Friday, February 28, 2014

Rain Shower in the East Tintic Range

How I miss the west! I've lived in Texas now going on 18 years, and while the popular image of the place is decidedly "western," I tend to disagree.

Utah. Now THAT is the west.

While I do like the enormous weather overhead here on the Southern Plains in the springtime (and it's coming up again right soon), to me, the real wide-open spaces are found west of the Rockies. You can still get lost in yourself out in the Great Basin, be far away from any other human being and hear nothing but the sound of nature--it's so quiet sometimes that you'll swear you'll hear the molecules of the air around you buzzing as they rub against each other.

It would be hard to choose a favorite single place. I certainly love the high desert southwest of Salt Lake City, in the East Tintic Mountain Range where Union Pacific's Lynndyl Subdivision climbs across Boulter Summit. This piece of railroad was constructed in the early 1900's as part of the Leamington Cutoff project, which featured a new line bypassing Provo west of the Oquirrh Mountains. It's beautiful country, juniper covered mountains and sagebrush.

On this day, September 5, 1990, I'm near Lofgreen siding as the eastbound LVSC (Las Vegas-Salt Lake City) long-distance division local descends the grade behind an SD40-2 and C30-7. It'd been raining here moments before, and the clouds have parted to bathe the scene in a mixture of sunlight and shadow, accented with a fleeting rainbow. The air is rich with the smell of rain, wet sage, and mountain juniper. The bright yellow locomotives just complete the scene.

I wish I was back in those mountains again today. It'll have to wait until a vacation sometime in the future.

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