Monday, January 2, 2012

Starting the year out right!

Volunteering at a race is a great way to start the new year.  The next best great way to start the new year is to explore a new trail!  That's what LM and I did this morning.  I'd known about Lake Boren Park from a favorite loop running road course through Newcastle and Issaquah.  Sadly the traffic on some of those roads means that loop isn't real safe to run anymore and I haven't been over there in some years.  There was one section along SE May Valley Road that I knew is still runnable and could easily connect with some other areas. 

Poking around and looking for trails in the area, I came across a great website, which documented the trails in and around Lake Boren Park.  I've biked and ran on roads in the Newcastle area and I'd seen the signs marking trails. I was impressed to see the great work they are doing to link trails (see video below).  There was a map with very clearly marked roads and trails on the website.  Add in the current information updating the trail work they've done recently, and I was ready to go to figure out a loop on trails starting from Lake Boren.

It was fantastic.  We set out with maps and iphones and garmins and easily found the trails.  Some are not maintained but are in good shape.  You can tell the system is still under construction as there are signs at the beginning and ends of trails but no signs in the middle.  So we did some outs and backs and sometimes couldn't find a particular path.  With patience and a bit of tenacity though, you can usually figure out where the trail comes out and backtrack it that way.  I really like figuring out how the trails all fit together with the roads we cross firmly set in my mind.  It's like an interesting jigsaw puzzle and I have to put it together.  

Finally we got to the trail I'd wanted to try for some years.  The West May Creek Valley Trail is just a short section but quite pleasant.  It's wide, flat and follows the path of the old Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad along the ravine of the May Creek.  I knew that they had been working on the EAST May Creek Valley Trail which was going to a connector between the existing trail and Coal Creek Parkway.  LM and I found the road which should've led to a trail down by the creek but it got too steep and mucky and blackberries.  Where is this trail? Hmmm.

Ok, so we then looped around via roads to where the trail was supposed to come out and found and followed the trail.  It's not done yet but still easily passable and absolutely delightful.  There is a new bridge across Boren Creek and great views of the two creeks. We followed the trail back up to where we'd been hunting for it.  Yep, that used to be a road as there were two abandoned vehicles along the trail!  I love this sort of stuff and shouted "Car!" when I first saw it.  LM assumed that a car was driving along like what you'd yell back to runners and bikers when a car is approaching.  No, this car (milk truck?) shown above isn't going anywhere. 

All that backtracking and exploring added time and miles and that meant that we weren't able to add on the extension road and then connection to the Cougar Mountain trail system but that is the goal. Keeping running fresh and fun is always my goal and exploring new trails and finding new and interesting routes to run is a great way to do this. Mission accomplished today! And meanwhile, thanks Roland for the connector.  I think the trail should be renamed as East May Valley Trail doesn't have such a great ring as Roland's Trail or Eagle Scout Trail. What do you think? 

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