Pentax Iron Goat Trail, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Location
Seattle
Name
Andrew
Another of the seemingly never-ending settings of natural beauty in the state of Washington, we tackled this roughly 6-mile trail a couple of days ago. I brought the K-1 II with not the 31mm Limited, but the humble Pentax-F 35-70mm f3.5-4.5. And it once again proved that while it's not the sharpest lens, and might have some distortion at some combinations of focal length and aperture, it produces images with a lot of that Pentax special sauce, nonetheless.

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Some more to come. All edited from RAW in DXO PhotoLab 5.
 
The trail follows the remains of a railroad which was built in the early 1900s on the steep side of the mountains near Stevens Pass. It consisted of a series of tunnels and tracks covered with snow sheds. Even with the protection from the elements, it only lasted for a few decades before landslides and avalanches rendered it unusable, and subsequently it was all but lost before the modern trail was developed. A good section of the trail runs alongside the remaining tunnels and wall.

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As with the most recent photo above, there is a mix of construction efforts from the very early years before 1910, where many immigrant workers helped hew tunnels out of the rock, to more refined construction towards the late 1920s. many structures still have dates visible.

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As with the most recent photo above, there is a mix of construction efforts from the very early years before 1910, where many immigrant workers helped hew tunnels out of the rock, to more refined construction towards the late 1920s. many structures still have dates visible.

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I know its my own eclectic and quirky tastes probably, but in this outstanding series of images, Andrew, my favorites are in your third post - and almost all of them have the old tunnels or relatively ancient stonework (from the late 1920s that you mentioned). It's hard to put into words exactly why that might be, but for me they seem to exude a sort of somber presence that makes me want to study them more. The whole series is great. And your little F-series 35-70 zoom lens really does nice things.
 
I know its my own eclectic and quirky tastes probably, but in this outstanding series of images, Andrew, my favorites are in your third post - and almost all of them have the old tunnels or relatively ancient stonework (from the late 1920s that you mentioned). It's hard to put into words exactly why that might be, but for me they seem to exude a sort of somber presence that makes me want to study them more. The whole series is great. And your little F-series 35-70 zoom lens really does nice things.
Thank you sir! The somber presence was completely palpable on the trail as well. I couldn't help imagining these walls and tunnels as remnants of an ancient empire... which they are, in a sense: the empire of rail which preceded our modern infrastructure in the west.

Some folks claim the trail is haunted by the sound of the old train whistle. We didn't hear it, but the sound of a freight train from the modern route on the other side of the valley was quite surreal, including the drawn out squeal of wheels, coming with a sort of echo across the intervening space. One of my new favorite spots for sure.
 
Haunted by the lives of the Chinese workers who built it or perhaps by the First Nations who were displaced and killed.
Indeed, though I don't know that this project in itself displaced Native peoples. But I'm sure the Great Northern Railroad in entire did some of that. Also it was no great time to be of Asian extraction in the western US.

But then, it's easy to focus on the negative aspects of history, as a way of counteracting the propaganda of previous times. Life was a difficult challenge for nearly everyone during these times, except for the few who put up the(ir family's) money and reaped the lion's share of the benefits.
 
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