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Archive for the ‘Hiking’ Category

Granite Mountain

Posted by joeabbott on January 14, 2019

Just a little post.

My life seems to be a series of super-saturating myself with a single pursuit. I tend to devote a tremendous amount of energy toward one endeavor but move on to other things after a while. On a car ride with a buddy I realized some of that passion sticks around as I was able to recite names and events from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion fantasy novel at length. Anyhow, hiking and mountaineering have been a large part of my life for the better part of the past 25 years and this year I seem to be keeping it alive.

Yesterday we hiked Granite Mountain and I must say it was gorgeous.20190113_104214

20190113_105255Heath picked me up around 6:30AM and we started hiking from the trailhead just after 7:30AM. It was just getting light out so we didn’t need our headlamps as we headed up the roughly 4.5 mile trail to the summit, picking up around 4000’ of elevation in the process.20190113_104347

No one passed us on the trail and the only people we saw were a few people coming down as Heath and I swapped leads easily. Once we hit the open slopes we encountered a lot of chilly wind with gusts probably topping 30mph; the blows weren’t holding us up but they’d push a casual step off the trail or cause you to stumble if it abated quickly. But the skies were a perfect azure and we were the only ones at the summit, making for a short and quiet stay at the top with incredible views.

The march down was hard on my feet as I was wearing my heaviest mountaineering boots, as I’d anticipated doing a little snowshoeing, and the boots weren’t taken care of well when I last put them away. I was told “boots are like people … they enjoy being warm and dry”. Unfortunately, after my Mt. Rainier bid last year, I got home and plunked them on a shelf without prepping them. And now the toe box was collapsing on my toes, causing a lot of pain when heading downhill. But, I’m no stranger to foot pain so after some attempts at adjustment (nothing seemed to help for more than a few steps) I just kept hiking on.

At the end we treated ourselves to a meal at the North Bend Bar & Grill (quite nice place to eat if you ever get the chance) and then home for a long evening of leisure. Granite Mountain is a nice destination to get back into a season of hiking!


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Waiting for snow

Posted by joeabbott on November 11, 2018

While I wait for snow I’m still getting out. A little. I returned to a hike I’ve already done twice this year but, because I tossed out my pictures from the last outing, I’ll make this mostly about the images and not so much a play-by-play of the hike.


While not as cold as any of us thought it might be, we were constant friends of frost in the lower areas and snow in the upper! Winds were low and that made for nice hiking weather. Here’s a shot as we were crossing the Nisqually River.


We had a few river crossings but all on bridges, some more rustic than others. All were less slick than I’d imagined they’d be.


A curious break

I saw this tree last time and, in higher winds, it made passing below it spooky with all its creaking. Today it was silent but still ominous. You can find this on the trail between Longmire and Paradise in Mt. Rainier National Park at about 4180’.


Closer to Paradise

Not only were we seeing more snow, we got views of Mt. Rainier. It was good to see her with a little snow coming back!


Reflection Lake

As per our usual habit, we sidetracked a mile and a half to Reflection Lake … surprised to see it iced over!


Old water pipe

I love the section of the trail that abuts an old water main that brought water off the mountain to some of the lower sections. Coopered pipes of wood, complete with wooden joints, wrapped in steel cable. It’s a fantastic bit of engineering and workmanship.



Coming home

While long hiking trips always energize and feed me, they can also be tiring. A long day of walking in cold and damp weather can be seen in my partner Tim’s posture as we head back across the Nisqually.


That’s it!

Thanks for dropping in and sharing the trail.

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Took a walk

Posted by joeabbott on October 20, 2018

Earlier this year when the road to Paradise from Longmire was closed, my hiking partner and I tried to manage the walk; hiking trails somewhat parallel the road but stay far enough off that birdsong and babbling rivers are more often heard than tires on asphalt. Unfortunately, a bridge over the Nisqually River was out and the fording of that river was too dangerous. But we returned last weekend.


While it’s not labeled on my map, the terminus …  or more accurately, turn-around point … is in the upper right, the Paradise Visitor Center. As you can see, we made a detour along the way to enjoy Reflection Lake, mirroring a hike I did with another buddy a month or so back.

We started from Longmire and as we left the cars, were disappointed at our lack of preparation … we could have used some gloves as the temps were in the 40°s. Although, we quickly gained elevation and the work was good at keeping us warm as we were soon shedding layers and enjoying the hike.


