Soaring Eagle Park

Today I went on a 65 minute trail run in Soaring Eagle Park. I have not run these trails in two years, but I used to run here frequently in high school. Back in the day, all the trails were very primitive and my running friends and I explored and developed the area. The large chunk of protected forest was known as Section 36 at the time (the largest forest on the Sammamish Plateau). Now, the park has a formal name attached to it, but fortunately the trails have remained primitive for the time being. The entry signs warning users of bear and cougar are still there. The place basically looks the same, but there have been some developments which I hope are not foreshadows of further changes like baseball fields and parking lots… 

First of all, there is a new bark trail (small car width) cutting across the park. It feels out-of-place, but I guess it gives the park people better access (they haven't really done anything yet to the existing trails). Second, there are topographic maps of all the trails on numbered posts at every intersection. I used to get lost all the time, but it was part of the fun. The maps are good for the new visitor because the forest looks the same everywhere. You can lose your orientation very easily because the trails wind and turn continuously. The maps actually helped me a couple times today. However, giving directions is not the best part of these new maps…

The sweet part about the topos are the names of the trails, reflecting names that my friend Andrew and I chose years ago. We etched the names on some wood and nailed them onto the trees. It's great those names have stuck, making it to the "official" park trail map posted at every intersection. I am proud to have made history in Soaring Eagle Park with names like "Terror Trail", "Bone Trail", "Kramer's Landing",  "Camino Espantoso", and others. Hopefully this place will remain like it is, but with the pressures of increasing population in the area, I imagine it is only so long before the forest is chopped down for fields and more established trails :( 

Anyway, the run was pretty awesome. I got many nettle stings and there was quite a bit of mud and slosh around, but all that is to be expected. 

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