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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

••◊ Hiking along Iron Goat Trail

Last week I was in Seattle for my annual fall visit to see mom.  I told her that I wanted to go hiking while I was there, as San Diego just isn't conducive to hiking for me (too darn hot).  Plus, I always like being in the mountains.

We decided to visit Iron Goat Trail up near Stevens Pass.  The trail was originally a train route of the Great Northern Railway and could be described as hazardous at best during its heyday.  It was John Stevens, who was working for the Great Northern Railway company in 1890, that surveyed the area and thus gave name to what is now more commonly known as a ski resort - Stevens Pass. Taken from the Washington Trails Association web site...

"The focal point of the Stevens Pass Historic District, the Iron Goat Trail retraces part of the Great Northern Railway, northernmost of the nineteenth-century U.S. transcontinental rail lines. The creation of Minnesota tycoon James J. Hill ("The Empire Builder"), the Great Northern reached Seattle in 1893, greatly stimulating commerce and settlement in the region. Iron Goat, the name chosen for the trail, comes from the railroad's logo, a mountain goat."

You'll also see trail markers along the route with numbers like 1720, 1730...etc.  This denotes the number of miles from St. Paul Minnesota, which was the home city of the railway.  Interpretive signs on the trail describe the conditions under which 6000 men of very diverse backgrounds worked on the railway and lived in Corea Camp...A tough group of guys.

Here are some panoramas I took along the trail.

You'll still see remnants of the railway.  Metal bolts still stick out of the ground and logs.  The watershed is still in place.  But now that the trail has been restored, we see all those man made features going back to nature.  Wild flowers are returning, moss covers the log structures, and waterfalls are cascading over the concrete walls.


Man made tunnels still exist today, although they're not exactly suitable for exploration as you can see by the sign below.  The second picture was used as an avalanche shelter for the working crew.  No OSHA back then. 

The final stop during the day was Deception Falls, which is just a few miles back down highway 2.  It's a simple one mile hiking loop.  Pictures were very hard to capture in this area because half of the scenery was in blazing sunlight and the other half was in shadow.


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