building we will get our tickets.  We did make the recommended reservations.   We are glad we did.   It is a very full train, and we went on Wednesday.   We leave the ticket and gift shop and wander around.

Clear Creek. Canoe and tepee

From the bridge over Clear Creek, we admire the canoe and tepee.   And we see a small native Colorado animal.

Chipmunk chewing something

We love chipmunks.   This one is chewing something.   His nose is wrinkled up.   The train is coming from Silver Plume.

Train from Silver Plume

Some passengers will get off and stay here, most will get off for about 10 minutes and then get back on.   Mom, our friend and I, Zeb the Duck, are on the train.

On train. More passengers coming.  I do have two eyes!

More passengers are coming.   There will not be pictures of me on the train.   The rails are not level and I don’t want to fall off.   Also mom can’t take good photos with the sun behind me like this.  We are moving.

Devil’s Gate High Bridge from lower train tracks

From the lower track we look up to view Devil’s Gate High Bridge.   Winding around the station, we are now going on Devil’s Gate High Bridge.

We are going over Devil’s Gate High Bridge

We rode this train a couple years ago and I love it.   It is wonderful that we are riding again.   The scenery from the train is beautiful.

Beautiful mountains

We are in a mountain canyon in the Colorado Rockies.   Pulling into Silver Plume station, the conductor tells us we have about 10 minutes here.

About 10 minute stop in Silver Plume

We don’t go far.   Some people started their train ride here, so they get off now.   Maybe a few new passengers join us.   Our train crosses Clear Creek 4 times each direction.

Clear Creek

This is one of my favorite views of Clear Creek.   When the first railroad was build in the 1880’s there were no machines to move rocks.   These boulders were all move by human hands.

in 1880’s boulders moved by human hands. No machinery

We are almost back to Devil’s Gate station, our starting point.

Almost back to Devil’s Gate Station

There was a stop for humans to get off the train if they purchased tickets to visit an underground mine.   We did not.   We want to drive through the mountains when our train trip is finished.

Devil’s Gate Station

We have arrived at Devil’s Gate station and we must leave the train.    But we saw something between Clear Creek and the Rocky Mountains.   Off the train, we need to explore.

Mule Deer

Yes, we did see deer.   This is a young mule deer.   Just love those huge ears.   There are 4 deer here.   We stood very still and all four of them crossed the road in front of us and gracefully climbed into the mountains.   Back in our car, we drive behind Georgetown.   We will go over Guanella Pass and arrive in Grant, Colorado, on the other side of the Continental Divide.

Georgetown, Colorado

Driving up the pass, we stop to look at Georgetown behind and below us.  The aspen trees are changing colors now.

Variety of colors all together

Some leaves will still be green, some bright yellow, some gold and some red.   At the top of Guanella Pass we stop to admire the view from the top.

Guanella Pass area, above timberline.

Again, we are above tree line as we are on the top of the Continental Divide.  Going down toward Grant we stop to admire Geneva Creek.

Water is soothing and beautiful

This is a great day.   The Colorado sun has been shining much of the day.   We love the train.   And our Colorado mountains are beautiful.   The train was less than an hour from home and Grant is about 90 minutes from home.   We hope you explore and enjoy areas around your home also.

Christmas Train in Georgetown, Colorado with Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, and Soapy Smith Duck, are going on the Christmas train.   We love trains and we love Christmas and we love Georgetown.

Georgetown, Colorado

Georgetown, Colorado

A perfect time for us.   Arriving early, while still daylight, we find the path to the warming hut and our train.

Path to train station and white warming hut

Path to train station and white warming hut

But first we see Jeremy roasting chestnuts.

Jeremy is roasting chestnuts

Jeremy is roasting chestnuts

Of course we try some.   Very nice.   Our first time eating roasted chestnuts.    Jeff shows us some knives he recently made.   He is a blacksmith and also carves the handles for his knives.

Jeff makes and sells great knives

Jeff makes and sells great knives

Some of the handles are bone, some are antlers or animal horns.   All the knives he makes are one of a kind and personally crafted by Jeff.   Heading to the train station, we love these guys in the canoe.

