Monday, February 2, 2015

A Century Later: Snowy Serenity

My county is creating a recreational trail on the unused rail line running through the middle of my preserve.  Full completion is scheduled for late summer 2015, but significant portions of the trail are in place and in use.

Kali and I have already developed a favorite loop hike that incorporates a section of county trail and the trails in my preserve.  We've walked it quite a few times.

Last Saturday was crystal clear but cold.  I suggested that we walk the loop, but Kali demurred because of the low temperatures.  So, I went out alone with my camera.  After I took the single image above, the camera's battery was fully discharged and I couldn't take any more images.  (Don't you hate when that happens?)
Sunday was warmer by about 15 degrees, but the sky was overcast.  Nevertheless, Kali agreed to walk the loop.  So, I took the same image in a horizontal orientation on Sunday.

This rock cut along the rail line right-of-way is of significance because this cut was the site of a horrific train accident on December 5, 1921.  Two passenger trains traveling in opposite directions collided head-on and the passenger cars caught fire.  Many passengers were injured and 16 were killed.  This accident was the "straw that broke the camel's back" with regard to wooden passenger cars; they were banned soon afterward.

Below are two historic images of the accident in the rock cut, which is now known as Death Gulch. 

7 comments:

packrat said...

Fascinating bit of history, Scott. I really like the way you've put these images together. I was so captivated by your post I had to Google "Death Gulch" to read other accounts of the tragic event.

robin andrea said...

Nice new/old trail you have there. Looks like a great place for a walk. Those vintage photos really tell quite a story.

Scott said...

Packrat: Our land trust, along with the local historical society, sponsors an annual walk to the site on the Saturday closest to the anniversary of the wreck; it's a very popular program. The county plans to commemorate the wreck with appropriate interpretive signage when the trail is opened.

Scott said...

Robin Andrea: The trail IS very nice. Kali thinks that people will abandon the trails through my preserve in favor of walking on the new county trail which is, admittedly, in better condition because it's high and dry and out of the floodplain, whereas my "companion" trail running parallel on the opposite side of the creek, is in the floodplain and is often badly damaged by flooding.

packrat said...

Not astounding by any means, of course, but it does amaze me how some of those trees today seem to have grown back in the exact spots they occupied in yesteryear.

Scott said...

Packrat: I was checking that out, too, but if didn't strike me that they were located so similarly.

Mark P said...

It's really interesting to see the same location all these years later. I'm pretty sure I have heard of that train collision, although I couldn't tell you where.