While the parking lot had more people in it than we’d have expected, it wasn’t crowded and we saw maybe 3-4 pairs on the trail as we made the trip up. Early on a pair of trail runners passed us and we shared a few quips. We’d see them again on our way down and it was fun to share another quick conversation before they left us behind.

The trail is broad and in good shape up to the Nisqually crossing and beyond. Somewhere near Narada Falls (where our tracks diverge on the map), it gets rocky and a bit steeper, but then levels as you approach Reflection Lake. Between Reflection Lake and Paradise, we saw a few more people but not many. A few times you will espy your destination if you can manage to avert your eyes from the hulking mass of Mt. Rainier. It’s a big one!

At Paradise we wondered at the over-full parking lot and hundreds of people milling about. Several tour busses attested to the fact that tourist season is still in full swing, perhaps bringing folks up to Mt. Rainier to enjoy the fall colors.

Whatever the reason for the crowds, we finished our lunch and decided it was time to head back. Going down is always easier on the muscles, harder on the joints and this season I’m in good enough shape to only notice the joint discomfort. But, it wasn’t terribly long before we found our way back to the car with thoughts of grabbing a bite to eat at Scale Burgers in Elbe.

I’d share pictures but, after a long session of moving photos about and organizing my pics, I realize I just deleted every last one of the shots from this trip. Beyond sad and disappointed. I can be such a knucklehead.

Oh well … hope your trips are as grand but don’t end on a sour note like mine just did. Alas.

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Just when you think you’ve had the “last hike” of the season …

Posted by joeabbott on September 30, 2018

… the season just keeps getting longer!

Last weekend Suzy and I took a “final bike ride” of the season but it was so nice, we kept our bikes down from the loft to get out again. After my last hike, I had cleaned up my gear for stowing away until the winter snow set in but we had a forecast for 70°F and sunny skies this weekend, so I got out again! The weather never quite reached 70°F or sunny, but it was a gorgeous day nonetheless.

DSCF2613 Stitch

We headed out to Vesper Peak, a moderately remote peak off the Mount Loop Highway in the middle Cascades. A number of fantastic hikes are accessed via this road and I dream of the day I’ll have more time to explore them all, but yesterday I got my chance to get back to Vesper Peak. While I know that I climbed this peak solo in my youth, so much of the actual ascent of the mountain was novel that I’m starting to question whether I’d actually been to the true summit. Regardless, yesterday I made it!


After parking at a busier-than-expected trailhead, we made short work of the obligatory second growth approach and entered a box canyon with fantastic fall foliage popping on every hillside. You head in with Sperry Peak looming above you on your right and Morning Star above and to the left; your objective being Headlee Pass.


I was feeling super-fit heading into the hike, having kept up my regimen of spinning at the gym a couple days a week and getting out for a mid-week hike on a local peak, but the 4000’ vertical feet of gain in the roughly 4 miles to the top of Vesper had me panting and sweating like crazy. My partner, Heath, was more fit than me … and, let’s be honest, 15 years my junior … so I had my work cut out for me. But, I was happy getting there and we didn’t race. We had plenty of stops and I managed my water well, so I had a great time.

But it was almost crowded on the trail! Part of that may have been the “advertisement” Vesper had received in recent months as a young hiker went missing on this route. She was a solo hiker who had been seen by a number of people as she ascended the peak, but no one saw her descending. And her car was still found at the parking lot. She’d been missing 58 days and it was impossible to miss people were still looking for her.

The people looking for “Sam” Sayers (one article is here) had setup some information at the trailhead, had an established camp at the three-mile point, and a helicopter flew in while we were there as they took trained search dogs out onto a nearby lake in the event Sam had fallen into it. A little sad and somber and while it underscores the dangers of hiking (especially solo), it’s a mystery how she could have so completely just disappeared!


DSCF2635After Headlee Pass you transition from steep scree along a bowl to huge slabs of blocky granite, playing a friction game to the top. The going is fairly steep and the footholds plentiful, but a nice, smooth slab might lead you to an otherwise more difficult section. The vastness of the slope makes it hard to put together your route up.


I chose to hike with my poles and repeatedly was frustrated by that decision. Not enough to stow them on the pack, but each time they skittered off and failed to provide purchase, I was reminded to keep my balance and only trust them when I knew their points were set.

