The silence of the slow moving snow storm in Southwestern Colorado is broken by the crunching snow under my feet. But once paused, you realize it's not all completely silent. Off in the distance you can hear the scraping of the State DOT's big rig snowplows making easy work of these flurries as they attempt to keep US Highway 550, the North/South corridor of this part of the state open. Beyond that, a quiet staccato soon breaks over the faraway trucks. The crescendo of a lone steam engine begins to pierce the still air as a ninety five year old workhorse announces her effort to lift a 13 car train up the this face of the Rocky Mountains.
Then, the imminent arrival is announced by a steam plume weaving in and around the hills below. Louder and louder the cacophony becomes until finally, the locomotive and train round the corner into the narrow defile of Elbert Creek which will allow it to continue its northward journey into the Silvery San Juans.