Fall Colors Along the C&TS

It’s once again time for my annual visit to narrow gauge mecca – Chama, New Mexico. Usually I try to make two trips every year – once to ride and once to chase, but this year I only made this one trip to chase. Blame that on work, two trips to Durango, and never actually being home this summer – this particular trip wrapped up two solid months of never being home for a weekend. Still, I figured with the weather being what it was this year, the first of October should be a great time to see the aspens turning their signature gold color as fall set in across the Rockies. Also, it just so happened that the forecast for Saturday, Oct 1, 2005 was perfectly clear and in the high 70s – good convertable weather, great railfanning weather. So, I shot out of Colorado Springs at 0500h and was in Chama promptly at a quarter ’til ten.

It turned out to be a great day. The aspens weren’t quite at their peak, but good enough. Plus, the cold and rain hadn’t really set in to knock the leaves off, so the foliage was very much lush and intact. (I really detest shooting at the end of fall foliage season, when all that remains in many places is an armature of a tree.) Reportedly, despite high gas prices, the trains for that weekend were a sell-out. It sure seemed that way – the cars were packed, and the eastbound train out of Chama double-headed, with 484 and 487 on the front. It was the usual chase – the eastbound out of Chama, chase the helper back down the hill, catch lunch, and then follow the westbound in the afternoon from Los Pinos down into Chama. All in all, a very enjoyable day. I hope you enjoy the photos.


All photographs in this trip report were taken with a Canon EOS 10D using either a Canon 28-105mm USM or a Canon 75-300mm f4-5.3 IS/USM.

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