View single post by elminero67
 Posted: Sun Dec 2nd, 2012 10:53 pm
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Joined: Sun Dec 27th, 2009
Posts: 968
After partially hijacking Martin's thread, I thought Id continue the story here. A condensed version of this appeared in the Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazette a few years back. I apologize if it is a little offtopic from the Torres & Prietas RR

Back when I was a touch younger I worked as a firefighter for the United States Forest Service. Good times, got paid to see some of the most beautiful country in the US. One summer, I accepted a position on a remote island off the coast of Alaska. Before I left, I did a little research and found that on this island, which was about 70 miles long and 40 wide, several abandoned mining towns were located, which I figured would be easy to hike to. I figured wrong. As I found out, getting around Chichagof Island was not easy...First of all, the island has the densest Alaskan Brown Bear poulation in the US, with three bears per square mile. Because of this, USFS employees were required to carry a loaded 375 bolt-action rifle at all times. Its no joke. Not only was walking around the rainforest somewhat unsafe, it was almost impossible to walk anywhere as the growth was so thick that you couldnt see the bears or get a shot off if you did, and ground so marshy that even walking a few feet off of one of the few roads on the island was a really, really bad idea.

Having said that, I soon learned from the locals that not only did a couple of the abandoned mining towns have narrow gauge railroads, but rumour had it that one of the narrow gauge locomotives was still at one of the ghost towns. As both me and the oldtimer telling this story had a few cold ones in us, I didnt take it too seriously. But nothing else to do without TV, radio, phone and lots of daylight, I grabbed a coworker and we set off to play the role of "mythbuster".

The first two attempts to find the ghost town and narrow gauge railroad failed. Although there was a road within 1/2 mile, the forest was so thick, swampy and downright nasty that we couldnt find the townsite. On the third attempt, I caught this out of the corner of my eye:

Last edited on Sun Dec 2nd, 2012 10:58 pm by elminero67


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