Ain't nuthin like ridin' a fine horse in a new country - Augustus McCrae – Lonesome Dove

Monday, October 27, 2014

Haller Park to Nakashima - Centennnial Trail

North end of the Haller Trestle Bridge
I'd been wanting to ride the north section of the Centennial Trail & with all the rain I was hoping that the footing would at least firm enough to do some trotting.   I parked at the far side of the gravel parking at Haller & we started over the trestle.
North fork from the bridge~
 As I expected, the north fork was full of silt. The Stillaquamish - both north & south forks converge here & the water level was way up!  When you hear it rushing below you - it's a rush :-)
Convergence of the Centennial Trail & the Whitehorse Trail
It's just a short way from the Arch, to the elevated bridge that goes over the road the Quarry uses to access Hwy 9.
Looking down at the Quarry road, Whitehorse trail through the trees~
The Coalition thinks that this area would be great for horse trailer parking.  Easy access to both trails - but it's still a working quarry with trucks coming & going on the road.
Hwy 9 parallels the trail going north
It's noisy along this section, with the traffic that goes by on Hwy 9, but the footing is good & so is the scenery - especially this time of year with all the leaves coloring & falling!
Picnic table at the side of the horse path
 There are several areas where the horse trail actually splits away from the side of the paved path & it's really nice - but there aren't enough of them :-)
It's three miles from the bridge to the store at Bryant with car parking & a potty.  Just a short way further is the Hwy 9 crossing.  It's well marked with a Hawk system crossing signal that activates the flashing yellow lights.
The Sun came out!
Once across - you're on one of the prettiest sections of the trail.  Four-miles to go to the north end at the Nakashima Barn.
Heading north
It's a great stretch for moving out!  A homeowner along side has moved in some Alpacas' but they're on the far side of a small wetland.  Farah looked, but wasn't worried :-)
Just so beautiful!
It was just one of those days!  Even with the clouds, the fresh air & fresh country after all the rains was like riding along through a video to promote our state.
Crossing the creek~
Just as we were heading across, a Bald Eagle flew over our heads!  He was very low & circled us once before turning upriver & landing in a tree.
Pilchuck Creek
The creek is really going now too, I'm sure at one time it would have been full of Salmon, at least the Eagle was hoping for some!
We're at the Barn!~
I promised Farah our lunch break at the barn & again the sun was trying to break through.  I couple riding bikes had gone past us a way back & were resting at the barn too.  We had a nice conversation about the correct way to come up behind horses & they were very receptive & friendly.
From here, there's just one more mile of unimproved trail that ends again - at Hwy 9 & the Skagit County line.  It is what some sections of the trail used to look like before it was improved.
More of that Sunshine!
When the next sun break opened up - we were at the perfect place to enjoy it!
North end at Hwy 9

I'd thought about going up the road & through the gate to the tree farm, but Farah heard the truck about the time I did & I was happy that we didn't do that on this day.
Trucks coming out of the farm~
Looks like there's another area getting logged & hauled - though I didn't see it when I was up there last week.
Heading back~
We turned & started back - again - it's nice because the views are just stunning from either direction :-) 
Clouds moving in~
We were just back to the trail-head when the clouds started rolling in.  I almost thought I'd need my rain jacket.
Horse Crossing
Farah is so trail savvy now - that she crosses without my asking :-)  "OK, Mom, here's where we're supposed to go over there!"
Elevated section of the horse trail
There's a long section here, raised & seperate from the main trail that's nice for moving out.  I was amazed at how much the ground has settled in the past couple years since it was finished.
Back to the creek~
All too soon we were back, almost to the creek.
The creek~
I stopped here & sat on the bench for a few minutes, while Farah looked for clover.  My favorite spot on the trail.
Back at the arch~
 We stopped to check out our bricks - yes - they were still there!  Available for anyone who wants to purchase one & help to support the trails.  From here, I wanted to go down the Whitehorse a way to see how it was looking.
Homeless hut
Just 3/10ths of a mile down, we found this...  No one seemed to be around, but it was a mess, with trash everywhere & a fire pit dug into the trail again...  Now I've got to call to see what can be done about it.
Whitehorse heading east to Tin Bridge

The trail really needs work now, with the blackberries taking over, one tree down & another that's going down.  We turned back here.
Back over the trestle
On the stretch before the bridge, we'd stopped to talk to a man with the cutest Border Collie puppy!  Only ten-weeks old & So Darn Cute!  While we were talking, I felt Farah go on high alert!  I looked toward Arlington to see a group of at least 15 boys running toward us!  Farah was ready to bolt!  Never having been confronted with this kind of thing!  :-)  I dismounted & raised my voice to ask the boys to slow down & say something!  :-)  They finally realized what was up & dropped to a walk.  Farah let out a breath & deflated :-)
Hwy 9 bridge over the Stillaquamish
Once back at the park I checked the time & was amazed that it was already after 5 p.m.!  We checked out the river there too, before loading up to head home.

Long post - sorry - but I do what I can to promote these trails.  The more horsemen we have getting out there & in the public eye - will help us to keep our right to ride!  Join the Facebook pages for either or both trails & be sure to stay aware of what's going on in our neighborhood!


  1. The trail looks great! Did you ride on the pavement the whole time?

    When Duana and I rode it last year (Nakashima to Bryant), the off-pavement parts were really mucky. I can't wait to try it again.

  2. It was! No - we were on the grass the entire way - that's what I was saying about how much the footing has firmed up the last couple years. It's so much better now.

  3. Oh, wow, that's awesome. It wasn't really usable when we were on it--way too mucky, even at a walk it was shoe-sucking mud and we stayed on the pavement.

    Now I've gotta go try it again!


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