Spencer Island - River Meadows

After one weekend home with a sprained knee it was time to get out. At least for a short walk in a couple of Snohomish County parks. Kim joined me for the trip. In between the parks we spent several hours at the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum in Arlington. I knew about Spencer Island. It is known as a great place to bird watch. I had just never taken the time to visit. Getting there can be a little confusing. We took Exit 195 from north bound I-5 in Everett. It's the exit after Highway 2. Take a left and continue to 529 northbound. Cross the Snohomish River on a bridge then take the first exit. Signs show the way to Langus Riverfront Park. You can park there or continue under I-5 to a small dirt lot on the right. It's next to the sewage treatment plant.

We walked the road to the bridge onto Spencer Island. Before crossing the bridge a paved path heads right (south). A dirt road heads north. It has a brand new bridge near the start. This appears to be a new hiking trail. It is gated and signed no admittance at this time. It looks like there is more to explore on my next visit. I read that the trail around the island was damaged by flooding. In fact a sign stated that the route north did not go far before the dike was washed out.

We went straight a short way to a look at an old building. It was under several feet of water. We heard birds immediately. I can imagine what it's like early in the morning. The island is really scenic. Especially when you consider it's half a mile from a major interstate freeway and next to a sewage treatment plant. We could see most of Mt Pilchuck though the summit was in the clouds.

There is a boardwalk leading out into the water.  We were surprised to see it was wet and muddy. At some recent time it was under water. Back at the bridge we headed south. At the next intersection we took a left and headed out on a dike acorss the island. Island seems to be a misnomer as most of the island inside of the dike is under water. It was macro time as we found a tiny colorful snail on the trail. Sedge blooms also called for close up photos. I had a heck of a time getting up and down with my bad knee.

The museum is only open 8 months per year and only three days per week and then only form 1:00 - 4:00. With such a tight window we headed on back far before seeing all there is to see. Another trip is in my near future. We retraced our steps back to the car. On the way we passed a lone hiker. He was the only person we saw. Rather than drive back the way we came we heaeed north on 529 and easily worked our way back onto I-5.

Zipping north we reached the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum just a few minutes after it opened. We had a guided tour of the facility before being let loose. It is a very nice building had more exhibits than I expected. The old photos were the highlight for me. Lots and lots of old black and white photos of the Arlington area plus much of the upper Stillgauamish Valley. The only error I found was the photo caption telling of the gentleman who was born in the 1820s, served in the Spanish-American War of 1898, and died in the 1950s. That would be one amazing life.

We managed to spend 2 1/2 hours in the museum. Afterwords I suggested taking a different route home. I knew there was a park on Jordan Road between Arlington and Granite Falls. I had never been on the road. Our next stop was River Meadows County Park. The park is right along the Stillaguamish River. There is a place to put in rafts and a large grassy picnic area. There are a number of roofed sites for picnics as well as fire pits outdoors.

We headed along the grass above the river until we found the trail. There were not a lot of flowers but we did see bleeding heart, youth on age, and a half a dozen other varieties. The trail is in forest and periodically has viewpoints down to the river. The trail spit at one point with the left branch going out onto the rocky shore of the river. The river enteres a deep canyon here. The canyon is short but impressive. Soon we came to a short trail back to the main route.

A short right turn took us back to the end of the large grassy meadow that makes up most of the park. As we walked back Kim discovered she did not have her camera filters so we retraced our route in and found the filters back near the river. I was still limping a bit but it was very nice to get out of town again. We made two more short stops on the way back. First was the suspension bridge over the Stillaguamish. It looks to be newer than my old guides describe and heftier too. Not much movement as you walk across.

Our last stop was at an old cemetary along the road. It dated back to 1907. Kim won't pass those by without heading back to take a look. It was one more week out of the mountains for me but it was nice to see some new places and at least get out of Seattle. We packed a lot into one day. I hope me knee will allow me to get back to some longer hikes by next weekend.