With Hannah's graduation ceremony from Northern Arizona University on Friday May 8th and my parents visiting from Canada for the event, we decided to check out the Verde Canyon Railroad on our way to Flagstaff.
Arriving in Clarkdale about an hour before our 1pm departure, we had time to chow down some buffalo burgers. Soon enough boarding began and we were placed in living room seating in appropriately enough, the Flagstaff 1st Class Pullman. Champagne and a buffet spread added to the ambience as the vintage FP7 diesel engines gently pulled the passenger cars out of Clarkdale.
We passed some ghost town history looking at the remnants of the smelting operations and the massive slag heap. The Tapco Powerplant remains that supplied the electricity to the smelting operations could be seen beyond the slag heap.
In contrast to the modern day ruins, we soon passed multiple prehistoric Sinaguan ruins consisting of cliff dwellings and granaries.
Crossed S.O.B. Canyon trestle with a gentle curve offering one of the first views of the train from start to finish as is arced along the route. We soon crossed a flat mesa area with various scrub bushes and prickly pear cacti.
Eventually we track along the Verde River as the canyon walls begin to box up. We pass a couple of groups of backpackers following the cowpaths along the Verde River. This gives me a thought that a canoe/kayak trek down this section of the Verde could be in order...
We enter the relatively short tunnel where the canyon walls have literally become shear cliffs. Soon we cross the Verde River on an old steel box truss bridge as we enter the private Perkins Ranch lands. The sign indicates "Perkinsville" and the train enters a siding to allow the engines to switch ends to allow the turnaround to be completed.
We retrace our route with the advancing afternoon shadows creating different effects on the canyon walls. As 5pm approaches, we roll back into the Clarkdale station where we disembark and continue our travel to Flagstaff via Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon.
Friday marks Hannah's graduation ceremony at NAU where she's presented with her Honors Biochemistry Degree - congrats Hannah!