Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A History Lesson

The other day, I drove out to Cougar Mountain to hike the Coal Creek Trail. I really enjoy hiking at Cougar Mountain. I hiked this trail last year for hike-a-thon. One of the reasons that I like the Red Town Trailhead so much is the history.

The Cougar Mountain area: Newcastle and Red Town, was once a thriving coal mining operation. Millions of tons of coal from this area was sent by railroad to Seattle and used for energy. It was also shipped from Seattle to San Francisco. The town had a telegraph office and daily mail service, two churches, a hotel, and a general store. The coal mines were so important to this area that when President Rutherford B. Hayes visited the Seattle area in October of 1880, he made speeches at Newcastle.

Today there is not much left to see of this ghost town. Because it was a company town, when they were through mining, they packed up and took everything with them. Any homes or buildings that remained were then scavenged during the Great Depression. The Coal Creek Trail follows the rail line that carted the coal to Seattle. There is a concrete foundation from the boiler of the hotel at the beginning of the hike. You can see an old mine shaft and by the waterfall is the site of the old locomotive turntable. Odd little hills and hummocks are the remains of the debris piles that were left from the mining operation.

One of my favorite remnants of the coal mining era is down the Primrose trail. There is a coal car wheel attached to a tree. And what might be the rusted shell of a coal car near the junction of the Primrose Trail and the Coal Creek Trail.

I hiked the Coal Creek and Primrose Trails for 4 miles. This brings my total mileage for hike-a-thon to 20 miles. And I am only $20 away from having $1000 in pledge money!! Thanks so much to everyone who has been supporting me during the hike-a-thon.