ye olde scary things

24 Oct

I am determined to ride a haunted version of every old fashioned form of transportation. Few weeks ago it was the haunted trolley, this weekend it was a haunted train ride. Next week, who knows. Haunted dirigible, perhaps?

About 40 minutes outside Boise is a fun little old-fashioned train company that runs a fun little old-fashioned train, with various themes by the season. It doesn’t really TAKE you anywhere . . . or, well, it does, but it leaves from the middle of nowhere and goes to the middle of nowhere-north, so it’s really just for the ride, not the destination (life metaphor, my friends.). And the ride is just gorgeous, alongside a river and through the mountains and llama farms that make this state great. And since we were doing an evening train we got to see purple mountain majesty sunset on the way to, and some absolutely amazing no-light-pollution-for-miles country stars on the way back.

The Haunted Express consisted of dinner on the train as we rode an hour to a haunted corn maize and pumpkin patch. The food was surprisingly good, if all covered in meat (it was lasagna, meatballs, and green beans. Even the green beans had bacon on them). The tables were cute, the people were really friendly, and we got to run around the train like it was our own private Hogwarts Express.

A costumed conductor walked through the cars and told ghost stories of train crashes past, and tales of tommyknockers and headless cowboys and other local legends. Tommyknockers, for those who haven’t read the Stephen King book (including me. I’m just assuming he uses this same definition?), are the spirits of miners killed in collapses. They supposedly knock on mines walls right before a collapse, to either warn miners of the upcoming danger or to help cause the walls to cave (depending on if you are an optimist or a pessimist, when it comes to ghostly motivations). This railroad line has been around since the mining days, and the route was originally carved to transport miners and livestock. So there were plenty of grisly stories of greed and gumption in them thar’ hills.

The train stops at a curious little junction. It’s just next to the track, with no town in sight, just a train depot built in the middle of the mountain. I’d ridden this train once before with my niece for her birthday, and they had a teddy-bear picnic set up at the spot, so I guess they just theme it up for whatever train is coming in. There were a few fake façade old west buildings, I’m assuming for their Wild West Train. There were also a random assortment of cut-out-face thingys. I can never resist those, and why would I want to?

trick or treating scarecrows

The “haunted corn maize” was really a ten-foot long little outdoor hallway, made with bales of hay. From where we were sitting in the train, we watched the teens who had just been serving us snacks get off the car, put on scary dead-miner-tommyknockers costumes, walk to their hiding places in the corn maize, and lay in wait. It took a little of the suspense away, but it was adorable. Their costumes were actually pretty good, and one of them even limped! Now that’s dedication to character.

Waking up on Sunday morning after the train ride, I kicked Stephen and said “it feels like Christmas.” He agreed, and I think it was because we still had that fun, childish excitement feeling leftover from the train. The kind of simple and carefree joy that usually goes hand-in-hand with Christmas eve.

Or maybe we were just drunk? We did get a free bottle of wine on the train . . .

mmmm, huckleberry wine. Like alcoholic juice.


2 Responses to “ye olde scary things”

  1. vivren October 24, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    I’ve read Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers! It is not about miners’ ghosts. It is mostly about ALIENS.

    Your Tommyknockers sound like such nice and considerate ghosts!

  2. camalittle October 26, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    ALIENS who were ghost miners?? Sheesh, Stephen King, thinking you can just steal the word tommyknockers for your own. Rude.

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