At the top I was greeted by roughly a dozen other climbers and some fabulous views; Sperry Peak standing out the most.


While Vesper Peak may not be for everyone, aside from more solitude, I can’t think of anything a hiker might want that’s not here. It was simply one of the nicest hikes I’ve done in a while: a lot of exertion, phenomenal views, and a variety of scenes on the way in and up. While I rest my feet today, I’m sure to be looking over my pictures from the outing again and again.

Thanks for dropping by.

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One of the best hikes ever

Posted by joeabbott on September 16, 2018

I’ve been getting out with friends annually for the last 25 years and we’ve seen a lot of Washington state, but this year we hit the trifecta: beautiful weather, minimal bugs, and some of the greatest scenery around. The outing came with a few caveats, however: one of our number wasn’t able to join us due to back problems, another hurt himself kinda badly on the trip, and we were in deep forest more than I’d like. That said, this outing is highly recommended for anyone! The trails are well maintained, the elevation gain\loss isn’t bad, and at 19 miles for the core trail it’s not abusively long.

Let’s take a look at the trip!

Salmo-Priest Wilderness

See the source imageLocated in the north-easternmost corner of Washington state, the Salmo-Priest Wilderness butts up against Canada and Idaho. Western weather off the Pacific that makes it over the Cascade range starts to collide with the Rocky Mountains, giving this little corner of the world about 60” of rain a year. By contrast, Seattle, a notably wet place, gets a little less than 40” of rain a year.

Our outing was a five-day affair: camping at the trailhead on Thursday and returning the following Monday. Like a modern day Camelot, it only rained once before the trip ended and that was at night. The first night the evening temps fell into the upper 30°s, I’d imagine (based on the need to constantly bury my face in my sleeping bag to keep it from getting too cold), but otherwise the temps were in the 70°F range during the days and stayed in the mid-40°F at night.

This was a perfect trip.

Route overview

Our outing took us in a loop, starting from Salmo Pass Trailhead and returning to the same place after taking a clockwise route along the South Salmo River, into Idaho, up Snowy Top Mountain, and back to the trailhead along the Shedroof Divide.

Camp 1 is about 6.7 miles in; Camp 2 is roughly 23.5 miles in.


While this loop will take you about 20 miles, we added nearly 10 additional miles with our excursions: up Snowy Top, to the burned-out lookout on Little Snowy Top, and some other minor ramblings. That said, stretched over 3.5 days of walking it wasn’t significant. Here’s the profile of our trip.



The first day was mostly just driving; it’s an 8-hour trip from Seattle. But, the roads were clear, we weren’t impacted by any of the recent fire issues (either by smoke or road closures), and I had good company. At the trailhead we pitched our tent, had a little dinner, and oriented ourselves to the proper trailhead. As we were doing a loop, we left from one and came back on another … both trails leave from the same lot but by going clockwise around the loop, we avoided a stiff bit of climbing out of a valley on our return.


Friday was getting to camp, which we did in just a few hours. Again, the trails are well-maintained and we lost 1800’ in the first 3 miles, making that a quick bit of work. We had one minor river crossing at the bottom of the elevation loss, hopping the South Salmo River, but our late-season timeline played well for those with good balance, as we were able to rock-hop from one bank to the other. Tim, chose to test the frosty temps of the South Salmo and ford the river. His report: that was cold.


A couple hours from the crossing and maybe three hours since we left the car, we came to a camp site that we called “home”. It was before noon but it allowed us plenty of time to pump water, find trees for hanging food, setting out a dining area, and generally getting a heavy pack off our backs. This trip was about sharing time with old friends and so we did that … mostly by finding a nice place to read whatever we brought.DSCF2417 Stitch

Later we talked about our jobs, spouses, our buddy back home, and caught up on the happenings in each others’ lives. While we’d all been out together on training hikes, as we’d climbed Mt. Rainier together earlier in the summer, there’s always something new to catch up on.


DSCF2438Saturday started out with a bit of a problem. One of our number took an early morning slip and was impaled by a sharp branch sticking out from a downed tree, but we didn’t realize the extent of the problem. He took care of the issue but we had agreed to hike to Snowy Mountain just after breakfast, so we headed up.

