Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado - August 15 to 18 2001

Ted, Brian, and Bob next made a trip to the San Juan mountains in 2001. Bob and Ted met in Laramie, and picked up Brian at Denver International. They next made a long drive through South Park to Buena Vista. Interestingly, it looked like a big sign had been put off the road in South Park, pointing to a bunch of buildings; I am guessing to exploit the success of the TV show. We stayed at the Buena Vista Best Western, which had a great hot tub and fabulous breakfast bar. We made it to Durango and checked into our lodging for the evening, a KOA (my first ever). We were a tad perturbed to find a thick layer of plastic on all the mattresses... who knows what fluids may have flowed over those surfaces. Since we had to catch the Durango-Silverton line the next day, we checked out where we needed to go and checked out the town. If you take the train in (which is just about the only way to get to Needleton to get to the trail head), make sure you make reservations early. It took several phone calls before Brian was confidant we actually could get on the train.

We got up early, and caught the train. It was a pretty cool ride up to Needleton; on the way up passing a nice resort and going through Animas River canyon. I am not sure how happy the conductor was at having hikers, since when he dropped us at Needleton he practically threw the packs off the train. The passengers on the train all waved good-bye. Needleton is now just a bunch of small cabins, I am not sure what its history is. We started hiking up the trail and had a nice reroute straight uphill to avoid some private property. Apparently, from a conversation with a ranger, they are going to do some more re routing to avoid other parcels of private property. We made it to Base camp Animas, where we were soon invaded by several goats. These goats seemed pretty tame. Ted and Brian climbed a few peaks while I did a few small day hikes. The goats were insane, coming through the camp several times during the day. We hiked out the next day and caught the train at Needleton. There were many more people waiting to get on and I suspect not that many had reservations for that particular train, since not all were able to get on.

We had a nice beer at a microbrewery in Durango, Steamworks. Great Beers in a nice location. We drove back to Buena Vista, but just missed getting into the hot tubs. They close them at 10 PM and no amount of monetary offers nor threats were able to persuade the manager to let us in.

Backpacking Route

Train Route

Riding that train.. Casey Jones you betta, watch yo speed (tj)

The train kept a rollin, all night long (tj)

Smoke gets in your eyes... (tj)

On the train in Animas River Canyon

Dropped off the train at Needleton (tj)

Our intrepid hikers at the trail head

Bridge over the Animas (tj)

Just up the trail

Ted near Chicago Basin

Chicago Basin (tj)

Wildflowers in Chicago Basin

At Base camp Animas

View NE from Base camp Animas (tj)

Goats at base camp (tj)

More goats! It was goat city! (tj)

Stream in Chicago Basin (tj)

Chicago Basin (tj)

Mt Kennedy from Chicago Basin (tj)

Goats at Twin Lakes (have I mentioned there were lots of goats here?) (tj)

Stream from Twin Lakes

Goat near summit of Sunlight

Brian near summit of Sunlight (tj)

Brian on summit of Sunlight (tj)

View E from Sunlight (tj)

Ted with extra bonus points standing on summit of Sunlight (tj)

Brian dining on DingDongs™ and taco sauce on Windom.. wowzers!!!! (tj)

Ted on Windom (tj)

View into Chicago Basin from Windom (tj)

Sunrise on Mt Eolus (tj)

Near summit of Eolus (tj)

Ted on summit of Mt Eolus (tj)

Panorama from Eolus

View N from Eolus (tj)

Ted on "the Catwalk" (tj)

Wildflowers on Eolus (tj)

Our intrepid hikers resting at Base camp Animas

Leaving Chicago Basin (tj)

Cleaning up before train ride outside of Needleton

The train approaches (tj)

Getting on the train (tj)