Despite the less than ideal snow conditions this was still a fun weekend. There were plenty of trains on Friday and Saturday we kept busy despite the slower traffic.
There was still plenty of snow on the ground which made for some interesting images. The high moisture content in the air certainly added some interest as Ross and Steve's photos show. I'm looking forward to next year!
As always you can read more of my thoughts on these photos in my series of posts on Tracks in the Snow at dogcaught:
1. On Thursday night, my travelling partners Robert Scott and Scott Lothes drove down to the Miller River bridge west of Skykomish to attempt a photo of an eastbound freight climbing up from Baring. That evening the Miller river was already over its banks with overflow crossing the Old Cascade highway in a dip. Just like the desert southwest washes this dip allows the excess flow of the river to cross the road without destroying the it. I’m sure this is a much more cost effective means to handle the occasional flood on such a lightly used road. By Friday evening the road was officially closed though many locals and law enforcement forded the deluge in the dip anyway. Of course the early 20th century era railroad bridge was not affected by the high water
2. In the past few weeks BNSF has moved a number of westbound baretable trains to the Port of Seattle. It seems one moves every third day. These equipment repositioning moves help the railroad reposition cars when the movement of containers is not equivalent eastbound and westbound. While these moves don’t generate any revenue they are certainly necessary so that the next revenue generating train can run.
3. On Stevens Pass Amtrak’s Empire Builder (trian #7) usually arrives westbound around 7am. In the summer a good sunrise photo can be made of this train but in the winter it is still over an hour before good daylight. On 1/14/2011 Amtrak met an eastbound freight at Merritt and then began its ascent of the hill. At 7:10am it passed through the area known as “The Slot” illuminating its surroundings with the artificial light from the headlight briefly bringing a brightness to a deep canyon in the Cascades.
4. Dark shadows are the only thing on the fruit trees west of Monitor, Wa. In about 4 1/2 months the trees will be in a splendid bloom and by early September the harvest will take place. The cold, snow, ice, and low winter sun will long be forgotten by then. Soon after though the cycle of the seasons will kick in again and winter will be back.
5. For the past few years the Tracks in the Snow crew stayed at the Cascadia Inn in Skykomish. Henry and his crew do an exceptional job of taking care of us and catering to our needs. The hotel is always very clean, the food very good (especially the prime rib special!), and the drinks plentiful. On top of that the staff is very friendly and welcoming to our group. On Friday night after a wonderful Salmon dinner with couscous, green beans, and garlic bread I stepped outside to capture the hotel while a rolling meet took place in the Skykomish siding.