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Does it snow in the central Washington desert? You bet. Winter does not bring a lot of accumulation of the white rain here, but with the desert wind it can get bitterly cold.

We are perched on the hillside above the Columbia, as an eastbound Hanjin stack train with BN's ubiquitous SD40-2s roars up the grade out of the gorge. At this point several miles up the line from Columbia Siding, the tracks have ascended hundreds of feet above the river and navigate through repeated S-curves and high fills.

The view from a sand quarry along highway 28 provides the spectacular panorama of the gorge climb seen below. Another eastbound intermodal struggles up the hill. A Santa Fe GP60M is seen on the point; a rarety on this line.


The dry climate of central Washington allows for photography that lends itself to the feel of Nevada or New Mexico. In the summer the temperatures are equal to those places too. Washington state has many contrasts in weather and climate. Only about 40 miles west from here are high rocky mountains and rain forests.
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GO: < WEST EAST > Copyright 2001
Iron Horse America