Tuesday, July 12, 2022

The White Cascade by Gary Krist

Several years ago I hiked along The Iron Goat Trail, named after the goat symbol of the Great Northern Railway. (Links to photos I posted are below.) I had been asked on this hike by a friend and had no idea of the history of the trail and the disaster that had happened at the east end, near the western portal of the original Cascade Tunnel. After seeing the many signs describing locations and events, I decided to read The White Cascade. I have just finished it again.

Krist does a good job taking readers through events leading up to the deadliest avalanche in U.S. history with 96 deaths. He introduces us to the workers and passengers. He details the efforts to keep the train cars from being blocked from traveling west and to safety by an unusual, overwhelming and unrelenting snowfall. Krist describes the avalanche through the eyes of survivors then the efforts to find those survivors and get them to safety. Lastly, there are the lawsuits.

The deadly avalanche at Wellington in 1910 is unknown by many, even those of us living in Washington State only an hour or two from the site.

I highly recommend this book. While Krist may have included more information than I thought I needed to know, I appreciate the way the information is presented as the story is told.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Gary Krist
is the prizewinning author of three novels and two short story collections. His book reviews, short stories, articles and travel pieces have been featured in many major publications. He has been the recipient of the Stephen Crane Award, the Sur Kauffman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland with his wife and their daughter.

Holt paperbacks, 352 pages.

Here are links to my photo blog with photos of The Iron Goat Trail. The trail follows the railroad grade, along tunnels and under snow sheds to Wellington. You can see the posts from my photography blog:

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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