Sunday, December 23, 2007

2007-12-23 Cascadia by Train, Day 2

As part of our winter holidays, we (Seamora and Tafyrn) took the Amtrak Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Vancouver, B.C. It is a forty hour trip, and the train never arrives on time, but it is a spectacular trip notwithstanding. As we travelled, we have taken photographs to share.

We woke up as the train was traversing the highlands of Oregon. We sadly missed seeing Mt. Shasta, as it was dark when we passed by earlier in the morning; however, we were rewarded with many views of vast vistas of snow. When we arrived in Klamath Falls, even the taxis were covered with a fresh dusting of snow.

The volcanic origin of the landscape was still very apparent, despite the snow cover. Many of the cuts into the hillside along the rail right of way exposed different types of rock, showing areas where less viscous flows were overlain with pyroclastic deposits.

The day was very overcast, and the closest we saw to blue sky was a faint rainbow in the far distant snow clouds. As we started to descend towards Eugene, the depth of the snow deposits varied between half a foot an a foot. It was interesting to see how localized the temperatures were. Some areas that were higher, and one would have thought would be colder had no snow remaining on the trees, were other lower areas had trees covered with snow.

As we descended, the snow faded and was replaced by numerous streams and puddles. Some of the rivers we crossed looked to have high levels of flow. At the rail yard in Oakridge, we saw a set of Union Pacific engines coupled to a plough car, which had evidently had some use over the past week.

To the north of Oakridge, there is a red covered bridge that spans a river. Every time we travel on the Coast Starlight, we try to get photographs of it, and this time, we succeeded. They had even placed a large wreath at one of the entrances.

As we approached Eugene, we passed by a large reservoir. From this point onwards, the signs of human habitation increased in density. Our train was delayed in Eugene, but we soon made up time as the tracks north of Eugene are much better than those to the south.

Sadly, it quickly got dark due to thick rain clouds, so we were unable to take many more photographs.

It was a wonderful trip, and surprisingly, we arrived almost on time! Shocking!

We will post our full gallery of photographs from the trip in a few days, when we have a chance to upload them.

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