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

Monday, December 14, 2015

Whitehorse Trail - Arlington

I'd hoped we'd get my trails open over the weekend, but with the pouring rain, we sure didn't feel like hauling the chain saw up there.  Instead, with the trailer hitched & ready - if the weather sounds plausible at all, I just plan to drive, to ride.
Filtered sun through the fog~
The Whitehorse sounded good, no mud there & I wanted to ride to the Arch in Arlington.  A check to see how it's holding up & look at the area where the homeless keep trying to move in.  As we were leaving the trail-head, the day didn't look as promising as it had in the sunshine at home...
On the Whitehorse
But...  before we were very far out, the sun burned through!  Riding into the sun was so bright, the river running gray with silt.  Things warmed up, everything was dripping - the rock of the surface - the crunch, crunch, crunch - the sound of Farah's feet almost rhythmic.   About half-way to the Arch - our goal, we stopped for lunch.  
Farah & my shadow :-)
By now, it was warm!  My jacket came off - the stop was short & we went on.  Walking along the river is one of my favorite places to ride anymore.  It's still remote enough that it doesn't get much use, there were a few tracks from bike tires, but we didn't see anyone.
Not rock, old volcanic soils~
Water was seeping out of the hillside, shining in the sunshine like tiny sparkling diamonds.  One of the prettiest sections of the trail, also one of the most unstable - since these hillsides could easily slide, or crumble - which a section did last year.
Ramp from the Quarry
Out at the Arlington end, this is the ramp that may become access for horses to the Whitehorse Trail.  I'm hopeful too that the County can work through all the paperwork that's required for us to have trailer parking here on the Quarry property.  The Quarry is willing, the County Engineer is working out the details & I hope to have an update shortly.  The underpass you see in this photo is where the Centennial Trail goes over the Quarry entrance.  Parking here, would give Equestrians a perfect spot to access the Whitehorse at it's beginning & also the north end of the Centennial Trail without having to cross the Haller Trestle.
At Resilience Arch
The new bricks that have replaced the old ones, are so much nicer!  The etching is deep & the bricks themselves are a better product.  Bricks are still available for purchase with personalized engraving!
Our brick~
We turned back from here~
Looking East~
This is the section of trail, close enough to Arlington - where homeless people have tried to set up camps.  They've been moved out a couple times now, over the past two-years, but still return.  This private property is between the river & the trail.
Homeless camp~
The thing that gets to me the most - is the mess...  Trash Everywhere!  Homelessness is one thing - leaving trash everywhere is something Else!  Our Park Rangers are busy enough - without having to continually pick up all the mess.  The hope is, with more access for Equestrians & use of the trail - they will move out & move on.
Wetland along the trail~
I'd expected to see more water in the river after the days of rain, but the level was about the same as the last time we where.  A Bald Eagle flew over us on our way back.  We'd returned to Tin Bridge when I realized that I'd lost my sunglasses...  When we'd stopped at our break spot on the way back, I'd shook out my jacket & put it back on.  That was the clue that we had to turn back.  This time, it was more of a trudge than a walk :-)  Found them, at the side of the trail in the leaves.
Looking upstream - North Fork of the Stillaquamish
It was getting late by now, clouds had moved in & our sunshine was gone.  We did a lot of trotting to get back to the trailer & made it just after 4 p.m.  Driving home, the sunset was spectacular - in our gate & just enough time to do chores before dark.  I think we're all counting down to the Winter Solstice - looking forward to the longer days on the far side!

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