I practically grew up in a ski resort in the Chilean Andes. My dad worked in the hotel, so we went up every weekend. The roads were never good in winter, and the only way to get there was by train. The train ride took around four hours from the nearest town, Los Andes, but for some reason it never seemed that long. I always remembered an old man that used to get on at a station in the middle of nowhere with a basket covered in a white cloth with sandwiches and bottles of juice. In the early 80’s the train stopped running.
Last December, I went up into the mountains with my kids, and we walked down the railroad tracks through the long dark tunnels dug into the rock, and finally we stopped at the rail men’s house high up on the side of the mountain; though abandoned many years ago, everything was still there. My kids were impressed and wished they’d been able to live those days, but they grew up in another time with good roads quickly cleared of snow.
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Colleen Purcell is a freelance photographer living in Santiago, Chile. Her photos have appeared in Meadowland Review, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Subliminal Interiors, Foliate Oak, and Off the Coast, among others.