Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Verde Canyon Railroad, Arizona

Clarkdale, Arizona is not a very big town, but it's a destination many people visit because of the Verde Canyon Railroad.  I was with two other solo women RVers who took the trip yesterday to a ghost ranch called Perkinsville.  There are closed cars to ride in, but I spent the most of the trip in the open car.  This is where you see the best views, and where I spent my time.  The enclosed cars are nice, with a small snack bar and comfy seats.

The terrain included desert valley, a small river and towering red rock formations, some of which had to be cut in order to build the track years ago.  A 680 foot tunnel was constructed through the highest rock formation, totally blocking any light when the train passed through.  In some areas, the rock walls towered over the train only a few feet from the tracks.


The Verde River follows the tracks, sometimes close and other times hidden from view.  Sometimes the river has large banks with huge trees and grassy areas, other times it meanders through a canyon area with vertical rock walls.


In one area, there were remains of a few cliff dwellings left from the Sinagua Indians, some dating back to 600 BC.


It took us about 2 hours to reach Perkinsville, where they took the two locomotives from the front of the train and attached them to the caboose, so they didn't have to turn the train around.  After a short time, the train started back to the station. 


During the entire trip, there was a narrative with some of the history of the train as well as music, songs about trains and travel.  Since the train is based in Clarkdale, they played "Last Train to Clarksville" as we started heading back to the depot. 

The scenery was spectacular and varied, as shown in the photos below.  It is really hard to capture the magnificence of the area.  In order to see the tops of some of the rock formations, you had to look almost straight up.  The photos below show some of the varied landscape.  It was a great afternoon of traveling.

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