Tuesday, August 4, 2015

32/52: Brian's Brother Visits and a Summer Walk along the John Wayne Pioneer Trail

Friday night we welcomed Brian's brother, Kerry to West Seattle.  He had a brief stop over on the way to see his daughters in Eastern Washington and we were thrilled that he was able to spend the weekend with us.

Brian and I have been training all spring and early summer for two long walks, Monte Cristo and Dungeness Spit.  We found out a few weeks ago that the Monte Cristo Wagon Trail, located east of Seattle in Darrington, WA, is closed for repairs and removal of hazardous materials. Disappointed, I quickly began searching for an alternative and located a hike finder map on the Washington Trails Association website.

Our first hike completed this past Saturday was almost 11 miles round-trip on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail in Iron Horse State Park, near North Bend, WA.  It was just what we wanted...wide open, gentle grades and incredible scenery...plus enough mileage to make it a great prep hike for Dungeness Spit.

The John Wayne Pioneer Trail (not named for the actor) in the Iron Horse State Park provides views of mountains, waterfalls and wildlife as we traversed across soaring bridges from Rattlesnake Lake to the Twin Falls Trailhead, 5.5 miles to the east.

The Pacific Railroad operated from 1908 until 1980, when it went bankrupt.  The Department of Natural Resource acquired the land forming the 100 foot wide Iron Horse State Park, which contains more than 100 miles of trails from Cedar Falls to the Columbia River...all with a grade on 2.2% or less.

We took off from the trailhead about 11:30 and finished up about 2:30.  We stopped a few times for water and pictures, but walked at a steady pace.

At mile 1, we crossed Boxley Creek and continued along the trail to Boetzke Creek Falls.  Of course, with our dry summer...not much water was flowing.

At mile 3 we came across the abandoned train depot at Ragnar.  The trail has the railroads mileposts and many railroad artifacts.  

At 5.5 we reached the Twin Falls Trailhead.  The trail continues (some 100+ in total) up and over Snoqualmie Summit and through the Snoqualmie tunnel.  Someday, we'll walk the additional mile down to the falls, but we knew that we had to head back 5.5 miles...so after a brief rest, we turned around.  In total we logged 10.48 miles.

We had an amazing day!  Although our legs and feet were tired (I've got a few blisters), there was enough surrounding beauty to entertain our minds while our bodies did all the work!

Following our walk, Brian was head chef for a traditional cook-out...with hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, homemade potato salad, and corn on the cob (I'm the only one who indulged in apple pie and ice cream for dessert). Brian set the table outside so we could eat al fresco on a warm Seattle evening.