Virginia Hiking: Rain

It might seem severely disappointing to step off a train into the pouring rain, you know? A weekend full of being outside planned, an eighteen hour train ride, but here I am stepping off the train with a huge smile like an idiot. In that moment, rain means a lot of things. Rain means no snow. Rain means no ice. Rain means it’s literally 50˚ warmer here. Believe me, I’m cool with getting wet.

Like I said in my last post, I grew up in a cabin in Manassas, VA, but the area I grew up has changed radically from when I was in grade school to today, and is now just another part of D.C.’s suburban sprawl. This doesn’t sit too well with my country-livin’ folks, so they’ve moved progressively west to stay away from it all. I’ve got no problem with that, as they’re moving further into the hills and where all the state and national parks are!

So, the first morning back home, a trip was made out through George Washington National Forest. A lot of careful footing on wet rocks and scrawling across muddy hillsides, while not activities I’ve done in recent years, come second nature to me despite being twice as tall and much more swole, bro. Feet are still just as huge as they were when I was a kid though. That night, while my clothes were hung up to dry, I fell asleep curled up on the floor next to the wood stove with the dog by my side. The vague familiarity of other stoves, dogs, and floors is hard to ignore.

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New Orleans        San Francisco

San Antonio          Oakland

Austin                   Portland

Los Angeles          West Glacier

St. Louis                Philadelphia

Washington, D.C.   Whitefish


The Sunset Limited

The Coast Starlight

The Empire Builder

The City of New Orleans

The Cardinal

The Pennsylvanian


More photos, and sneak peaks, on instagram.

Thoughts and other nonsense on twitter.



That's all the planning I do.

Using Amtrak to travel around the western US, I started Railpass as a 15-day train trip to circle western America, explore new areas throughout the U.S., have surprising adventures, and document the experiences.

Taking only a few cameras, a bicycle, and a change of clothes, each stop on that route was a full day's worth of adventure. The train rides between destinations offered a chance to talk to other rail-travelers, recuperate, and (of course) blog here.

This blog started as a photo-journal of that trip, and continues to be updated with further adventures via train.


My name is Brent Knepper.

I'm a freelance photographer from Chicago, IL. My first Amtrak trip happened when I skipped class in high school and took my bmx bike with me from rural Virginia to New York. My parents have since forgiven me.