Yesterday, we again took advantage of the railroad pass that John won last year from the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad. We took the train out of La Veta, up to Fir, for another concert.
But before we got to Fir, we passed the spot where a train car spilled barley several years ago. In late summer and fall, before they go into hibernation, bears need 20,000 calories a day. This year, because of drought, there is very little natural food available. We were delighted when we saw six bears as the train climbed the pass. Here are photos of two of them.
On the way back down the mountain in the afternoon, we only saw one bear. In the past two years we have seen a bear here in the park each year. We haven't seen any this year. But that doesn't mean they aren't around. They frequently go dumpster diving at night. One evening, between 9:30 and 10, one of the rangers found one at a dumpster. He had loaded his shotgun with bean bag shells and shot the bear. It ran away. But it hasn't stayed away. It just waited for another day. Even more scary is the fact that the same ranger saw a bear at about 6 pm last week. It had already tried one trash dumpster. That is before dark and it wouldn't be at all unusual for a camper to walk to the trash at that time of the evening.
The Whistle Stop, a barbeque place in La Veta, serves lunch at the concert site. Since the location is accessible only by rail, I asked them how they got the food there. They drive up early in the day in this old van, which is equipped with wheels that run on the rails.
Our train to the concert was pulled by a diesel engine, but the train that came up from Alamosa was pulled by this steam engine.
Sid Masters was the opening performer at yesterday's concert. He is really funny and sings country-western music, much of which he writes himself. We enjoyed his singing.
This couple twice got up to dance to his music. They were really good.
The featured act of the day was a group called "The Rifters." They sing sort of folk music. I could picture them in a small coffee house, singing without the amplifiers. Maybe that's where they were 30 years ago. They were good, too.
This was the finale, "The City of New Orleans" sung by Ed Ellis, president of the railroad, and Sid Masters and The Rifters and three other performers who happened to attend the concert.
It was hot and sunny all day when we attended a concert at Fir in July. Yesterday it was cool, cloudy and windy. Most of us were pretty bundled up for an August afternoon. We were at 9400 ft above sea level, of course.