The business park by Paine Field is a perfect place to start. I don't know what their occupancy is, but I wouldn't be surprised if half or more of the office space is available. I'm definitely not concerned about anyone caring that my car is in their wide-open lot. I'm not sure if I ever noticed that there's a very good view of Mt. Rainier across the runway from there.
It was definitely weird entering from the top like that. I mean, I've done it, but that was after parking at the bottom and climbing all the way up via the streets. After that, heading in was the last part of the journey. I always feel a little better about doing the climb first, because if something were to happen, it's relatively easy to walk down. Going down first just makes me picture being exhausted and still having to climb. It's never been a big deal, though. And I've walked almost 3,500 miles that I've kept track of.
One thing that's vexed me a lot is that the strongest, sturdiest bridge across the creek leads to a path that's been trashed and covered in fallen trees for ages. I decided to have a look today, and was surprised to see that it's been cleaned up a lot!
I still wouldn't try to walk across there, but at least with all the branches and stuff gone, it's not completely impossible.
Once I got to the muddy part in the bottom, I turned around and set out to find a way to climb up to the Western part of the gulch. I didn't want to go all the way up to the Rusty Car trail because I wanted more of the walk back to be higher up, so I chose the trail that I didn't name until today. It's the next trail after the one I call Bowling Ball, and there's nothing particularly unique about it, so I'll call it Bowling Ball Adjacent, or BBA.
BBA isn't a particularly difficult climb, but there was enough mud today that I slipped a couple of times. I like to think I've become pretty good at navigating these trails, or else I would have not only slipped several more times, but I probably also would have fallen when I slipped.
The trip up and back over to the car was pretty nice today.
One thing happened today for the first time. I've never been able to see the buildings on 78th from inside the Western area before. The trees are so bare now, I could make them out quite clearly.
And I finally figured something out that I've wondered about ever since my first time on that side. There are a couple of areas where the trail is really wide, and there are these little side trails that come right back to the main trail within 25 feet. Just a little jaunt off the trail and back. They always seemed weird and pointless, but today, the main trail by two of them was super muddy, and the side trails are ways to get around that mud. Whoever set up those side trails is my new favorite person. Here's a picture I grabbed after one of them, you can see all the mud on the left and can sort of see the side trail on the right.
Gorgeous sky on the way back to the car.
And I ended up taking a few minutes to enjoy the sky on the way home because I got caught behind a streetsweeper right before Harborview Park. No reason to go a mile an hour behind it when I can relax and enjoy the view.
Thankfully Harborview Park is near an intersection, so I didn't have to wait long before I could get back on the road. Today's route:
4.07 miles in 1:26, 8,745 steps, 329ft gain
It's good to get back in the gulch. I might take advantage of the Boeing freeway to get home a little faster next time, though.