Weminuche Wilderness

	Chicago Basin Area 

Enough is enough! It was time to get away from the pressures of modern society and get back to nature, back to Colorado! Jason and I decided to take the advice of a good friend and fellow backpacker, DaveO, and hike into the Chicago Basin area of the Weminuche Wilderness. I made reservations for two on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (1-888-TRAIN07) for the morning of 7/29/98. This old coal-fired, steam locomotive would take us deep into the San Juan Mountains, home of the Weminuche Wilderness. For regular passengers, the train travels from Durango through to Silverton, Colorado, but it stops to let off backpackers at two locations, Needleton and Elk Creek Park.

Jason and I packed up our gear and headed on another long drive from Ft. Worth, Texas to Durango, Colorado. We arrived in Durango on the night of 7/28, finally found a motel room, there was a big rodeo thing going on and almost all the hotels and motels were packed, and hit the sack. We were dead after the long drive, but were excited about hitting the trail! The train left at 7:30AM so we got up early, ate a big breakfast, and boarded the train. Our destination was the Needleton drop off. The train followed the Animas river through the San Juan mountains, hugging canyon walls along the way. Even if you are not into backpacking, I highly recommend taking this scenic train ride! The views were beautiful! After a couple of hours riding into the mountains, the train stopped at Needleton, and we hopped off eager to see if the Weminuche Wilderness was as breathtaking as DaveO said it was.

Fresh off the Train.. Hitting the trail!

Trailside sites!

Campsite in the Chicago Basin.

Enjoying nature's majestic beauty!!

The trail to Columbine Pass was steep!

Jason nearing Columbine Pass.

The final stretch to the top.

Atop Colmbine Pass 12,680ft!!

More of Weminuche's beauty!!

Boarding the train, heading back to civilization.