Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Checking out Foothils Trail 'Missing Link' (2014-11-08)

After viewing a blog post about this after having bemoaned the lack of connectivity despite its being advertised, I finally checked it out myself.

Pierce County hopes to connect it all up once they get the funding.

Relevant albums:

More after the break…

Valley to South Prairie

I started my ride at the usual time of 05:00 and basically duplicated the route I took to Franklin. This was my first ride with my new Ortlieb rack bag, which allowed my cargo shorts' lower pockets to be empty.

I stopped in Kent for coffee this time, at a Starbucks I didn't know existed right on Meeker St.

I tuned my front derailleur the night before, and adjusted the cable tension on my rear derailleur a little after Starbucks.

My route took me along SR-165 for a bit before I jumped onto the Foothills Trail to ride it out to South Prairie.

I stopped at the end of this section of the trail to show where it currently ends, as the main point of this ride was to document the current state of it.

And then I got onto the highway, but I wasn't alone on the shoulder: a guy on an unladen mountain bike passed me on a level section and chatted with me for a bit. I ended up keeping up with him up the hill. A couple of guys on road bikes zoomed down the hill in the other direction when we were partway up.

I only responded with a quizzical shrug.

Foothils Trail Exploration

My directions and map indicated a couple roads that should've gotten me on the trail quickly, but I had to make the left onto it later. This was at the southernmost end of the paved section in Buckley, shown on the map below in the upper right corner where the green line becomes red.

Much of the northern half of the section of trail I followed out here was neither paved nor covered with gravel; it was mud, leaves, and tree roots. Some folks apparently do ride through here, as I saw either mountain bike or dirtbike treads in a lot of the mud. It'd probably be some fun single-track riding.

I eventually passed under the highway bridge I often ride over. This photo from last time also shows where I was:

My view this time:

And then I found the end of this section, with the paved trail entrance in the distance! That would be where the red turns back to green on the map.

From there, the highway is also visible.

My bike was pretty dirty after all that.

The paved trail was absolutely beautiful. It went over bridges:

Then followed the contour of a hill down, with a valley visible to the right:

And crossed over a couple of rivers:

There was only one guy walking his dog out there, and what looked like a recently abandoned truck.

Soon enough, I reached the end of it, and saw a gate in the distance.

I then headed back up the trail, which was a rather easy grade.

But rather than deal with all that mud again, I just exited via a private gravel road, the only other way to access the trail.

To Issaquah

I went up the highway again, but this time without any people shouting curses at me.

Rather than just going through Buckley without stopping, I went back onto the Foothills Trail to see where it ends. This took me down a steep hill and over the flume for Lake Tapps, which was under construction.

The bridge looked like it might've been an old highway bridge.

And then I went to the end of the trail itself.

There was very little there.

This old bridge pier was still present, likely the remains of the railroad bridge across the White River which is long gone.

The highway bridge:

There were also some kids on the other side of the river, on what appeared to be the other pier of that old bridge.

I next went back up the hill and got onto the highway to head along my route.

I stopped just north of Enumclaw, originally for water but then I ended up getting a couple other things.

And then I headed up the same route as last time, not stopping until I got to Hobart.

I continued to Issaquah as it started to darken outside. I wasn't alone out there, either.

I stopped at the usual espresso stand in Issaquah, and saw the same barista I saw last December. She was working through beauty school since she really didn't want to work in coffee long-term.

Even with a hot drink, it was pretty cold. I had to bundle up some for warmth.

Return Home

The traffic was really thick in Issaquah along the main road, so I went along the Rainier Trail instead. It was fine for a while, but I had to run across a major street where there was no crosswalk nearby (street view).

I made my way to East Lake Sammamish Parkway, where I had to deal with lots of oncoming car headlights as it was pretty dark at that point.

Finally getting to Marymoor Park was a relief.

I rode the rest of the way home without food breaks and without much in the way of events. The trail was mostly empty, but I did see a cyclist every few miles.

Through UW, I took the bike detour to NE 40th St, but went along the sidewalk past the construction. I heard that the construction is supposed to finish by the end of the month, though.

  • One driver drove the wrong way along a one-way road in Ballard, only to make a right when he could've gone the correct way and made a left to get to the exact same intersection.
  • Another driver made a left and a right when they could've just gone straight as is the norm for locals.

Considering how it was a Saturday night and the local bars are pretty popular for folks from elsewhere, stuff like this isn't too uncommon.

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