Monday, March 22, 2010

A run at Coal Creek

On the last Sunday of winter I wanted to run the Coal Creek Trail. This trail has a very interesting history: at the turn of the 20th century it was an active coal mining area. Photos posted on an information kiosk show an area that was totally industrialized.

Today the forest has reclaimed most of the land and there are only occasional clues to the past to be seen.

My interest was not historical but was spiritual. The lower section of the trail is almost magical with moss and ferns growing from the trees and the sounds and sight of the creek add to the magical effect. I've been on this trail in the winter after a cold, foggy night and the moss-covered trees have an additional coating of frozen fog.


This was a much warmer day and I wanted to enjoy the sense of spring in the air.

In addition, I was returning to this trail for the first time since it had been reopened following flood damage repairs.

What a job the Bellevue Parks department has done. The lower section of the trail, where I started has been regravelled and the bridge that washed out has been replaced by a very sturdy structure.

The middle section of the trail is pretty much unchanged. However, the Primrose section of the trail is officially closed. This means that if you want to visit Primrose Falls you'll have to make an unofficial side trip. And there's a new side trail further along that heads off toward Lakemont. I didn't check it out but I assume that it goes to a new trailhead access point.

Much of the upper trail has been widened and barked. This really deals with all the mud that used to be here. I can never get enough of the 2 waterfalls that are just next to the trail in this section. Plus, the information kiosk is located here so that you can read about the history of Coal Creek and see the industrial pictures.

I wanted a teensy bit more mileage than the loop so I crossed the road to the Redtown access point to Cougar Mountain Park and ran a short loop before returning to my car.

This trail is just magical. I can never seem to get enough of it. The fresh forest, the creek, the use of industrial materials in the trail, the mud, the roots: it's all there.

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