The train depot, built in 1896, is where I pick up my ticket before getting ready to board the train that will take me on the second highest tracks in the USA.
The Leadville Colorado railroad train, already at an elevation of 12,500 feet, will rise another 1,000 feet on this train ride.
As I board, I find that I have my own seat in the caboose, all to myself. I sit back in the chair, open the window, and let the Rocky Mountain air cool my skin as the whistle blows.
The beauty of the Arkansas river valley below is stretched out before me as the train makes a wide turn that shows off her power. Two of Colorado’s highest peaks, Mt. Ebert and Mt. Massive, create a spectacular view. A female deer and her young doe stare at me for a moment before hopping the tracks and disappearing into the trees.
After a bit we come to an old water tower, marking the mid-way point of our ride. You can see the Climax Molybdenum mine and Fremont Pass from here. I feel like I can see the entire State from this vantage point. A light rain starts to fall.
I head to the dining car to get a snack and see the other train cars. I walk drunkenly along the rickety cars, loving the side to side motion as the train rolls along.
The rains passes almost as quickly as it arrives. The air feels even fresher, if that was possible. My smile is not contrived, but a true reflection of how happy I find myself in this moment.
So, if you ever have the chance to ride a train, any train, I highly recommend it. The sweet sounds of “All Aboard!” may be just the ticket you are looking for.