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.