At Snowy Top Pass, just before we started up the mountain itself, we took a small break; at that point we realized the injury was worse than we’d thought. As we generally agreed to head back, I ran up a small slope of about 30’ and enjoyed some nice views, to which I beckoned the others. At this point, the injured party said something like, I think I can make it. Which I interpreted to mean “make it up Snowy Top. And so I headed up. He was talking about the small 30’ slope.

I feel quite bad that I made\encouraged an injured person to hike the mountain, but he was game and we all made it to the top and down without further problems. Still, not cool on my part.

DSCF2455 Stitch

DSCF2480On the return to the campsite I got out ahead and ran into a black bear. At that time I didn’t know it was a black and lots of news about grizzly re-introduction going on had me pretty frightened. The bear was hidden behind a stand of trees and he noticed me first, whereon he started huffing and vocalizing his displeasure at my approach. I froze, waiting for Tim and Ron to catch up and, bear spray in hand, we slowly eased past the tree stand to see the bear partway up another tree … and, on seeing us, a whole lot farther up! We continued on and that was the last we saw of bears this trip.DSCF2493

Camp time saw more of the same: Tim and Ron reading at camp, me enjoying my magazine creek-side, and later a nice dinner before calling it a day with some card-playing.


Sunday we broke camp and hiked about eight miles total. The beautiful weather made for a nice jaunt and the inclusion of a side excursion up Little Snowy Top to an old, burned-down fire watch made for great interest.

A few yards up the trail to Little Snowy Top we dropped our packs and continued the rest of the way. At the top we saw piles of rusted nails left behind after the wooden shack was burned, blobby glass that had melted in the conflagration, and lots of debris and old pilings where a lookout once stood. After getting back to our packs we put our feet up and enjoyed lunch looking out down the Priest River watershed. Gorgeous.


According to the route description, we should have found our campsite about a mile past the Trail 315-Trail 512 intersection, but we found the campsites about a quarter mile past that. They were so close to the intersection we continued past them before turning back. It was early afternoon, say 2PM, and we were ready to call it a day. We pitched the tent, Tim fetched water, I scouted a place to hang food, and we all kicked back to await dinner, savoring our final night in this gorgeous area.


Our final day was a quick one, just about 4.5 miles with our lightest pack yet. I continued snapping pics of the Priest River valleys and Selkirks as we left Idaho, re-entered Washington state, and rambled to our car.


At the car we got out our traveling clothes, changed, tossed the packs in the car … and it started raining. The perfect end to a perfect trip. Time to head back home.


I’ll end by simply saying: take this hike. If you can at all manage to get here and put in 20 miles, your rewards will be significant. Take this hike … it’s a beauty!


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There’s a fire a-burnin’

Posted by joeabbott on August 20, 2018

You’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard of the massive amount of forest that’s burning in the West right now, but it hits home when you see it … or it’s effects … first hand. While I took a lovely stroll up Silver Peak this past weekend, the smoke from said fires obscured all but the nearest views. Just look a few posts back at some of the peerless, blue skies and compare them with these:



The air quality index in Seattle is worse than in some developing nations right now; so much so I’m considering against hiking until some of the marine winds return and clear things out a bit. Here’s to hoping that happens soon.

Wishing you all better views and clearer skies!

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SPOT and GPS interference?

Posted by joeabbott on July 22, 2018

I carry both a SPOT and GPS device when I hike; I’ve never needed the SPOT but it’s good insurance, the GPS has proved invaluable on a number of hikes.

On my last outing, in an effort to find a good place to strap my SPOT, I hung it just above my GPS on my shoulder strap. The SPOT performed as expected for a tree-covered approach … like this:


You can see where the trees are. Again, not great but not bad, either … a dozen tracks over 2.5 hours, making it about a track every 15 minutes.  I’d like better but I’ll take that.

My GPS, however … what the heck happened here?!?


I have never seen anything like this … it’s just crazy. The prior week I had my GPS but the batteries crapped out after an hour or so on the trail, but it still gave me this path:


Same area, same GPS … the only difference I can think of are the new batteries and hanging directly below my SPOT device. I will play with it a bit more to make sure I understand what’s going on, but it clearly looks like the GPS was reacting to something.

If you rely on multiple radio devices, be aware they may experience some interference if you position them too closely together! Be safe out there!

