Friday, April 24, 2009

Life On The Rails – Outward Bound

Scenes and reflections from the trip we took on the Mount Hood Railroad keeping ‘playing’ in my mind. The trip was part of my dear little mother’s birthday gift. It was her long-time wish to ride the train and see the Hood River Valley in the heart of Oregon not too far from our home. Last week was the annual Blossom Festival in celebration of the pear and apple blossom-filled orchards that are so prevalent throughout the valley. Some of the best pears and apples and other fruit comes from this Oregon valley. We arrived in Hood River a bit earlier than expected so we had time to drive around town and see wonderful old homes and historic buildings. But it wasn’t long before we found our way to the train station on Railroad Avenue.P4180166Soon we had our tickets in hand and waited in line. Excitement filled the air as we all anticipated the day ahead.

P4180026We walked through the gate and down the track a ways to our car. We were in the Katharine car. Mr. V. helped my dear mother board.


Once inside we could immediately see the beauty of this vintage rail car that was built in 1911.P4180032We found our seats and visited together as others boarded. My cousin, Mrs. C., her husband, Mr. V., and my dear mother enjoyed a bit of conversation together.

P4180030 My sweetheart and I sat just across the aisle from them .


Soon we were underway. Outside our window, Hood River flowed from Mount Hood, through the valley and down to the town of Hood River where it empties into the Columbia River.


Just ahead of us a darling three-year-old girl was delighted to ride the train with her family. We enjoyed her so much as we travelled. Seeing the world through her eyes added to our day!

P4180035It was hard to sit back and ignore the sights just outside our windows as we travelled.


Along the tracks, in the upper valley, many old buildings are used for handling and shipping the fruit harvest.

P4180040 And then – suddenly – the sight I had anticipated and eagerly waited for! There was Mount Hood, standing proud and tall and beautiful above the valley. Oh, I love that mountain! My favorite!!


Long before we came to the upper valley our tour guide gave us the bad news that the blooms are about two weeks behind this year because of our unseasonably cold and long winter weather this year. Although he apologized, he was quick to remind us that this is one thing they can’t control. We could see that the blooms were teeny, tiny little buds that would pop open soon.


In the middle of the valley Mount Adams, in Washington, became visible. I would love to live up there where the mountains stand guard over the valley below!


Mount Hood could be seen towering above the remains of buildings from days gone by. . .


And Hood River as it wanders through the countryside.


Our destination – and lunch stop – was the community of Parkdale. By the time we arrived in the center of town we were ready to get off the train and enjoy our layover. A wonderful park beside the tracks, filled with things to see and do, was a welcome sight. It was such a beautiful place with Mount Hood looming high above.


We had packed a picnic lunch to enjoy in the park beside the railroad tracks. Some passengers had pre-ordered box lunches from nearby delis and cafes. Others ate at the businesses along the tracks or enjoyed the hot meal available at the nearby Grange Hall.


Artists and vendors filled the park with their wares. Our time there was too short and we weren’t able to see everything. This booth was close to our table.


Early day logging camps filled the area and provided a living for hundreds of families. An old logging truck is on display at the park.

P4180060And this ‘sculpture’ was made of some kind of woven fibers or twigs.


There wasn’t time to see and do everything during our layover in Parkdale. Plans are being made to return by car soon so we can stop often to see and enjoy places along the way. We hope to make the drive when the blooms have burst and filled the valley with color and their sweet fragrance. Until we do we won’t ever forget the day we rode the rails – bound for fun together in the sun.

I'll share our return trip with you soon. There was so much to see and enjoy on the way back to the station.


  1. I enjoyed all the pictures from your trip, dear, and I'm glad you all had such a wonderful time.

  2. I love these little field trips you take us on!! :)


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