Birthday 2001

My 49th birthday in 2001 fell on Labor Day.  The weekend was started by my brother Buzz taking me out to dinner.  Didn't get any pictures of that.  But you can image 2 big guys and Jack enjoying some most excellent Chinese food at the Snappy Dragon on Roosevelt.

The best part of the weekend was going up to Stevens Pass.  This is on hiway 2 about 90 minutes northeast of Seattle.  As a teenager 30-35 years earlier, I was on a ski bus going to Stevens Pass about every other weekend.  Back then, as we approached the summit, I could look down into the gorge and see these old abandoned roads and show sheds. I wanted to find out what was down there.

As an adult in the summer time I would travel  over Steven Pass occasionally and could still see the old roads down there.  But there was never time to go exploring... Stevens Pass is a route, not a destination.

When I woke up on Saturday, September 1st, it was a beautiful clear day.  There was nothing else planned, so I decided we were going to take the Bronco up into the mountains and drive around on logging roads.  It turned out this also included going to those old roads at Stevens Pass.  I didn't know, but those old roads I'd been gazing at for so many years had recently come an historical site called the Iron Goat Trail.  For the complete story, check out this web site article from the Seattle PI written in August 1999.  There is also a web site about the Iron Goat Trail

It was such a simple thing, but I had been wanting to go here for long.  Now I can check it off on my list of things "to do" this lifetime.  It was so rewarding for me to finally spend a few hours exploring these old roads.  There was so much to see there, so much history I never knew about... like where the term "switchback" came from, a town called Wellington (now gone) near the top of Steven Pass I never heard about, the avalanche disaster I never head of. 

After leaving the Iron Goat Trail we went to do some "4 wheeling" on logging roads.  I'm not really an extreme 4 wheeler -- no mud, no winches, no trailblazing, no dents or bruises -- I just like to go place where you wouldn't find a Honda Civic.  On this day, it was so quiet up there...

 
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Near the Iron Goat Trail.
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Jack
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At the end of the road.
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A jeep trail back up to hiway 2.
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This tunnel was built around 1893. It is about 3 miles long.
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Inside the tunnel about a 1/2 mile. It was very dark.  We didn't hike all the way through, but you can.
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Notice the nice, easy-to-walk trails installed by volunteers.  It great place to visit even if you aren't  the trail hiking kind of person.
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In 1910 this was the site of the worst rail disaster in U.S. history. 100+ people killed as the stalled train was swept into the river gorge by an avalanche.
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Jack atop a gun emplacement used for avalanche control
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This snow shed was built after the disaster. It was abandoned in 1921 when a new tunnel was built at a lower elevation.
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Jack makes movies for a living, but usually isn't very good with snapshots. He was in rare form today. These are nice pictures.
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In background in hiway 2. That is where the ski bus would be when could look down and see these old roads and tracks.
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Near the western end of the shed.
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The state just made park of this site in 1999.  They never told me!
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On my 49th birthday, I finally to get to place I've been driving past and wanting to explore since I was a teenager.
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A few miles away, at the end of a logging road.
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It was a lot of fun to have the Bronco in 4-wheel drive going up these steep roads.


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