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A return to the scene–a trip up Snoqualmie Mountain

Posted by joeabbott on July 22, 2018

Weekends come and go around here with both Suzy and I looking forward to a chance to do stuff together; this weekend was an exception. Not in that we weren’t looking forward to some togetherness, but activities would take Suzy to a 5k Run on Saturday and an outing with her Master Gardener friends on Sunday; leaving me to my own devices. But wait … are our weekends ever really that simple? Nope!

The stuff that’s not as fun

Early last week we got a document from the county in which we plan to build our house stating they’d stopped the permitting process due to some irregularities. It was drawn out and a bit emotive but the upshot was that paperwork we’d submitted in January was lost. <sigh> There was some hurry-up discussions with our builder and folks were heading out to our lot on Friday to see about getting the needed tests done quickly; it had to do with our drain field and septic plan. I stayed home from work to jet up there in case I got a call … I got no call.

So, we agreed to jump in the car after Suzy got back from her 5K on Saturday and drive to lot, inspect the work that had been done, and see if anything required our input or assistance. I’ll jump ahead here and say that we did go up, in addition to the two perk pits that had been dug, they appear to have rummaged around those and then dug three additional pits. Suzy and I are perplexed … but had a very nice meal at Playa Bonita before heading back home.

Next steps … not clear. In spite of the delay and aggravation, it does feel like we’ve taken a step forward.

DSCF2242The fun stuff

So, with Suzy getting out with her friends, I was left to my own devices … and what better device than some sweat and a little discomfort in exchange for wonderful views? That’s right, last weekend I headed past Snoqualmie Mountain but didn’t summit the mountain proper. As it’s only 1.9 miles one-way, I decided I’d knock that off. Oh, in spite of being less than 2 miles in distance, you gain 3100’ of elevation; put your mountaineering boots on, folks, this trail’s not for Tevas!

I got to the lot around 6:45AM and it was already filling. The trailhead mainly serves Snow Lake trail, and while Snoqualmie Mountain may see a dozen or two travelers on a weekend, Snow Lake sees hundreds. Literally. And so I parked such that I could easily leave the lot, knowing it’d be a zoo; then I suited up, turned on various GPS and SPOT devices, and headed up.

The trail makes no qualms about ascent from the get go, and while the way is smooth in an un-kept trail sorta way for the first hundred yards, it quickly devolves into a rocky, rooty hand-over fist scramble up. I carry trekking poles so I don’t often need to grab the surroundings, but I did reach for a “green belay” or two on my way up.

While I tried to push myself reasonably hard, I also realized I wasn’t in a race and had nothing to prove … except for the fact that this was only a 2-mile long trail! I could tell time was getting on but my pace was what it was; it seems I’ve lost a little oomph since my Rainier outing. But, I was alone and had some of the nicest scenery and zero bugs!! This was a big improvement over last week; although it was probably because (‘d left a little earlier in the day.

I got in a couple peekaboo pics of the surrounding area before I topped out; nothing fantastic but for just 60 miles out of the city, it’s not bad at all.


After breaking out of the treeline I spotted a number of colored shirts above me that pulled me on as if I were a scent hound. There’s something deeply competitive in me that I’m not sure I understand. I don’t think it’s a normal part of my character, but get me on a trail and I like to be out front; put someone ahead of me, and I’d like to pass; someone on my tail? Goose it a bit. I find it odd but I’m also finding my days of passing and goosing are not as many as they had been, so I am trying to find pleasure in “being” and “topping out”.

When the trail ends at the top, I was greeted by chill winds that had scoured the remaining snowfields coming off the north slopes. What looks like a small animal track leads off to the left proved to be a trail to another summit that, if higher, was only higher by a foot or so. It was here I found the other “colored shirts”, being six folks wearing climbing helmets and speaking in what sounded like Russian.

They exited the way I came and I was left to snap the below pic. You can see Snow Lake, the destination of many other hikers, just to the right of center. The peak dead center on the right is Kaleetan Peak; the one to its immediate left is Chair Peak; further to the left (although not as prominent) is Bryant Peak.

DSCF2256 Stitch

As I headed back I saw the destination of the Russian speakers: a prominence just off the top of Snoqualmie; it appears a scramble but not a desirable destination. You can see a few of the scramblers in the talus on the way up.


