Day 221: Spanish Peaks

Laetitia’s group gathered in Chama, New Mexico, a mountain community 7875 feet above sea level that is one of the starting points for the Cumbres-Toltec Railroad. Both the Durango-Silverton and Cumbres-Toltec roadbeds were once part of the Denver-Rio Grande Western Railroad. The group boarded the train and marveled at the scenery as it made its ascent from the Chama Valley and crossed the high trestle over rushing Wolf Creek. As they neared the summit of Cumbres Pass (10,015 feet), they saw a group from the Spanish Peaks Mule and Donkey Association on a trail ride. The woman leading the group was on an especially fine animal, of which she seemed quite proud until it saw the train and began braying loudly, much to her embarrassment.

After stopping for lunch in Osier, the train continued on through spectacular high mountain country to Antonito, Colorado, where the elevation is less and the ground more level. The Cumbres-Toltec track runs along the New Mexico-Colorado border, crossing back and forth several times. Although you may not have heard of the Cumbres-Toltec Railroad, you may have seen it without knowing it. The Cumbres-Toltec Railroad was used for the circus train chase scene in the third Indiana Jones film. Its wooden water tower was also used in the film.

Their bus met them in Antonito, and they drove to Santa Fe and checked into the La Fonda Hotel for the evening. They walked around the Plaza, and some of her guests bought turquoise and silver jewelry from the Indians in front of the Palace of the Governors. At dinner, Laetitia ordered an appetizer for the group of guacamole prepared at the table. Between the appetizer and the arrival of their entrees, she presented the limerick of the day.

A fine lass who rode near Cumbres Pass
Was quite proud of her beautiful ass
That hadn’t a flaw
Except its “hee-haw,”
Which was loud, obnoxious, and crass.