Sunshine. Sunshine. Sunshine! What a way to welcome 60+ enthusiastic Trekkers to the eastside of the Greenway on Saturday. As everyone rolled into our first camp location at Kiwanis Park, it was clear that everyone participating was just AMPED to get on their bikes and get going on covering the 130 miles to the Seattle Waterfront. The weather’s cooperation only made that buzz the stronger!
However, there were registration details and bike check-ins and meeting fellow Trekkers to be done first. Oh, and an awesome party up at the Puget Sound Energy Wild Horse Wind Farm. If you haven’t been there, put it on your list of To-Dos right away. Perched atop of Whiskey Dick Mountain, just outside of Ellensburg, it boasts a spectacular panoramic view of the area, including the incredible and monstrously amazing wind turbines (which we got a tour of- super cool by the way, thanks PSE). Anyway, we gathered at the Wind Farm, had a fab bbq by a local restaurant, and enjoyed the musical stylings of the Matt Larsen Trio (CWU alumni). As one of the Trekkers, Ken Konigsmark, put it: “It was a perfect way to kick off the Trek and the next 20 years of the Greenway.” Nicely said!
The wind, however, howled like a banshee and whipped itself into a wild frenzy back at camp the first night. Many of the group didn’t sleep a wink as the wind shook tents and whistled through the camp. It was a noisy night to say the least- with the wind and some late night passers-through in the form of local kids, it was a long sleepless night for some. A couple of the Trekkers remarked in the morning that their excitement about the next day’s bike ride also kept them awake. I believe it since the next morning, few mentioned the night’s winds or noise, as most were cruising the camp’s parking lot on bikes before they’d even had coffee!
After breakfast, we had a ribbon cutting ceremony over where our equestrian Trekkers were camping. It was so cool to see lots of horses (and wagons) sidle up to the John Wayne Pioneer Trail Head ready to go. They make such a great addition to our group and I could tell that the horses and their riders were equally excited to get that ribbon cut and get moving.
The trail day was a long one and the Trekkers had to face serious headwinds as they headed west to South Cle Elum. Luckily, if someone needed a break or a shuttle, they had that option. The sun again cooperated and overall, it was a great first day to ride. The Trekkers stopped at some fruit stands along the way and got a chance to tour Thorp’s historic and super cool Grist Mill.
Last night, after a tasty dinner and some great live music by local rock bands, the Trekkers settled in for night number two “on the trail”. The tents spotted the landscape at the South Cle Elum Depot. The horse camp settled in just behind the tents and all was right with the world. Thanks Cascade Rail Foundation for a great second night of the adventure!
Today, the Trekkers are en route to Crystal Springs by bike and horse. Tonight they will enjoy a quiet night hanging out together and getting to know each other better. I believe some of our equestrian Trekkers will bake some delicious apple crisp on site tonight- which I know after a day of riding will be eaten in the blink of an eye! Mmm….apple crisp!
More Trek Talk to come…come and see us at Snoqualmie Pass tomorrow if you’re around and want to plug into the celebrations. We’ll be a part of the grand re-opening of the Snoqualmie Tunnel at Hyak. It’s going to be so much fun to ride through that tunnel and head on down to Rattlesnake Lake. Our stagecoach conductor, Gaylord, said last night that the opening of this tunnel means so much to the equestrian community because the John Wayne Pioneer Trail Riders Club will use it regularly. His comment is one of many really- so many people are psyched about the opening of this 2.3 mile tunnel. Come and see for yourself!