Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mt Hood Railroad, Hood River Oregon

For Christmas one year, because we have every THING we need, we received the gift of an adventure: two tickets for the Mt Hood Railroad. We didn't plan it this way but our trip coincided almost exactly to the day, 200 years earlier, when Lewis and Clark traveled the same area.

Beginning from Hood River, Oregon, the train departs from a station in the sunset shadow of the historic Hood River Hotel.  We were assigned to the Katherine car, an ancient conveyance with a domed ceiling and bench seats that reverse for the return trip.  When  we started moving, we quickly realized that old train travel is not a quiet, peaceful experience, amid the creaking of the car and the bumping on the rails.

A short distance from the Hood River station, the train switchbacks up the side of a hill, then passes through farms, fields and woods.  I felt like I was on a fast, noisy hike.  The end of the line is Parkdale, Oregon where we got off the train and wandered for about an hour-- through a small museum, a funky antique store and down the street for a great view of Mt Hood. On the return trip, we visited a fruit packing company. The tour included a (brief) stop in a 32 degree cold storage area and a stroll through a small museum in the plant. 

Because this continues to be a working train, it hauls more than passengers on occasion. We stopped to pick up cars loaded with lumber for transport to Hood River. We then creaked and clacked our way back to the Hood River station with the smell of fresh lumber trailing behind.

To get to there, take exit 63 from Interstate 84 in the Columbia Gorge. The station is on Railroad Avenue, just south of the freeway. Paid parking is available at the depot.

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