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The TRAIL of the IRON HORSE
A Trip Over the Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains
(by the Moffat Line)

OBSERVATIONS ON THE WAY

ON leaving Denver, the train passes almost immedately into the beautiful Clear Creek Valley, noted for its well-kept ranches, on which, by means of irrigation, fruit and vegetables are raised for the Denver market. A short distance beyond Leyden, with its coal mines, the ascent of the foothills is commenced, as a preliminary to the final climb to Rollins Pass, at an elevation of 11,666 feet, which is the lowest depression in the great Continental Divide, sometimes called "The Backbone of the Continent."

The first object of interest now is the "Rainbow" cut, through which the train passes just this side of Plainview Station, where the first general panorama of the plains appears. There are now thirty-four tunnels, most of them very short, through which we must pass before reaching the summit, No. 30, the shortest, being but seventy-five feet long, and No. 18, the longest, 1,729 feet, or about one-third of a mile. The view of the plains from Tunnel No. 8 is perhaps the most enchanting of any, and from tunnel No. 17, looking backward toward No. 8, is perhaps the best view of the tunnels themselves. The elevation of Tunnel No. 24 is 7,611 feet, that of Denver being 5,170 feet. A large slab of rock that fell near Tunnel No. 29, as the result of a heavy charge of dynamite, and which barely escaped crushing the road builders, can be seen from the train.

After passing the lower group of tunnels, the train reaches Gato Station Canon, the widest and prettiest part of the gorge, just thirty-seven miles from Denver. Next comes Pactolus Station, showing where the placer mines have been worked; and then the town of Rollinsville, where there is a stage line to Eldora, a noted mining camp seven miles away. Next comes Boulder Park, and a little further on Tolland Station, with its pretty lake and wild flowers, fifty miles from Denver, at an elevation of 8,889 feet.

Here the train commences its steepest climb, a four per cent grade, and directs its way toward James Peak, one of the sentinels of the Rockies, from which it winds and curves first to the right and then to the left, continually rising until the pretty park below, diminishing in size as distance increases, becomes a mere dot upon the landscape.

From a water tank just past Antelope Station we see tile snow sheds near the top of the pass, and obtain a remarkably fine view. Again, west of Tunnel No. 33, which is another fine view, showing the banks of perpetual snow near the top of the range.

The view from jenny Lake shows the wonderfully steep grade of the railroad, and also the mountains of rock and slate, grandeur upon grandeur, with the "Arapahoes" on the right and James Peak to the left.

The summit is reached sixty-five miles from Denver, and then commences the decline on the western slope of the Continental Divide, where the streams find their outlet in the Gulf of California.

Far to the west we see the Rabbit Ear range of mountains in the distance. Four miles below the summit we reach Loop Siding, where the train crosses itself in its various windings, and then passes through the beautiful forest of pines, where the trees are so thick as to almost exclude the sunlight.

In a short time the train stops at Arrowhead, from which place the beautiful vista of James Peak from its west side is shown through the trees. The road is now being graded to Hot Sulphur Springs, which, it is expected, will be reached July 1st, and from there it will be extended through Gore Canon and on to Salt Lake City.


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