Rocking pristine British Columbia. On the 3rd day of the 2011 White Pass Rotary Run, the White Pass Rotary Fleet presses north out of Canadian Shed, toward White Pass Summit, Fraser and points north. Gone are the 15-20 foot snow-filled cuts that made photography darn near impossible and now we're plowing snow that is more in line with what the machine was built for. Here, we see Rotary #1, with her team of pusher locomotives, climbing out of a somewhat shallower, but still snow-filled cut, tossing out massive contrasting plumes of snow and smoke. We're definitely making our presence known in a normally quiet, pristine wilderness where only the Canadian Lynx and Snowshoe Hares are moving around at this time of year.
Take note of the odd-looking tracks in the snow in the foreground. Most viewers will probably guess that those are snowshoe tracks and that would be correct. Those of us who were photographing the rotary this day were indeed using them to avoid post-holing in the deep snow. Fortunately, the cooler morning temperatures were keeping the snow firm and the snowshoes were not breaking through. Another interesting feature to note is the plowed furrow of snow ahead of the rotary. Because of the very deep snow in the White Pass and Canadian Shed areas, the railroad had Caterpillar Bulldozers running ahead of the rotary, to break up the "Canadian Concrete", which had accumulated over an entire winter season. That stuff was very dense. Although the dozers were probably no longer needed with the shallower snow depths here, they were still running ahead, breaking a trail and that's what you are seeing. I still scratch my head as to how those Cat operators knew where the tracks were, under perhaps 3 feet of pristine snow.