John and I are train buffs and we try to ride them as often as we can. Unfortunately, it has been a long time since there was a good opportunity to do that. I enjoy the ride and the scenery. John enjoys both of those aspects, as well as the sounds and the chance to study the train engine.
Saturday, we rode the Verde Canyon Railroad, a 40-mile trip along the Verde River through wilderness from Clarkdale to Perkinsville. First John spent some time looking at the two engines--F-7 diesels. Isn't that a great eagle painted on the side?
The Verde River was lined with trees turning yellow. The clear sky was reflected in the stream. This shot gives a good view of both the river and the train.
Open cars are an amenity that makes rail fans happy on tourist trips. This train had one open car for each traditional Pullman coach. As you can see, most people spent the trip outside. We had perfect weather for that, sun but not too hot.
There was a lot to see in the canyon. First we came on a Sinagua Indian cliff house. Theses southwestern Indians lived in the area during about the same time the Anasazi lived in the four-corners area of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.
In addition to the Sinagua ruins, we saw what archaeologists believe is the remains of a Hohokam pit house. Look at the dead tree in the center, surrounded by a low stone wall. The Hohokam were Indians that built extensive canals to support their irrigated farms along the Salt and Gila Rivers in Arizona, south into Meso-America. At the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in Coolidge one of their last and largest structures can be viewed.
Some American Bald Eagles live year-round in the canyon. Others migrate through. Here is a shot of an eagle nest on the canyon wall.
Later we saw one of the Eagles. He was a long way away, so this picture is a little fuzzy, between the extreme telephoto aspect and the moving train. But you can see it really is an American Bald Eagle.
We also saw this magnificent Great Blue Heron down by the river.