Tillamook Railroad Hike with Sam
A section of the Tillamook Railroad
between mile markers 795 and 802
Saturday, July 12th, 2008
My friend Sam is a railfan and has done quite a bit of exploring of and hiking on railroad tracks throughout his life. He had told me about a couple of these hikes that he wanted to take me on. I was sort of skeptical about the whole thing, but I decided to check one out, and it turned out to be really interesting. He sort of explained the concept of this activity as a way to go to places that were pretty inaccessible via other means, since railroads cut through sections of terrain where there are not necessarily any other access points. I was picturing seeing some cool scenery and just experiencing some solitude since there probably weren’t too many other people doing the same thing.
The things that ended up being the hightlights of the trip were a bit different. First of all, I learned some things about railroads that I never knew before. I got to see some awesome railway trestles, a tunnel, various utility machines, track components and switching devices that I’d never seen up close or at all before, and Sam was able to share some of his knowledge of all these things with me. Second, and equally amazing, we got to see the effects of a major storm that happened the previous winter that had, to our surprise, rendered the railway unusable for the time being. The damage was pretty severe, and apparently what we saw was not nearly the worst of it. I felt priviledged to be able to see it and photograph it up close.
And as a disclaimer, I just noticed a statement on the Tillamook Railroad website that the tracks are closed to unauthorized use and that they will prosecute violators for criminal trespass. Also, as is obvious, walking on active railroad tracks, especially on trestles and in tunnels could be extremely dangerous, so I am not recommending it. Don’t try this at home.