For me, however, it was time to get back. It had taken me nearly 2 hours to go my 3100’ and I wanted to be sure I could get home before Suzy and prepare for our trip to the property. I grabbed one more snap and then made my ankle-breaking way back down the rocky trail, getting to my truck about and hour later.DSCF2262 Stitch


The parking lot was the expected zoo; where I’d parked to get a quick exit had been blocked by another row of creative parkers. I flagged a carload of folks and pointed them to my spot but let them know I’d need a minute to change out of something a bit less salt-soaked from my exertion. Another half dozen cars cruised by while I was changing but, quickly enough I was pulling out and replaced by the mid-morning hikers. It still took me some effort to extract my truck from the lot and I was surprised at how a few people had parked, leaving only inches on either side of my mid-sized truck as I pulled out.

With the madness behind me I sipped some juices I’d popped into a cooler and headed back home to enjoy the remainder of the weekend. It tickles me to have the confidence to whip up a plan like this: a goodly effort, a non-maintained trail, a solo outing … I may not be the hiker I used to be, but the education I picked up on the trails in my youth continues to serve me well.

Here’s hoping your adventures prove as sustaining; now stop reading and get out there!

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The other Green River stuff

Posted by joeabbott on July 20, 2018

I made mention of a few things we saw besides bridges on our most recent biking trip down the Green River Trail … here they are, in no particular order.

BMX Track

A biking company in a business park adjacent to Briscoe Park installed a BMX biking track. I only have a mountain bike so I gave the trails a trial and just about killed myself. I wasn’t going fast but the severe and numerous rises\falls had me feeling out of control.

While having this sort of facility is great, the presentation leaves a lot to be desired. Rather than an enjoyable alternate use for the park, the initial appearance is one of neglect and the dumping of refuse: weeds festoon the perimeter, the track has no shoulder or separation from the land around it, and lack of supporting facilities (bike rack, bench, or shelter) all make this an odd “enhancement” to the Briscoe Park.



Somewhere along the way I came across this biking sculpture (picture on the left) … I would have loved to dismount my bike and pose alongside them (it’s the sort of thing I do), but Suzy had put a little distance between us and I was hurrying to catch up!


Further south, we came across a bench in the shape of a canoe (picture, right). Various photos on the side acknowledge the cultural debt we have in the Pacific Northwest to some of the First Nation tribes, but I wasn’t able to spend much time looking at them: again, I was lagging behind my biking partner! And, yes, it is a typical trend.

Pruning 101

Here’s a tip: if your tree or bush requires a bit of pruning, do not ask someone from a power line company to help you with that! Look at what they did to this poor tree we saw somewhere adjacent to the trail:


Yup, yup … I’m not sure what choices they had but this beautiful, full tree has a quarter of its top removed, making it look super-odd. I was also surprised to see one of the wires still threading through the canopy, but someone told me this was a phone line … and the power company (who trimmed the upper branches) will not tend phone lines; and I guess the phone company doesn’t share the electrical power company’s concerns!

I’m assuming that cutting the tree down was out of the question, as there’s a memorial plaque at its base and a few picnic tables. I really can’t imagine anyone ever having a picnic here, it’s fairly out of the way, but it might make a nice, shady rest. And from the tables, you might not even notice the hack-job done to the tree.


I mentioned Julene Bailie in my last post: she’s an author who has taken to watching a family of eagles living above the Green River near this stretch of the trail. Here she is, on the left, sheltering herself from the sun with a shirt she’s draped over her head. She has a camera with a powerful lens, a set of binoculars, and a few other items to offer her comfort on a long day of bird watching. She and I chatted a bit and I could have spent a lot longer with her: she knew the area, the eagles, and was happy to share what she had learned.

The shadows just behind her are cast by a 16’ fence separating the Trail from a golf course that abuts it. A bit further south you see the sign shown below, right, which warns bikers\hikers to “please use caution, errant golf balls may cross the trail.” I’m not sure how much caution I can muster but I’m sure hoping the golfers exercise some!


Lovely views

Whether you are looking for river scenery or wildflowers the trail has plenty of both. While some stretches are more wonderful than others, the entirety of the trail seems to have something to offer to everyone.


I think it’s an educational sculpture

Suzy and I came across this marker along the trail and I’m not 100% certain I know what to make of it.

The various horizontal markers around it denote a footage and and the words “Flood level”, leading us to believe water had, at one point, risen to the various levels … however, the distance between the bands is not consistent with the difference in the noted flood levels.

