In 1900, completion of the Cascade Tunnel bypassed the switchbacks, but trains still fought severe winter conditions on high mountainsides.In 1910, storms stranded two trains at the little town of Wellington, just west of the tunnel’s mouth.In addition, some species of Fn C are gested, and they may be regurgitated alive at some distance from home.Fn Cs are filter-feeders, taking in oxygen and very small pieces of organic matter—mini-plankton and tiny pieces of leaves that were broken down by other leaf-feeders—through one siphon and releasing wastes and indigestibles through the other.Thanks to the efforts of many volunteers, the old lines and tunnels were recently reincarnated as the Iron Goat Trail, with the old Cascade Tunnel as its star attraction. Examining all of these perplexing images, I found one that was at just the right angle, and understanding began to creep in: Just by chance, my camera had pointed directly into a stream of tiny particles.But the old tunnel still has its ghosts – or does it? Two weeks later, I returned armed with a powerful light, and was able to video an invisible mist of tiny droplets streaming out of the tunnel mouth.I researched and hiked the old railroad until an unmarked fragment of abandoned highway led me to the west portal, arriving at the tunnel mouth as light dimmed and shadows crept out from the trees. My poor camera had been trying to focus on this flow, and had failed miserably.Armed only with a cell phone and small headlamp, it was clear that the phrase “…creepy old tunnel…” could have been coined just for this place, with its dark, echoing interior, fallen rock littering the floor, walls oozing moisture, water trickling out of the tunnel mouth, and impenetrable darkness beginning just a few feet inside: As water dripped from the ceiling, I shone my headlamp down the tunnel, and aimed the feeble flash of my cell phone camera into the opening. Later images with a powerful lamp showed this flowing mist as a fine fog, streaming out of the tunnel like an invisible river.
A haunted old tunnel, a tiny alpine marsh, and tiny creatures that traveled thousands of miles and shouldn’t be there. Protozoological perambulations often lead to offbeat and fascinating destinations, of which Washington’s Iron Goat Trail – No.The Bug Lady at the University of Wisconsin (my favorite environmental educator) says of these nonconformist molluscs: “…Fn Cs are tiny (most are less than ½”), but there’s a lot going on in that little bitty space. They have a foot—a muscular appendage that they extend and contract in order to move ahead and down—but no head, and they have muscles that open and close their shell.