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
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
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.