Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Green River

After three days of hiking Alki, I wanted a change, and started poking through Hiking Washington's History for ideas, and focused on a hike along the Duwamish River. Not because it sounded particularly interesting, but rather because it was closest to where I lived and frankly, I hate traveling. I like being in new places, visiting new places, but I hate the process of getting to those new places. I'm lazy that way. =)

And that's how I ended up at the North Wind Fish Weir along the Duwamish River. The trail I'd follow is actually labeled the Green River Trail, which kind of annoyed me. Why is the Green River Trail following the Duwamish River? My geography is a little fuzzy on this point, but I think the Green River Trail mostly follows the Green River, but further upstream before the Green River dumps into the Duwamish River.

Anyhow! This particular history has to do with Native Americans and early settlers. As the book describes, "For more than 2,000 years, the Duwamish lived in longhouses and camped on the shores of the river. They fished from large tripods and hunted for birds from blinds along the banks."
Let the hiking begin!

They fished from large tripods? How does that work? I have a few tripods for my cameras and telescope, but I'm not sure how I'd be able to catch a fish with any of them.

I never did see the fish weir. I'm not sure if that's because I was looking in the wrong place or if it's because it was underwater, but I didn't spend too much effort worrying about it either.

Shortly down the trail, I passed under the light rail between downtown Seattle and the airport in Seatac. Which was strange, because I thought the light rail was on the other side of I-5 miles away from my current location. I guess I never really took a close look at the route it followed. I'd probably have had the same reaction had I stumbled onto the giant arch in St. Louis. "That's weird.... I could swear that wasn't located around here...."

I got off the trail a bit at this point, however, to walk past the Carosino House--an old farmhouse, and that the light rail now runs through the front yard. I didn't find the house particularly interesting, though, so continued moseying further off trail to pass Beaver Monster Hill, known as Poverty Hill to local residents, important in Native American stories. Later, it was used as a defensive position from which the Duwamish could watch for raiding parties coming from the north, which fascinated me more. It's now called the Dumwasmish Riverbend Hill and has a set of trails leading to the top--with commanding views in all directions poking through the trees.

Native American themes line the trail.
As it is now, I doubt it would have been as useful as a lookout tower because of the trees, but I assume during those days, the top was cleared of trees and the views were even better.

At the top, I found a guy, dressed nicely as if he were on a break from an office job, looking for his keys. He explained that he lost them the day before and to let him know if I happened to find them. I didn't, but I said I'd keep my eyes open.

Then I continued even further off trail by visiting Fire Station Company 53 to check out a "legend pole" carved out with three different-sized chain saws. I assumed it was something like a totem pole, and it was--but thicker around and cut out from a tree directly where it grew. Fascinating. I took pictures, then returned to the trail where I left it.

The trail meanders along the Duwamish most of the way, occasionally going away from the shoreline where there is development blocking access to the shore. I live closer to the mouth of the Duwasmish where the river is straight as an arrow to facilitate shipping interests, but here it curved in long, lazy loops following it's natural path.

A light rail trail crosses over the Duwamish River.
(I walked across the lower road to do some off-trail sight-seeing.)
The trail went under I-5, then came out along Interurban Avenue for a mile or so--a busy road and not especially pleasant. At a bus stop I passed, however, there was a lot of action going on. A bus with its hazard lights flashing and a fire truck and police car parked immediately behind it, and as I got closer, an ambulance pulled up in front of it. I wasn't sure what happened, but there was certainly a lot of activity going on! A medical emergency of some sort? I could see what appeared to be a figure laying on the floor near the front of the bus as emergency personal got and and off the bus. Passengers sitting in the back of the bus seemed bored, or maybe a little annoyed at the delay.

But onward I continued. Always onward. Just before the trail veered off from Interurban Avenue, a car honked at me from an adjacent parking lot. Amanda! I wasn't sure if she'd be shuttling her sister around town or not and would be able to pick me up at the end, but she said she hadn't gotten any calls from her (as of yet) so Amanda was still in the area. She walked a bit of the trail from the other end, then went to look for me where the trail followed the road.

"So," I asked her, "where's the cold soda and snacks?"

The views to the south were actually better than the views to
the north from this hilltop due to trees. When the Native Americans
used this hill as a lookout, I presume that most of the trees at the
top would have been removed for better visibility.
"I just knew you were going to say that!" she said. But she didn't have any trail magic. =(

I was less than a mile from the end of the trail at this point, though, and Amanda drove off to meet me at Fort Dent Park.

Just before the end, the trail passes Black River Junction, or at least where the junction used to be. The Black River is no more, destroyed when the waters of Lake Washington was lowered in 1916. Back in the day, water from Lake Washington flowed down along Black River, where it combined with the Green River to form to the Duwamish River.

The book describes this junction: Here the Black and Green rivers formed the Duwasmish River. The Duwamish people claimed the land here too, with a village called Mox la Push, which meant "two mouths." In the spring, high waters in the White River coming down from Mount Rainier could reverse the current in the Black River, forcing it back into Lake Washington; hence the Black River had two mouths.

Fascinating.... a river with a mouth at each end. I'd never heard of such a thing before, and it seems a shame that the one example that used to exist no longer does.

I continued on, and found Amanda waiting for me at the end with a cold drink and a cupcake that she acquired at a nearby 7-11. My trail angel, and another 5.5 trail miles done. =)

The legend pole at Fire Station Company 53.

Birds on a pole. =)

Bzzzz! Bzzzz!

Bzzz!  Bzzz!

Firetrucks! Police cars! And even an ambulance (not in photo).
Lots of action going on around this bus!

I was amused about this sign describing the drinking fountain (which I underlined in red).
I hope that's not what the drinking fountain echos! =)

The pump station. (That drinking fountain and plaque are just off the left
side of this photo.)

Trail magic! =)
Thanks, Amanda! =)


Goofy girl said...

The stones lining the trail look like they would make some nice stamps!

Rabid Quilter from California said...

That Amanda. . .an angel indeed!