Thursday, October 29, 2009

Riding the Mt. Hood Railroad–Part 4, returning to Hood River

Soon, our train was making its way back down the from Parkdale, Oregon and on back to our starting point in Hood River.

On our return trip, I got a better view of the forgotten logging town of Dee.

Looks like its not completely abandoned, those are honey bee hives that are used amongst the fruit orchards during the pollenating months. 

Old sidings can still be seen branching off from the main spur line, some are still usable, others are like this one next to this old barn, where the road is too close to them now and there’s a stop sign sticking up in between the ties. 


Coming back down the hill to the Y switch that was used on the railroad to make the tracks fit in the narrow valley without having to try and curve the tracks around to zig zag up the hill. 

Another piece of history that wasn’t visible to me on the ride up. 

The large pipe is a remnant of the hydroelectric power plant that used to supply the entire city of Hood River with its power for a great many years.   It was shutdown a year or two ago because of a stink raised by environmental groups, trying to force this change or that change on the plant.  In the end, the little power plant couldn’t afford to make the changes and shutdown the plant. 

Crossing over the Hood River, we’re just outside of town now….

Remember that lumber mill from the ride up?  We stopped on the way back and picked up several more cars to bring back down with us that will later be picked up by the Union Pacific railroad to continue their journey to their customers. 

Back in Hood River at last, a quick tour round the station and then Dawn and I say our farewells to the little town and its neat little railroad and start to make our way back home. 

Riding the Mt. Hood Railroad-Part 3, Touring the town of Parkdale

Once we had reached town, our little excursion journey had reached its halfway point.  We all disembarked the train to visit the various little shops in town and explore the local museum. 

While we wandered around, the crew of the train backed the train down the tracks a ways to the last siding they had passed to uncouple the locomotive from the front end of the train to move it around to the opposite end so that it was ready to pull the train back down the mountain again. 

As the train pulled away out out site, Dawn and I drifted off to explore different bits of the town of Parkdale.  I started out my explorations by drifting about the grounds surrounding the Hutson Museum, whose property borders the Mt. Hood Railroad tracks. 

Dawn and I meet up again briefly to watch the crew back the reversed train back into the station. 

Then I’m off to tour the inside of the Hutson Museum proper.

Now, I’m no rock hound, but this museum has a rather impressive geological collection in their display cases.  Including a number of crystal pieces that took a couple of closer looks before I realized it was rocks that had formed that resembled various pieces of food!

In addition to the geological treasure trove, they also have a fairly extensive collection of items from the area’s history of logging and farming. 


I collect old radios like this one, love it when they still work Smile

For those not familiar with the Northwest, these two pictures below are of the Columbia River and the Indian tribes that used to fish for the Salmon in the falls in the days before the giant hydroelectric projects were built that tamed the river and made it navigable by boat and barge. 




Some historical pieces of the Mt. Hood Railroad itself. 





This model is actually of Timberline Lodge, the beautiful trade mark of Skiing on Mt. Hood.

Old Highway 30 along the Columbia River gorge before it was rerouted in a number of spots and the old tunnels filled in. 

The Oregon Parks department has slowly been finding old sections of the highway and restoring them.  Several of the lost tunnels have now been dug out and restored, though cars can no longer journey through them. 

A five mile stretch of the old highway, with tunnels similar to these is now an Oregon trail that can be walked or bicycled. 


Time flies by rather quickly when you’re enjoying history and soon we needed to scurry over to the little diner in town that fixes the lunches that come with the excursion ride and pick up our meals and return to the train for the ride back down.