Sunday, May 6, 2012

Abundance from a Park to a Single Trail

I'm winding down for the day.  Why is it that when you're having fun, you wind down and when you aren't, you come to a grinding halt?  So I want to tell you everything we did today, hiking and biking and weeding, then having an early dinner only to be asked by friends to meet them at another restaurant for drinks and hors d'oeuvres.  I'm still full. 

But I want to tell you about the place where we biked, Tolt-MacDonald park in Carnation.  I just love this place.  Nearly twenty years ago, Mike and I were married at the Eagle Scout altar across the suspension bridge.  It was a lovely ceremony, with flowers hung from the altar and chairs lined up in rows in front of it.  Every time I visit the park, I look around and say to myself, "We were married here."  We hired a bluegrass band, Three Pigs Barbecue catered it, and we played volley ball in the grass.  When it was all over, Mike and I stepped into our Old Town canoe and paddled away. 

Before the area was settled by Europeans, Tolt-MacDonald park was a permanent wintering village of the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe.  Once, when I was there walking with my friend Rachel, there was a man digging what seemed like random holes.  I became so curious that I asked him what he was looking for.  He was from the Snoqualmie Tribe and he was looking for artifacts.  He said that the Tribe wanted to find pieces of their heritage there.  He even gave me his business card.  I remember finding arrowheads when I was a kid.  Boy, was that exciting.  Isn't it interesting that what we call trash now could be considered an artifact a hundred years from now?  It just doesn't justify leaving it lying around though. 

In the 1970s, the area was turned into a park and campground under the guidance of Boy Scout Council Chief John MacDonald.  It became one of the country's larges bicentennial projects wherein 20,000 Boy Scouts spent five months developing it into a park with campsites, picnic areas, and shelters.  The suspension bridge was build at about the same time by the Army Reserves 409th Engineering Company.  The bridge is now host to a small geocache, though we've never managed to find it.  Most of our wedding photos were taken on that bridge with the river and mountains in the background.  The trail that leads from the campground, across the bridge, and up the hill connects to trails that run all the way into Redmond.  Since I haven't hiked very deep into it, I feel as though I could get lost up there.  Imagine that, I could get lost between Carnation and Redmond, there is so much of a trail system.  Boy, I think I need better trail maps. 

I think it apropos that we found Tolt-MacDonald Park when we were looking for a pretty site to get married outdoors.  Mike and I had many of our first dates surrounded by a band of Explorer Post Scouts who would all be in their forties by now.  They've scattered to the wind, living in Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Montana, and a few are still in New Jersey.  These days, our lives are filled with Boy Scout activities.  Most of our friends work either with the Boy Scouts or with the Cub Scouts.  It feels like we were somehow drawn to the collective good will of the 20,000 Boy Scouts that built that park.  We had no idea its history when we planned our wedding there.  Nor did we know any of this when we had six or seven of Nick's birthday parties in the big red barn there either.  I even took Nick and Adrian there last summer to practice riding their bikes on real roads.  They're still not ready for anything busier, but last year, we discovered that the trail from the campground crosses under the bridge that spans the Tolt river and joins with the Snoqualmie Valley Trail.

The Snoqualmie Valley Trail runs from Rattlesnake Lake near North Bend all the way to Duvall and connects to the Tolt Pipeline Trail and the John Wayne Pioneer Trail.  There are still a few detours, but somehow it would be nice to connect all of these trails into one trip.  Isn't it strange that I have traveled on one trail and have thought of it as many different places for so long?  We've traveled through the tunnel at Iron Horse State Park, walked a section with the dog near the Off Leash Dog Area at Three Forks, walked another section near Fall City, and traveled on it today through Carnation.  (Yes, Carnation is the town from whence the Carnation Instant Milk and the Carnation Evaporated milk has come, but that is owned by Nestle now.  The original location of Carnation Farms has been turned into Camp Corey, one of the Serious Fun Children's Network, founded by Paul Newman.) 

I am sitting here, feeling so blessed by all of the beauty that surrounds me, mountains, valleys, and rivers, and by all the people who had the foresight to create parks and trails for me to use.  I'll be able to see a lot of it on this single trail.  What a wonderful plan for the summer, to walk or ride the different sections of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail until they connect into one in my heart.

Thank you for listening, jb

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