Monday, February 20, 2012

Away and Westward Bound


The day is ending out in the Eastern Montana Badlands - another day is over on America's Resourceful Railroad.  Dry grasses rustle along the lineside poles that still trace the path of the Milwaukee Road here, but scavengers and scrappers have long since removed anything of industrial value.  It is July 2003 near Terry, MT and the end of rails on Milwaukee's Pacific Coast Extension.

In 2003 I first found myself out along the Milwaukee's far reaches under the big skies of Montana.  Summer days were long and the weather was hot.  Over the next five years I would return to the state several times to trace further the roots of this unforgettable, yet fading, relic of America's past.  My traveling companions were an old Suburban, a Pentax LX loaded with Fuji slide film (later replaced by a Pentax digital body), and the Man upstairs who put these travels on my heart in the first place.  The old truck and the Lord were reliable - the primary LX had occasional problems that required the use of a backup LX that was taken along 'just in case.'  Miles and years faded under foot and rolling wheel of the suburban.  Sunsets were magnificent and the scenery changed continuously from these dry scenes of Montana to the wet foliage of the Cascade Range.  

Recently, I have revisited the idea of compiling some of the best of these images, perhaps in an informal book.  Over the next several months I will present some of these here on Lost Rail, tracking the line from east to west across the three western states it left behind so many years ago.  Join me as we are off and westward bound.

5 comments:

SDP45 said...

I'd certainly be interested in a book of your photos and prose.

Dan

Jon said...

I'll be making the trek again this summer west to east: Beverly, WA to Terry, MT. Last year was an incredible adventure! Fish Creek, Vendome and Eagles Nest are incredible places. Visiting the line between Harlowton and Great Falls as well this year.....can't wait!

oamundsen said...

Yes, we need a book of your great photos and warm, poetic writing to convey to another generation the power of a vision made into physical engineering, being much more than simply its steel and concret components. Other railroad writers have been mentioning how the generation with first hand knowledge of the rich, multi sense experience of great train travel is fading fast and we must pass on as much of this as is possible so future iterations of rail travel can be measured as "progress. Get it done soon, Leland, I am getting old quickly!

Anonymous said...

Yes!

MB Line said...

A book would be great!