It Happened Like This

Exciting, Interesting & Unique Stories of Places we\’ve gone and Things we Did

Green River Headworks



It is June 21, 2006. Today is the longest of the year. It is the summer solstice, the day the sun is 23 degrees north of the equator, when it is as far north as it goes.

A 74 year old friend, said he used to take the train east up the Green River from the Palmer-Kanaskat station to fish. It cost him $1.25 round trip. He said got off at different ‘homsteads” along the way. They fished the river until it was time to go home when they would walk to the track and signaled a train returning to the station. He thinks he remembers It was part of the Tacoma Watershed….

We are southbound on the Issaquah Hobart Road. It winds as it has for generations. Most of these roads started as a game trail, then an Indian trail, a trail used by white trappers, a wagon road, a gravel road and finally it was paved. It is smooth and civilized with lines and signs and warnings protecting us from ourselves.

We passed a white wooden cross where a 19 year old driver missed a turn on New years Eve a couple of years ago. The area around the homemade marker is populated with a teddy bear, pictures and small things from his room.

We now are heading to the Green River headworks of the Howard Hanson Dam. It is part of the Green River Watershed managed by Tacoma. The road is paved but not maintained. It continues all the way to Lester, 25 miles east. Lester is the subject of another, soon to be published, blog. It was closed by the City of Tacoma because it was located on their watershed. There is a trail from Lester to the west but it does not go into the the watershed.

The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroad tracks are 200 feet above the road. Last week a train hit a herd of elk killing a number of them. Beside the trains, there are no men in this area except along the road servicing the watershed.

Entry past the headworks is restricted. Water travels from the headworks, 26 miles in a gravity pipeline to Tacoma. It gets 90% of it’s water from here.

We have passed the headworks offices and are on a gravel road. A sign says vehicles must have a CB radio tuned to channel 10. It is used by logging and construction trucks tearing down the road. I took these pictures at the bridge where we were apprehended by a Tacoma Watershed security person. She said no one was supposed to go past the gate. We told her the gate was open so we didn’t pay any attention to the signs.On our immediate return the gate was closed and there were 4 people across the road directing us to park in front of the office.

They asked whether we saw these Red signs:

  • Stop Here
  • Restricted Area
  • Do Not Enter

We didn’t pay attention to them going east because the gate was open.

The office personnel were beside themselves. We were questioned at the office. I told them, “Don’t talk to me, she was the driver.” Three of them were on the phone to different places tying to figure out what to do. Both of us had to give our drivers license for identity verification, our vehicle registration and proof of insurance…like were were going to hit something on the gravel road…. They made copies. They called the Tacoma Watershed Inspector. He decided we would not be charged the $160 fine for trespassing but would receive a certified letter from him in the mail. We did not receive even a thank you in the mail.

They said if we had been hunting or fishing we would have lost the VW Rabbit, our gun or fishing gear. How would they know? They did not look inside the car but we did not look like sportsmen. We were a couple of old people in a gold Rabbit who were confused by the gate and the signs.



They knew I had a camera and had taken some pictures at the bridge, one of which was of the headworks. They deleted them but did not keep the camera. Two of the pictures at the bridge are above. They did not ask about the laptop or this blog I was writing on it. I guess they were more interested in photographs than descriptions.

We are glad the Tacoma Watershed is so well protected and organized….

— Bob and Beth, the DRIVER

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June 22, 2006 Posted by | daily life, Family, Friends, Friends & Family, Fun, Life, Life in general, musings, My Life, Personal, Travel | 2 Comments

US-2: Monroe to Skykomish

Friday, February 08, 2008

Relics of the Dead….
Beth is driving. We are eastbound on US-2 leaving Monroe, Washington, traveling 50 mph indicated. “Indicated,” because the the speedometer gear is lying to the speedometer. We have a new 1.9 liter diesel engine in our 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit.

As we leave Sultan, 5 miles east of Monroe, we see many towns that were settled by miners hoping to strike it rich. The names tell the story: Startup, Gold Bar and Index but the tales are known only to the dead. The stories of empty dreams, fallen hopes and terrible loss are remembered only by the relics of the dead.

We went through the town of Startup and saw two boys going down to the Skykomish River with their fishing poles and backpacks. US-2 for some distance follows the the Skykomish River along which the Burlington Northern runs. Railroads follow the water as it is the course of least resistance.

Skykomish, Indian for “Inland People,” is our destination. It is 13 miles west of Stevens Pass. Read this gripping account of the 1910, Wellington Avalanche.

Skykomish was a railroad town during the days of steam. Trains traveling east did not have enough power to climb over Stevens Pass so pusher engines from Skykomish would push them to the top. With arrival of the diesel powered locomotive engine, the age of steam came to an end.

Interestingly, Skykomish has a tiny, one room library. It is open Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It is a branch of the King County Library System so it has an open wireless access point. We entered Snohomish Country 5 miles south of Monroe. The Cascade Mountains and compromise defined the border between the counties.

The spring green trees nearly cover the road. The Cascade mountains reach the top of the sky at their snowy peaks. The road curves aphoto-28.JPGnd crosses to the north side of the Skykomish river. The water is white as it tumbles west over boulders. The mountains to the south rise almost vertically near the town of Index. Haystack peak is above everything on the south.

At Index, the Bush House Country Inn was built In 1889. It was built for miners who where moving to Index. At the turn of the century there was a young woman named Annabel that came to Index to wed. Her future husband worked in the mines. There was an explosion and word got down the valley to Annabel that her husband to be had been killed in the explosion. After getting word of this she hung herself. Turned out that her future husband had not been killed. He found Annabel dead. Rumor is that he then committed suicide. Annabel’s ghost still haunts The Bush House. Along with some other people that have died there. She hung herself in room 9. And table 2 is Annabel’s table (from this.

A passing road sign says, “Entering King County.” The Skykomish Library is part of the King County Library System.

US-2 tunnels beneath a forest of spring-green trees on this, the nineteenth of June








We are now in Skykomish. Here are a couple pictures of the train that passed us. There were five units (engines) pulling 69 cars, all but a few of the containers were stacked two high.

— Bob and Beth, the driver —

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June 20, 2006 Posted by | daily life, Family, Friends, Friends & Family, Fun, Life, Life in general, musings, My Life, Personal, Travel | 1 Comment