Planning and building a prototype-based layout such as the SP Cascade Line is supported by a variety of research methods. Books, commercial photos and maps can go a long way, but a feel for the geography is often best accomplished by on-site reconnaissance.
An opportunity for such research occurred during travel to and from the NMRA PCR/PNR joint convention in Medford. Additionally, the timing was perfect (early May) for capturing the Cascade Line surrounded by Spring foliage. Spring scenery presents opportunity and challenge for modeling, but a key ingredient is on-site observation and photos. The following images are but a sampling, arranged as though climbing the pass.
This scene at Hampton, at the top of Lookout Point reservoir, shows the Spring foliage below 1000 feet altitude. Most deciduous trees have bloomed with apple-green leaves. Spring grass is vibrant (but watch out for hay fever coming!). Though this shot is at the top of the reservoir, the streams are running full.
This image from a little further up toward Oakridge shows even the moss on the rocks is light green.
At Oakridge, grass has required cutting and even the oak trees are leafing out.
Higher up, approaching 3000 feet at Salt Creek Trestle, Spring blooming has just begun. Spring yellow mixes with chartreuse against the dark green Douglas Fir backdrop.
Looking geographic East, we see hints of snow on the mountain tops.
At the 5000 feet level, the deciduous trees have largely disappeared. What is there is almost invisible in its late winter form. Snow covers mountain tops and is on the ground in the shade.
At Cascade Summit, the rail line is clear, but snow covers the ground in any shady spot. Note that the current owner of the Cascade Line is replacing the signals, with the former searchlight targets already removed from the signal bridge at the summit. The new signals are the shielded tri-color “stop lights” on the aluminum-painted masts on both sides of the track.
The images and observations from this trek will provide inspiration and challenge for future modeling efforts.