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Thread: Colorado Buffalo Creek to Foxton, Then and Now, Trains and Canyon (20 Pics)

  1. #1

    Colorado Buffalo Creek to Foxton, Then and Now, Trains and Canyon (20 Pics)

    Took a late afternoon ride this cold winter day. Snow showers off and on. A snowy November has given way to a relatively dry December thus far. This has enabled taking the bike on a scenic and historical ride while on my way to the grocery store deli for din-din .

    From Buffalo Creek to Foxton the "natural surface" road was built on the old Colorado & Southern narrow gauge train bed, basically from #2 to #3 on the map below. The road is along the North Fork of the South Platte, and includes portions of the Platte Canyon.

    Took pics from the saddle of the GS. With temps in the 20's didn't feel like getting off the bike . After the pics and ride was complete I'm sitting here at the PC and wondering if there are any historical photos of the same area. Had I researched the pics beforehand I could have tried matching locations. Oh well, here's the ride and the history...

    First, two images of the train in the canyon... 1930's:

    Before I turn onto the train bed road at Buffalo Creek, I take two pics showing evidence of the past. The old train bed in a pasture...

    and an old train bridge crossing the river...

    I turn left at Buffalo Creek and see immediately the old train depot. You know I just noticed, the stones of this structure look very similar to the stones from the train bridge above...

    I found this 1925 image of Buffalo Creek. One can see the depot in the middle. BTW, the structure to the left (now a country Catholic church) and house to the right are still there. One can see the Cathedral Spires mountain to the far right...

  2. #2
    Here I continue down the road. Cathedral Spires up ahead. North Fork of the South Platte to the right. Gold medal trout fishing by the way...

    Zooming in on the Spires...

    Now here is a cool image find, from famed western photographer William Henry Jackson... the Cathedral Spires 1889! Long time ago. Jackson would often put people in the picture to help with scale. Note the train bed we are now on.

    The train would often bring Denver visitors for wild flower viewing, staying at mountain resports, etc. One such place was Ferndale, with old large cabins on the river tucked in deep woods. During the summer it's very idyllic looking at the warm glow of lights in these rustic lodges, with travelers and renters today, much like almost 100 years ago. Here's the walk bridge over the river to the lodges. This bridge was rebuilt eight years ago after a forest fire induced flash flood wiped out all the bridges along the river. Here's a link to the story...

    Found this 1910 image of the Ferndale bridge...

    One of the lodge cabins today...

    Inside one of the cabins 1910. Kinda interesting to see what the inside looked like almost 100 years ago. I would enjoy this for a peaceful stay...

    How about a 1910 pic of some of the visitors having some R&R in Ferndale!

    Many boulders have tumbled into the river from above over the years. But you know, after looking at the Jackson pic above, I wonder how many were lodged there from the train track construction?

    Here's one of several places along the river with no access to the home, after the walk bridges were blasted out by the Buffalo Creek flash flood of July '96. My guess is they wade the river to get across? Brrrrrrr. Even in summer.

    OK, we're at the old townsite of Foxton. Essentially a ghost town today. There might be a resident or two on a weekend in the summer. Maybe. But that's about it. Found this nice image from 1929, looking down the tracks at the town.

    And I came kinda close to having an image in the vicinity of the 1929 one...

    Here's the post office circa 1950's...

    And here it is today. Not would I say is much of a going concern...

    Following this I rode through some ice sections in the shade to the grocery store deli and brought some piping hot chinese food home for din. Stuffed it into the tank bag with the camera. Leaving the store the snow was coming down hard and I got nervous as I rode through it for several miles in the dark. Fortunately, it was just a squall and things cleared the remaining 20 miles home. Here's to history, memories, and good riding!

    BTW, while on the ride I was reminded I did the same thing this past summer. This time hammered by rain, and I put it to video somewhere here in this forum. OK, here it is...
    Last edited by sfarson; 12-16-2004 at 11:38 PM.

  3. #3
    El Dookey loves to ride. 99007's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Ada, MI (outside Grand Rapids)

    Thumbs up

    Great. Cool. Thanks.
    Don't winterize; Rounderize!

  4. #4
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    SE Michigan

    Great to see the historical pics, too!

    Thanks for another guided tour through some of Colorado. I just loved seeing your photos and some of the historical stuff you found of the same locations. It really gives a feel for how little some things have changed. Thanks!

  5. #5
    Rally Rat YB in IN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Bloomington, Indiana
    Great ride report again. I love to see pictures of Colorado.

  6. #6
    this rocks. great job with the photos and the research.

  7. #7
    Rally Rat BMWBEAUTY's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Denton Texas
    Fabulous Ride Report and Awesome Photos.....Thanks For Sharing....

  8. #8
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    State of Confusion
    Very cool

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  9. #9
    Thanks everyone, It was fun putting it together. Especially after finding some historical photos of the area. How about the picture of the 1910 travelers up the canyon? I can look at that picture a long time. Same for the inside of a Ferndale cabin. And the big train engines. Seeing the same Foxton structures as were there 75 years ago except for a train track in front instead of a dirt road for the GS. Oh well, I ramble on. Good riding!


  10. #10
    On the Road
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    SW Florida--The end of the earth
    Thanks for the post with the Colorado pix!

    Not sure I want to ride in the snow. Our rides are more like the posts by SuperMoto7 in Clearwater: palm trees and sunsets.

    But keep those photos coming. Love to see other spots, especially different from home!

  11. #11
    "Road Worthy" LRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    It's great to see then and now!!! Thanks for the excellent report.
    BMWMOA# 114168 IBA# 19606
    "Road Worthy":

  12. #12

    Thumbs up

    Sweeeet Pics!!
    Compared to Florida you live in a spectacular part of the US. I totally enjoyed riding around in CO over the past summer.

  13. #13
    I really enjoyed the ride, Great pictures and history lesson, the now and then aspect is great. Den
    "I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth."

    S. McQueen

  14. #14
    Wow. What a great set of pictures!


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