A 1909 Excursion
Can you imagine? Fifty-five cents for a round trip train ride to see a baseball game played by “ballologists stronger than a Dutch lunch.” First of all, the sign uses a metaphor, which basically makes my day. Second of all, the notion that “all weak spots have been eliminated” is truly entertaining. Third, the use of the word “excursion” pretty much sums it up: in 1909 train travel in the Wallowa Valley was an excursion.
Nowadays, we’d have to go a few miles deeper into to the mountains before we can rightly call something an excursion, but I suppose I like that too. Just past Wallowa Lake is a trailhead steep enough to make you flip ass over teakettle. Hike about a fifty yards and the Lake will be out of view. Hike even further and you’re heading into heavily carved high peaks, the East and West Forks of the Wallowa River cutting up the canyons.
I like to imagine that this time year, the silence up there would be deafening. Of course, it could be screeching—high wind ripping down the slopes and bringing with it a blinding curtain of snow. But somehow in my mind, I think of huffing through those snowfields and onward, a few miles to Aneroid Lake. It’d be peaceful there, the whole valley at your back and miles and miles of fantastic wilderness before you. The only way in is the hard way (ok, you could fly, too, but that’s cheating). No trains here, folks, and no thumbing your way back home.
With the doctor’s approval to do yoga, go on walks, snowshoe, and bike for the first time in four months I’m already chomping at the bit and this has to do with trains because I had to drive all the way to La Grande, Oregon to see the foot doc. The yellow rail cars I mentioned earlier this week are numerous along the way, and someone helped me discover a little more info about them in this press release.