The Empire Builder picks up speed as it leaves Vancouver, WA. I vary my positions in the train trying to capture as much as I can. It is a stunning ride up the valley past hundreds, if not thousands of pleasure craft, their occupants enjoying everything the river can offer on this hot afternoon.
The sun starts to make her descent toward the Pacific and soon the shadows are growing longer. The hot air is crystal clear and, unlike our westbound arrival, we have clear views of Mount Hood as we ascend into the higher land. Passing Hood Valley, the mountain is resplendent in shape and size. I am now the closest as I will be on this trip. And as the miles stretch into hours Hood can still be seen but growing more distant and obscured as the cliffs of the Columbia Gorge steepen.
Somewhere past Wishram, WA, I lose sight of the mighty mountain altogether. I’m very, very sad.