We sometimes refer to the trails within our Regional Trails System as “linear parks”. Nobody really likes this description, but it conveys the facts of maintenance and management that a trail takes, just as a park would. Most trails fit the various, also unappealing, descriptions of “transit corridors” or “non-motorized mobility paths”. Which, I know isn’t the sexiest, but conveys — well, conveyance.
I prefer the latter as I’m a cyclist at heart. Walking to me seems clunky as a mode of transportation. But just as cycling immerses you in your environment, versus a car that separates you from it, walking is to cycling what cycling is to driving.
This being on my mind, I decided to leave my bike behind (blasphemy) and just walk a trail. Many of our Regional Trails are great destinations in and of themselves, but some are more conducive than others to walking at your leisure. One of my favorites is the Soos Creek Trail.
The Soos Creek Trail follows the scenic Soos Creek Valley for 6 miles as it meanders through the woods, wetlands, and meadows. Although popular with cyclists, it’s not connected directly (yet) with our other regional trails and tends to be more popular with the leisure tour, rather than than racing crowd.
I parked on the less-trafficked south end, at the Soos Creek Park Trailhead near Lake Meridian, and walked north. Some of the more striking sights of open wetlands are north of 208th St., which also has parking, but I wanted to get to know the quiet south end.
A winding trail cuts up and down through forested valley, then breaks through to dense wetlands. I ran into a couple of locals out for their morning stroll. Mike and Rosie have been walking the trail for years. Mike told me he appreciates the many ways the trail changes throughout the year, but that, in February, you can see giant heron nests and even catch a glimpse of them fighting off hawks and eagles from their young.
Walking gave me time to think, to smell the autumn air, and to converse with local neighbors. Things I might have missed if I’d been buzzing by on my bike. It took a little bit more time, and I didn’t get to see as much as I’d liked, but that just gives me an excuse to go back.