The Splendor of Autumn in the Four Corners

I’m a Hoosier. I grew up with four seasons, all very distinct and Autumn was always my favorite. When I was young my friends and I would rake up enormous piles of leaves for the sole purpose of diving into them like a swimming pool. We would burrow through them not once considering the insects and parasites that might be dwelling there. And then my parents would burn them and the smell was intoxicating; to this day it’s still my favorite scent.

In 2010 we moved to Texas and although there are a great many things I love about the Lone Star State it’s lack of proper seasons is not one of them. For four years I mourned the absence of colorful leaves falling from the trees and crunching under my feet only to later be burned, filling the air with that Heavenly scent. So when we took off on our traveling life one of the things I hoped for was to again meet my old friend, Fall. But I didn’t expect it in New Mexico. If you had asked the Indiana me what I thought New Mexico was like I would have said a vast desert. And it’s true that there’s a lot of that kind of landscape, but the Four Corners area isn’t one of them. As the weather started to cool the trees began to change and although they are lacking the reds and oranges that I’m used to the yellows are brilliant! When the light hits them just right they look as though they have been set ablaze. They are perfectly beautiful.

Here are some photos. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Fall in the Four Corners

Fall in the Four Corners

Fall in the Four Corners

Fall in the Four Corners

 

I love the orange of pumpkins!

Riding the Rails

After leaving Cloudcroft in August we traveled up to Northern New Mexico and settled in Bloomfield at the Desert Rose Resort.  This location has us right in the Four Corners region where New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona meet.

four_corners_map

 
I’ve circled Bloomfield.

This puts us in close vicinity to several monuments, ancient ruins, and fascinating rock formations (like Ship Rock).  It also puts us close to Durango, CO and the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which two weeks ago we were able to ride.

Durango Silverton Train

 

We had an open-air gondola which was definitely the best way to travel. The air was wonderfully brisk that day and at any time you could rise from your seat, stick your head out to watch the river go by or search the sides of the San Juan Mountains for golden Aspens.

The excursion would normally have taken 3.5 hours but as our train ‘threw a pin’ it was more like a four hour ride.  After chugging along through some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen in person, we finally arrived in the village of Silverton; an old mining town that now exists seemingly only for tourists.

Silverton, CO

Upon reaching Silverton the children and I immediately began our ravenous quest to find a restaurant while Jim stayed behind taking pictures of the train that had totally captivated him. He finally joined us and after devouring our food and stopping in a few shops it was back to the train for the journey down the mountain.

On the ride down the seats were switched so that passengers would have the opposite view of what they had going up. This was all well and good until we came to this…

 Durango train on the edge

This is where I had to sit down with my head turned away and say, “I’ll see the pictures when we get home.” Do you see how close the train is to the precipice? And to top it off everyone in the car came to look out this side of the car. I was mentally screaming, “Go back to your own seats. Are you all crazy? There’s too much weight, you’ll tip the train and send us plummeting to our deaths!” Thankfully I kept that in my head.

Although I am sure my fears were justified, we did make it back to Durango safely.

My daughter Ivy made the observation while on the train that people who rode this train originally would have thought it was very exciting to ride in a car and now we have cars and think it is exciting to ride in an old steam engine train. She’s right, it was very exciting.