Take a train ride above the clouds

Mt. Webster looks more like a volcano from this unusual perspective under the Willard Brook Trestle

This Saturday, with the weather a balmy 30 degrees in Crawford Notch and all my camp chores behind me, I took a hike that’s long been on my “to do” list. For years, I’ve looked up at that train trestle that seems to hang off the side of a cliff under Mt. Willard on the west side of the notch. During the summer, a tourist train hauls curious leaf-peepers through the notch to Highland Center and beyond. But in the winter… nada. Just a wide open trail a thousand feet above the notch. Perfect!
Starting at the Highland Center, I just climbed onto the mostly still buried tracks and walked. Easy grades, mostly protected from the westernly wind and wide open views in every direction. I’d estimate the trestle was about a mile from Highland, and though no trail was beaten out that day, the snow was hard enough to make using Stablicers ideal. Everyone knows how fabulous the notch looks from Willard, so I’ll skip those details. What was amazing on this hike was the iron trestle itself. Known as the Willey Brook Trestle, this beauty is 100 feet high and 400 feet long. The railroad itself opened in 1857, though I’m not sure how old the trestle is.
It was a bit tricky getting down under the trestle, but some old foundation blocks created the perfect staircase. There’s also a lot of oil and grease spilled around on the rocks underneath but if you’re careful, you can get some unusual perspectives. I just spent all afternoon crawling around taking pics. The sun was directly overhead and I had my small camera with me so I experimented with some shots, blowing out the backgrounds for example and highlighting the contrast to make the pics seem older. Here’s a couple of my favorites. The rest can be found at our digital picture site at: http://danandmeenakshi.phanfare.com/4616007#imageID=96171096

It took a little work to get down under the trestle for these shots, but it was worth it!

You can see some foundation blocks off to the right of this photo. I used those to climb down under the trestle.

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4 Responses to Take a train ride above the clouds

  1. Does it just shut for the entire winter? Mind not gonna get far through that snow! Looks pretty thick in places

  2. Hi Dude,
    Yeah, it doesn't operate from November-ish until May. It'll shut down earlier depending on the weather. Lots of mini-avalanches across the tracks when I went through, not ideal to have tourists up there when that happens! Used to be a significant passenger line, now it's pretty much just for tourists. Perfect winter hike though. Nice ride in the fall, too – all those pretty leaves!

  3. Miriam says:

    I love bridges. My dad's a civil engineer so I've grown up visiting all sorts of bridges. Trestles do make for great pictures.

  4. Thanks Miriam, it's a beautiful place, made all the more satisfying by the fact that it's hard to get to!

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