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kristianne koch riddle photography
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[photography is] land cruising

After our visit to Granite Peaks Ranch, CO we hopped on the Durango-Silverton Narrow Guage Railroad in a vintage coach. Grampa Grampa (actually Gramma and Grampa but since Merrik started saying GG over a year ago we don’t want to change it) drove the Cruise America RV to Silverton to pick us up.

The train ride was spectacular to say the least. Narrow, scenic, steep; we followed the Animas River north through the San Juan Mountain Range. I had a rush of memories fill in as we chugged deeper into the mountains. I had spent a month in these mountains as a mountaineering guide for Colorado Outward Bound School back in 1996. It was an amazing experience. I fell in love with the San Juan area immediately even though it was so different than the Sierra that I held deep in my heart. The San Juan range is so ‘Colorado’ to me so it was fun to be back there sharing it with my family.

We ended up in Silverton and enjoyed lunch at the The Pickle Barrel Restaurant before heading over the Million Dollar Highway to Ouray. The drive was HAIRY! I wished I was driving because I would have felt more in control. I think I had sweaty palms the entire way. It is an amazing engineering feat. We set down in gorgeous Ouray and nestled into our beautiful RV site just down the road from the Ouray Hot Springs Pool. This is another quite memorable Colorado place for me. Back in 1995 I escaped to Ouray in the winter to go ice climbing in the famous Box Canyon.

Our trip continued the following day when we drove from Ouray to Moab visiting Colorado National Monument along the way. It was a long but scenic drive in an area I had never been before. Our visit in Moab was brief because the following morning we were up before daybreak to get on the road to Grand Canyon National Park.

Along the way we stopped to take in Monument Valley at the Navajo Tribal Park.

I was really impressed with the Little Colorado River Gorge. If you ever go to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, I highly recommend entering from the East. It was a magnificent drive up to the first lookout at this famous National Park and you get to pass this pretty little version of the Grand Canyon.

This trip wasn’t exactly a photographic journey but more a family adventure because we were at most of these beautiful and historic spots right in the middle of the day with the harshest possible light for photography. It was a wonderful family trip and we really enjoyed every aspect of it. I loved visiting the Grand Canyon for the first time with my family.

After a long day on the road, it was kind of fun settling into a scenic campground with the modern conveniences of the RV. Definitely a different way to travel than cruising with some similarities that we liked.


  1. Reply

    Sabrina Schroeter

    August 22, 2010

    Love the pics and the story!! Reading your stories always piques my interest and makes me think of what my next adventure will be!!

  2. Reply


    August 24, 2010

    Hi Kristianne – these are staggeringly beautiful. You have an incredible eye and such a wonderful way of combining stunning landscape with the human side also. Your compositional and processing skills are enviable. Particularly love the ones of the kids on the train – fab BW conversion and sense of movement. Love also the ones with your parents (am assuming they are your Mum & Dad!) such wonderful memories for all of you.

  3. Reply


    August 24, 2010

    Wow! Love all your comments. Thanks so much for taking the time!!