Windom Peak

F R I D A Y, 8/29/08

A tourist beginning to an otherwise rugged hike.

Interesting perhaps only to Dan and me, I include this photo solely to marvel at the wonders of the West TX sky at sunset.  Nowhere else is the sky so expansive.

As usual Dan and I drove; Adam, Ned, and Rich flew to ABQ.  Jim rode in a rock star RV with some friends ("Mike's crew"), whom we'll see later on.

Photos for this edition came from me, Rich, Adam and Kenn, but I'll be damned if I can remember who took all of them.

Rich and I on the square in Durango, where Dan and I slept for three hours in the car.

I was supplied with lots of stock photos of the ABQ lot drinking beer in mundane restaurant settings on their way to Durango.  What I wish I had were photos of the apparent mayhem that ensued during the actual drive itself, about which I have had to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Conspicuously absent from the TX/ABQ crew this year was the moderating influence of one Marc Litle, who was in training for some Himalayan ass whooping of mammoth proportions.

 

So, what you need to know about Windom is that it's primarily accessible via a narrow gauge, coal fired railroad that runs between Durango and Silverton.

The train is total retro in every regard:  No AC, totally analog-- but with a bar, of course.  It runs through some nice terrain, this being CO and all.  It takes 2.5 hours to cover about 10 miles, making it a real spiritual challenge for those speed addicted Aries among us.  (Rich)

Adam on the train.  This is what I call his shit talkin' grin.  Catching up with friends helps to pass the time.  (Darren)

Disembarking at Needleton Trailhead, halfway between Durango and Silverton. 

As you can see, coal fired trains, despite being pre-automotive, are anything but ecological.  They actually sold goggles on the train for moving between cars, in the event that you got a cinder in your eye...

Kenn and Ned in the foreground, preparing to head out.  This was Labor Day weekend, and so about 50 folks got off the train with us.

This spot was the last we were to see of Mike's crew for the rest of the day.  They charged on up the trail at full speed-- with no radios for us to stay in contact.

Ned and Rich.  And to think, this all started out as a bunch of innocent young lads attending a Christian hiking expedition in the early 80s.

Hide the stash.  All of the ABQ crew was secretly complaining to me about the heavy bottles of alcohol with which Kenn had burdened their packs.

We made quick work of these at the first major bend in the creek we could find.  Here, Kenn, Ned, and Edwin build a faux beaver dam to keep everything cold and safe for a couple of days.

After some lunch at the hiding place, Ned, Darren, and Kenn suiting up to take off.

Ordinarily, we aging Texans like to spend a day just letting our bodies adjust to the altitude.  But in this case, we were having a hard time finding a decent low camp, so we trudged ahead through what you're about to see...

Next: High Camp