As the days grew closer, the more excited I became for my Colorado photo-cation.  June 15, 2017 couldn’t come soon enough. After 9 months of waiting and trip planning, the day finally arrived!

There was a group of six of us, plus one lucky friend who lives in Colorado, ready to seek out creative photographic opportunities. I, for one, was looking for anything railroad related, plus inspirational and beautiful snow capped mountain vistas. When your mind is set to look for the subject matter at hand, it seems as though the subject matter ends up finding you. Other times, it’s all in the planning.

The sunset photo above was captured in Winter Park Colorado about a five minute drive from our rented condo. Each day we passed by the railroad track crossing and I knew this place would be worthy of a railroad capture. As it turned out, the evening we decided to capture this amazing scene, a storm front was in the clearing stage, and the sun was making its descent for the evening.

Pikes Peak Cog Rail in Manitou Springs, Colorado is a place for all rail fans. Yes, it isn’t a steam locomotive, as I generally follow, but the Cog is historic. For a little tidbit of info, a man named Zalman Simmons founded the Pikes Peak Railway. If his last name sounds familiar, he was the inventor of the Simmons Beauty Rest Mattress.

Mr. Simmons rode to the summit of Pikes Peak on a mule to see the beauty first hand. He thought that others would like it as well, hence, the Pikes Peak Cog. The rail is a 3 hour and 10 minute ride round trip. At the highest point, the elevation stands over 14,000 feet. Once you are at the top, you get about twenty minutes to take photos, as well as, visit their huge gift & snack shop. The photo was taken at the end of the line. Despite the sunshine, and it being June, the temperature was a balmy 26 degrees with the wind chill. (The air temperature at ground level was above 90 degrees.)

When in Colorado, it’s a good idea to visit the local cities and towns. Old Colorado City was one of the historic towns we toured. After the Cog Railway tour, we were in dire need of a good meal. We ate at an Irish pub named, Alchemy. Though a little on the pricey side, the food was very good and very filling.

Afterwards, we needed a walk. Old Colorado City, formerly Colorado City, is a national historic district in the city of Colorado Springs.

This old rail car was a find on the main street in Old Colorado City. There it sat between two shade trees. The tight cropping works for this image as does the angle. I tried getting an image of the rail car from the other side, but there were too many distractions in the way.

Who knew that there would be an old steam engine at Saint Elmo’s Historic District? I had no idea what we would find here. You see, back in 2011, four of us toured the southern end of Colorado. One of the many places we photographed, was Animas Forks, which is a ghost town. Some of us were thinking that Saint Elmo’s would be more of the same.

Saint Elmo’s is a ghost town and well worth a visit, but it is also a touristy place. That said, there is a gift shop, a United States Post Office, and many old worn out buildings where the towns people lived. Some of the homes still have the resident’s names on them.

There was also an old steam engine buried in the dirt. It must have been quite a rail back in the day.

In addition to the places mentioned above, we also took a rail ride on the Georgetown Loop. This ride takes you across the Devil’s Gate Bridge and into Silver Plume. It’s about a 45 minute ride and it’s absolutely worth your time to relive the life and times of the mining age. Mining tours are also available.

Cynthia SperkoPhotographs and text Copyright 2017

View more of Cynthia's railroad photography on her website, and follow her photo stories on her blog.

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