There are a number of dots on each pole and lines connecting them; some lines are solid, some are dotted. And some have either dates or words (e.g., “Completion of Howard A. Hanson Dam”) on them. I just can’t put together a consistent pattern to understand what logic they’re using.

Finally, there’s a big arrow superimposed over the four posts that requires you to stand back to see properly. Why it’s pointing north is a complete mystery to me.



That was our trip. While the overall outing was well over 20 miles, it seemed I couldn’t go more than a mile or two without stopping to snap a picture of something; it’s just wonderfully busy with things to look at.

On our next trip I want to take a dedicated camera, as I imagine it’d be easier to grab and shoot, but I would likely risk wiping out or taking a spill into blackberry brambles … and that would not be welcome. So, if you’re up for a good workout, the trail is long; if you’re more interested in finding diversions, there’s plenty of that, too! Thanks to the cities of Tukwila and Kent for keeping this stretch of the Green River Trail in good condition!

Here’s hoping your trails are smooth and interesting!

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Bridges of the Green River Trail

Posted by joeabbott on July 18, 2018

imageOK, the title may prepare you for a comprehensive review but these are just a few of the bridges spanning the Green River that Suzy and I saw while on a recent biking excursion.

Last Sunday, before the heat of a 95°F day set in, we tossed our bikes into the back of my truck, drove down to a parking spot just off the Green River Trail, and headed south. Our destination was somewhere around “where we turned around last time”, but we’re always game to learn some new things so we went just a bit further.

We were on the east bank of the Green River on the way down, but crossed to the west on a pedestrian\cycling bridge just south of the Green River Natural Resources Area (the brown splotch on the map to the right). From there we continued south on Frager Road until that thoroughfare ended, at Foster Park at the extreme south … probably 15 miles from where we started.

Along the way I was taking pictures of anything that caught my attention: a tree that had been curiously pruned, wildflowers, sculptures, and even a bird watcher (Julene Bailie, an author of a number of books about a local family of eagles … see her photography work here). I also found myself snapping pics of a number of bridges.

Some of the bridges were cool, others attractive, and some just utilitarian; but all caught my eye. Unfortunately, I can’t remember and didn’t write down the names or locations of the bridges, so, for now, you’ll just get snaps of a few bridges, my guess at where it is, and maybe word or two of why they caught my eye.

First Bridge

While we navigate under South 180th St bridge before we get to this walking\biking trestle, I’m considering this one the First Bridge. Mainly because we actually used it to cross to the east side of Green River, but also because it’s attractive.


Utilitarian Bridge

I think this is the South 200th Street bridge but I only caught a portion of the span … the rest is the same: concrete and straight lines.

Not a “bad” bridge, but nothing to set it apart or recommend it as a destination.


Copper Dome Rounds Bridge

This bridge always catches my attention. When I first saw the copper-colored sphere decorations on it, I thought they were copper … upon closer inspection it’s just colored concrete, but it’s a neat feature and makes for an eye-catching motif. While it’s mostly just another big, concrete bridge, the exposed aggregate upper portion does lend a break from the otherwise smooth surfaces.

I’m guessing this bridge takes Veteran’s Drive over the Green River, but I am (again) guessing. It seems right but even with a map (both Bing and Google), I can’t tell exactly where this might be.


Green Truss Trestle

We had just turned around and were coming back when we were directed beneath the West Meeker Street Bridge. This fella is a throwback to the past, with little more to see than industrial-green iron beams riveted together. While it’s a bit ugly, the large open areas attempt to make this trestle light and airy; I’ll let you decide if you think it succeeded.


Bridge Under a Bridge!

This one has got to be my fave … not because it’s beautiful or well-kept (and maybe a bit of the opposite in both cases), but because it surprised me and gave me a smile. This was the Hwy 516 (also known as the South Kent Des Moines Road) Bridge over the Green River, and beneath the solid car overpass, a bridge for pedestrians and bikers is hung! There’s even a little nook with a bench for sitting down and watching the river.


And you can file this under the “why can’t we ever have anything nice”, the seating area was rife with litter, graffiti, and grime … neither Suzanne nor I wanted to sit there. But, she gave me a nice smile as she posed for a pic mid-span!



That’s it … it’s not all the bridges but a lot of them. Some were fun, some were nice to look at, and others just got you to the other side of the river. Thanks for touring along with me!

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