Canoe with friends in Clear Creek

Canoe with friends in Clear Creek

They are floating on the partially frozen Clear Creek.   This creek also winds through downtown Denver.  Looking the other direction on Clear Creek, we see the train crossing Devil’s Gate High Bridge.

Train on Devil's Gate High Bridge

Train on Devil’s Gate High Bridge

The train will cross Clear Creek 4 times on this loop ride.   This narrow gauge train was completed in 1884 to connect the two mining towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume.   Now it is primarily a tourist train.   It is rather chilly here in the mountains, so we head to the warming hut.   Inside we admire the decorations.

Inside warming hut

Inside warming hut

Our train has not arrived yet, but this one is here.  Freight cars decorated for the Christmas season.

Decorated train cars

Decorated train cars

There are lights everywhere.   Inside our train, there are more lights.

Inside night train

Inside night train

It is dark outside now, and we pass so many displays of lights.   Some lighting displays are synchronized with music.   Since this is a Christmas train, Santa is here.

Santa in train

Santa in train

We ducks tell Santa what we want for Christmas.   Maybe we will get it?  Maybe not?  But, we love Santa and we love this train ride.   The towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume are only 2 miles (3.2 km) apart, but climbing the mountain, we ride 4.5 miles (7.2 km) on this train.   Returning to the Georgetown train station, we enjoy hot chocolate and sugar cookies from Steph.

Hot chocolate and sugar cookies here

Hot chocolate and sugar cookies here

Looking back, we love the lights leading to the train.   If you visit Colorado this month, we hope you ride the Georgetown Christmas train.   We think you will love it as much as we did.

Georgetown Loop Railroad with Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck

Soapy Smith Duck and I, Zeb the Duck, took our moms to Georgetown, Colorado to ride the narrow gauge train.

Georgetown Loop Railroad

Georgetown Loop Railroad

We live about 40 minutes away and it was a beautiful, sunny Colorado day.   It was Buffalo Bill Days at the railroad.    This is a great chalk picture of Annie Oakley.

Annie Oakley in chalk

Annie Oakley in chalk

And, of course, here is a silhouette of Buffalo Bill.

Buffalo Bill

Buffalo Bill in chalk

Jeff was there helping people pan for gold.   We are watching and helping Soapy’s mom with gold panning.

Panning for gold

Panning for gold

She found some gold.

We found gold!

We found gold!

Then she panned for gems.

Panning for gems. Pan has wider ridges

Panning for gems.

This is fun.   The Georgetown Loop Train leaves from Devil’s Gate Station in Georgetown.

Devil's Gate Station at Georgetown, Colorado

Devil’s Gate Station at Georgetown, Colorado

We like riding this train.

On the train

On the train

When you drive in the mountains, the roads have switch backs, so you do not drive straight up. The train tracks do similar looping and turning, to reduce the uphill grade to about 4%.   We will cross Clear Creek four times to arrive at Silver Plume.

Clear Creek

Clear Creek

This is one of the bridges we will cross.

We will be up there soon

We will be up there soon

In the late 1800’s this was a great engineering accomplishment.   Soapy’s mom with a wild west character.

Soapy's mom and conductor

Soapy’s mom and conductor

We arrived at Silver Plume station.

Arrival at Silver Plume Station

Arrival at Silver Plume Station

Some passengers got off and others got on here.   We got off for a few minutes to purchase snacks and then back on the train.   We love being in our Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Love riding in Colorado's Rocky Mountains

Love riding in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains

Now Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley sit with Soapy, Zeb and Soapy’s mom.

With Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill

With Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill

Here is another view of the front of our train.

Our train is heading back

Our train is heading back

We are approaching Devil’s Gate Station, our starting and ending point.   We liked these musicians, and they like the Colorado Traveling Ducks.

We like these musicians

We like these musicians

When you are in Colorado, we hope you ride this train or one of our other narrow gauge trains. Have fun and do some tourist things in your home town also.   We had fun today.

