chapter  5
9 Pages

Another ascent of the Rockies

The afternoon’s travel was broken by a two-hour wait on a siding only an hour north of Missoula. Finally an Amtrak passenger train sped past and we reclaimed our tracks to begin another ascent of the Rockies. The late afternoon sun kept slipping behind the mountains, then reappearing as we climbed higher and higher. The train worked hard and the ride was slow. We spent hours without conversation, and in the privacy of our trip I felt a deep loneliness. As we passed one of the few towns on the route-Thompson Falls, Montana-the train veered close to the houses and I watched people through their windows, sitting down to supper. The tramp crouched in his corner, by now just a dark shadow. I felt lost in the din of the train and the approaching darkness.