DRGW History and Information  

  Trip Report: SLRG Photo Specials - Chapter 1
  Alamosa to Fir
The West Side of La Veta Pass in the morning
  From: SLRG Photo Specials Dates: 26 Aug 2010 and 15 Jan 2011 Author: Nathan Holmes


Photo 1
Dawn clear and cool in Alamosa, producing nice atmospheric effects around 18 as they bring her up to the depot.
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Photo 2
Just a morning glint shot in the station.
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  Report Chapters  
   1 - Alamosa to Fir
   2 - Fir To La Veta and Back
   3 - Winter Special on Jan 15, 2011
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Photo 3
Heading out across the valley, our first runby was in the straightaway between Alamosa and Blanca at approximately. milepost 245. Unfortunately, this was the only shot I pulled off due to a focus malfunction.
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Photo 4
The regular train hadn't yet made it back from Walsenburg, so they doubled it over to fit in the sidings at Blanca. Either that or they're out using the SD9043MACs to knock the weeds down.
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Photo 5
When I think of the San Luis Valley, sunflowers aren't the first cash crop that comes to mind, but here they are...
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Photo 6
After picking up a few stragglers in Fort Garland, it was on up the hill to start the day's runbys.
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Photo 7
Our first run-by on the hill was at milepost 216, a couple miles down from Sierra, in a wide bend filled with blooming sagebrush. (Otherwise known as ugh, my allergies...)
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Photo 8
Run-by 3, at milepost 213.9, just east of Sierra.
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Photo 9
Another wider angle at run-by 3.
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Photo 10
Coming around the corner into run-by 4 between Sierra and the summit at milepost 211.8.
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Photo 11
My favorite shot of the trip, again from run-by 4. The peak just above the tree is Mount Lindsay, the one to the right is Huerfano Peak, and the one to the left is Blanca Peak.
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Photo 12
Our fifth run-by was in the wide meadow at the lower curve of the famed S-curve just below Fir. (Did you follow that?) While everybody was trying to get organized, I grabbed this musk thistle shot.
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Photo 13
Charging through the lower S-curve below Fir
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Photo 14
Having completed the run-by in the lower curve, we rode to the top off the pass at Fir. Here we are approaching the western Fir yard board.
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Photo 15
Once we were all unloaded at the top, the crew took the engine back down past the S-curve. Here they are charging the summit again. The shots 12 and 13 were inside the rear curve.
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Photo 16
Coming up the draw formed by the headwaters of Wagon Creek into the famous Fir balloon loop.
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Photo 17
Off and around the loop, with the old connecting track on the left and stock pens on the right. The barely-noticable flat spot on the distant hill behind the loop is the grade of the former Trinchera Estate RR, a short lived narrow gauge logging line.
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Photo 18
And on the upper level, approaching the summit.
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Photo 19
Just another shot from the top that I didn't like as well, but showed off the balloon loop track arrangement better.
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Photo 20
To support the summer events that the SLRG puts on at the top of the pass, they've constructed a number of structures at Fir. The first is this station building, right next to the track.
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Photo 21
The stage built by the SLRG for the summer concerts. No idea why it sits on freight trucks.
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Photo 22
The original Fir station (moved here from the NG route in 1899, and torched by the Grande in 1981) sat on the grey area about halfway from my position to the boarding area on the right side of the track. The boarding area sits atop the former bunkhouse site.
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Creative Commons License This work is copyright 2011 by Nathan D. Holmes (maverick@drgw.net), but licensed under a Creative Commons License. I encourage others to consider CC or other Open Content-style licensing of their original works.

All photographs in this trip report were taken with a Canon EOS 40D using either a Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS/USM, Sigma 18-50mm, or a Canon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS/USM.