Hike the eight mile loop of Iron Goat Trail to see the remains of an old train station and the unused tunnels that long ago transported people and goods through the Cascade mountains. This trail, located sixty miles northeast of Seattle, will take you over small creeks on wooden bridges and through a colorful forest of evergreens, ferns and alders. But beware the ghosts of the fallen, for this place had a tragic ending that resulted in the deaths of many.
Late in the 1890’s a railway was constructed through the Cascade mountains, connecting the Pacific Northwest to the rest of the world. The trek over the mountains was hard on the engines of the trains, so in 1900 the Cascade Tunnel was completed. This allowed the trains to travel through the mountain.
The major downfall of traveling by train, through mountains, is that the winters can be absolutely dreadful. It was common for trains to be held up for days to allow time for snow removal from the tracks.
1910 saw the destructive fury that winter storms are capable of in the mountains. Two trains, a passenger train and a mail train, sat delayed at the Wellington depot. They were waiting out the nine day storm that occasionally would drop down a foot of snow an hour.
It’s believed that lightning struck above the town of Wellington, at the top of Windy Mountain. This started a massive avalanche a half a mile long and a quarter of a mile wide. Roaring down the mountainside, the heavy snow picked up boulders and knocked down trees, taking everything in it’s path.
The avalanche missed the town of Wellington, but the Wellington Depot and those poor, unsuspecting people were not so lucky. The wave of destruction obliterated the depot and sent the trains rolling down the mountains. The boulders and trees added force to it’s strike, crushing the trains and passengers within.
It took twelve days to remove the snow from the tracks, so the bodies had to be removed by sled. Ninety-six people lost their lives that day. There were only twenty-six survivors. This avalanche holds the spot in history as being the most devastating the United States has ever seen. It was so devastating that the town of Wellington, not wanting to be associated with such tragedy, changed it’s name to Tye.
Mysterious sounds can sometimes be heard around the old tunnels and near the ruined depot. People have heard echoing voices, when no one had said anything. Sometimes a phantom avalanche can be heard roaring down the mountain. Others have noted feeling cold spots or having spine chilling sensations.
With that many lives lost in a single swipe of nature, it’s easy to believe that a few spirits are still clinging to the area. The ones who haven’t accepted what happened to them and the ones who don’t know what happened. Maybe even some who are angry about it, the vengeful spirit type. You’ll have to go see for yourself, to decide.