Kayaking in Golden Colorado

Clear Creek runs through Golden, Colorado.  Brave souls kayak on this water.

Clear Creek Whitewater Park

Clear Creek Whitewater Park

In the spring the water, new snowmelt, is very cold and runs fast.

Kayaking area

Kayaking area

We watched these men prepare and enter Clear Creek with kayaks.

Entering the river

Entering the river

As they waited for the rest of the group, these two ventured into the small rapids.

To the rapids

To the rapids

Practicing rolling over, under water, and then returning to an upright position,

Rolling in the kayak

Rolling in the kayak

these men didn’t seem to mind the cold temperatures.  The water and air were fairly cold this late April day, and the wind was also chilling.  I, Zeb the Duck and my human friends, loved watching these kayakers.

Maybe later???

Maybe later???

We did not kayak today.  Maybe we will on a warmer day, but I’m not too sure about this.  If you want to kayak, Golden, Colorado is a beautiful place to start.

 

Zeb visits Central City, Colorado

Today we are going to Central City.  The town is about 35 miles west of Denver.   When gold was discovered in 1859, this was ”The richest square mile on earth.”  Rich!  And I, Zeb the duck, am going there.

Central City Parkway

Central City Parkway

Mom tells me to calm down, the mining has stopped now and Central City is on the historic registry.  That means the buildings built after the fire of 1874, rebuilt with stone and brick, are still standing.  About that brick—this was a gold mining area, so the bricks have gold dust in them.  WOW!  The city looks like an old mining town with shops and restaurants for us to explore.

Central City main street

Central City main street

We visited a few shops selling a variety of items—not regular tourist T-shirts, but glassware, books, clothes, old jewelry and even stuff I did not recognize.

We went to the visitor’s center.  The lady there was very helpful.  Upstairs the Gilpin County Arts Association has a very interesting art gallery.  We saw photographs that looked better than life.  We saw beautiful paintings also.  My favorite was wood with zippers.

By Paul Stafford.  A wood turner

By Paul Stafford. A wood turner

Yep, zippers on wooden vases and bowls.  My favorite was Walnut Vase by Paul Stafford.  View more of Paul Stafford’s art at www.woodturner-gallery.com

That art gallery was great and then we went to the old courthouse, which has another art gallery, also featuring artists from Gilpin County Arts Association.  This building has several rooms of art displays.  We were in the courtroom, the first district courtroom in the territory of Colorado.  Art was displayed on the judge’s bench, the witness platform and the jury platform.  All original wood items from over 100 years ago.  The art was beautiful.  My favorite things were cards made from original photographs.  What a great way to share your treasures.   From one room of art, we went outside to the Sculpture Garden.

Love this fountain in sculpture garden

Love this fountain in sculpture garden

This was a nice retreat and I loved the fountain by Richard Emmert.

Leaving the former courthouse and present art gallery, we went to the museum.  We were just in time for the tour to the Opera House.  The grand opening of the Opera House was held in 1878.  Plays are held here in Central City at the famous Opera House during the summer.  The season is over for this year.  We could only see the inside on a tour.  When you go, notice the horse sculptures on the sides near the stage.

Inside Central City Opera House

Inside Central City Opera House

They are not sculptures—they are paintings!  Really.  On the wall on either side of stage.  Paintings!  Walk over to them and look.  This duck was fooled.

Next time we go to Central City we will take a tour of an abandoned mine,

An abandoned mine by Central City

An abandoned mine by Central City

probably the Hidee Mine, or explore the three cemeteries.    Maybe even go to the casinos.  The casino profits help preserve Central City.  There are a couple ways to get to Central City from Denver.  We took I-70 to the Central City Parkway.  This is about 20-25 minutes west of Denver.  The Central City Parkway goes directly into Central City.  Very easy drive.  We were there in less than 45 minutes.  We drove home through Clear Creek Canyon, on US 6 which goes into Golden and then to Denver.   What a great Colorado road.  US 6 goes through a canyon and follows Clear Creek.  River and mountains–everything I love.   This duck is so proud to live in Colorado.  See you soon.