|CSX westbound empty hopper train in the New River Gorge.|
The New River Gorge can be a difficult place to photograph. In the short days of winter, the tracks only see sunlight for a few hours. It's 9:55 a.m. in the above view from Kaymoor, and shadows still cover part of the river and the entire southwestern wall. The two main tracks of CSX's New River Subdivision run on opposite banks of the river here, built to serve coal mines on both sides. (You can see the extant conveyor of the Nuttalburg tipple at far left.) Most vantages require a hike and only afford a view of one track. There's little advance warning on the trains, so usually I just pick a spot and wait. Sometimes everything runs on the track that I can't see, or nothing runs at all. But the river speaks to me, the hawks and buzzards keep me company, and sometimes it all comes together.