Eric, our guide, met us on time at the train station in Durango and drove us up to Silverton for our 4x4 back-country adventure in the gold mining area north of Silverton. We drove past the old mines, wash plants and remnants of gold miners from the early 1900's. The scenery was awesome and the history of the area was well told by Eric, including old photos and maps. The trip is over rather rough roads and with the open vehicle the wind and sun require some additional protection, I recommend hats, sunglasses and sunscreen. At the higher elevations, you may need a additional clothing to keep warm. The most spectacular view is when you cross over the California Pass at almost 13,000 feet. Primitive bathrooms are available on the route.
You arrive back in Silverton in time for lunch and shopping before boarding the train back to Durango. Great scenery on the first part of the trip back, but once you leave the canyon, the slow pace of the train makes the trip about an hour longer than I cared for.
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