The next couple of pages describe our trip on the Heber Valley Railway, a mountain railway that runs various routes around the Wasatch Mountains.  We took the railroad from Heber up Provo Canyon.  We wanted to see the fall colors before the trees in the mountains all dropped their leaves.  We got some great photos but there a lot of them so this photo essay is quite a bit longer than my usual.  There are 49 photos in Part 1 (below) and 63 photos in Part 2.

We chose this fun excursion Saturday to celebrate our 3rd anniversary the following Monday.  To see what we did on our actual anniversary Monday, click on the link for our anniversary 10/15/07.

The day was cloudy and raining all morning.  There wasn't enough sun to highlight the
mountains for a long time so most of our first photos taken from a distance were so hazy
you could hardly see the crest of the mountains.  But it was a fun day anyway.  One thing
that became evident later in the day was we were seeing some of the first snow fall on the
tops of the mountains.  Even in this photo you can see tiny patches of snow in the
extreme upper left of the mountain peak.

The ski slopes at Park City need more than tiny patches to keep them going, though.

But we weren't going to Park City.  We were headed to Heber which is also on the other
side of the Wasatch Mountains from where we live.

As you can see by the signs, the ski areas will get really popular in a few weeks.

But we came to see the fall colors and ride a little historic mountain railroad.

And the fall colors were there in abundance even through the misty morning.

The horses on the many horse ranches we passed didn't seem to mind the cool, wet
weather.  They probably appreciated the extra green grass which always comes in the
desert following a good sprinkling.

And there's our destination, "Heber City."

Through the wet windshield of the car, it's hard to see the charm of this neat little village.

Here's a large statue in a park where we had to turn.  It's reminds me of a Remington.

I had to pull over and stop the car soon as I saw this tree.  It was ablaze with orange and
gold.  It almost lit up the cold morning with it's warmth.

There were lots more trees and other scenery to see soon as we reached out stop.

Heber is a bit higher than Salt Lake (which is 4,300 feet).  Good thing we arrived an hour
early.  Murky as the weather was, the parking lot filled quickly.  There were enough people
to fill too coaches with passengers.

As we waited to board, I thought the lady with the blue jacket looked familiar.  I later
discoverd who she was.  More about her in a moment.

We looked around as the engineer pushed the cars together to "build" the train prior to
our ride.

Then the conductor stepped off the train and made some final checks before letting us all
know we could begin stepping on.  I was kind of disappointed he didn't shout,

As passengers waited the final moments before boarding, Linda and I finally got a better
look at the lady in the blue jacket.  It was our friend, coworker, and staff member from
the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on temple square where we work in the World Wide
Support zone of the Family and Church History Department.  With her were also two other
ladies we go to church with in the Salt Lake 2nd Branch.

I found out they were "cousins", distant relatives who had "discovered" each other through
genealogical research.  I asked, "How are you related."  They said, "Jamestown."  Boy, was
I getting excited!

I said, "1613?"

They said, "Richard Pace!"

We all laughed as we realized we were all cousins !!!  hahaha

Linda later found out she was also related to our coworker/cousin through her Watkins line.
This trip was becoming very unique.  We've been calling each other cousins ever since. 

We had to laugh at the odds.  We probably had a greater chance of winning the lottery than
finding distant cousins whom we already knew on a mountain railroad in the Rocky Mountains.

We asked our cousin to take our picture so we could capture the moment.

By then, I was beginning to wonder where the warmth was comming from.  It was only
40 degrees outside but quite comfortable inside.  Ahhhh, now I see.  This old 1920s style
historic railroad car is heated the old fashioned way.

The fireman/brakeman/engineer was an old railroad retiree with a great sense of humor.
He said the stoves in the other cars could burn coal but this little pot-belly stove only
burned, "Go Fer wood."

"What's gopher wood", I asked.

He said, "You burn one piece then you Go Fer another one."  He turned to another
passenger and said, "He's kind of slow, isn't he?"   Hahahahahahaha

Back at our seat, Linda was busy looking out the window at the town of Heber City (pop.
about 10,000).  A road sign blocked a letter on this school sign that says, "Rocky Mountain
Middle School."  We both thought that would be a neat school to attend.  The Wasatch
range forms part of the Western edge of the Rocky Mountains.

We could see the mountains that the railroad would pass in the distance.  The train would
meander beneath these peaks on it's way up Provo Canyon.

One building that immediately caught my eye is this one.  We saw lots of these things
on the way out here.  I don't know what they are.  Could be some kind of cellar.  If
anyone knows, please tell me.  The buildings look low and sometimes partially buried on
one side.

As we took photos of the buildings we passed, our friends were keeping an eye on the
scenery out the other side of the car.

These llamas caught our eye.  We didn't see a lot of domestic or wild life on this trip.

Except for fish, that is.  The fish and game service says there are thousands of fish per
mile in this rapid little river.  We saw lots of fly fishermen fishing for trout.

Curvy roads like this remind me of the switchbacks you see sometimes zig-zagging up a
steep mountainside.

Our friends pointed out how low the water was in the reservoir.  We didn't even realize
we were looking at a reservoir until they said that.  Looks more like a field.

The flatter part of the "field" later began looking like a reservoir but this part of it was
lined with colorful desert vegitation.

Sometimes the colors of the surroundings literally leaped out at us as we passed by clumps
of trees.

But the meandering streams remaining in the bed of the reservoir showed us how really
dry it had been all summer.

Water for the Provo River is fed by streams like these.

As we looked more closely at the edges of the "field" we could see how dry it had

Toward the lower, deeper end of the reservoir, it became more apparent this truly had
been a place for holding water.

Our friends told us how the authorities had to close down boat ramps like this one because
of the drought.

Around the edges at the deepest end, you can see how the low the water level had
reached.  It looked to us like it was a good 10 or 15 feet below it's highest level.

Linda kept trying to take a picture of the train rounding a curve and finally got this
great photo looking through the windows of the coach car we were in.

With still photos, it's hard to visualized how much the cars rocked back and forth even
though we were only travelling about 20 miles per hour most of the time.  That's why
they call it the "Heber Creeper."  Dating from 80 years ago, this is no fast train.

They had to go even more slowly in places to keep us passengers from being concerned
with the rocking side-to-side as we passed places steep as this.  Linda took this photo
of the water looking straight down out of the window.  The drop is less than 30 feet but
I wouldn't want to get there in a train wreck.

I watched the cars as one would rock left while the one in front of it rocked to the right.

Our conductor announced the dining car (or club car as I call it) was open for business.

Other passengers got up to get lunch while Linda and I sat and looked out the window.
Here's a photo she took of the dam at the end of the reservoir.

Across the dam we could see all the highway construction going on around the Provo
Canyon Highway.

I had waited long enough.  It was time to get something to eat.

As we ate, we had to stop occasionally to capture more photos of the colorful trees.

There was always more color diversity along the Provo River.

The curves in the river told us we were getting closer to our half-way point, a little park in
the mountains.  You can see more of that in the next section.  Scroll down for the link.

You can click your browser's Back Button or just click on this link to go to Heber Creeper Part2.