Roslyn,WA- This weekend harrybipedhiking.com joined forces with Exploring History in your Hiking Boots for an opened ended day of snowshoeing.
Sufficiently crappy weather led us to abandon a previous plan roaming around in the west side woods, instead opting for the lands eastward… but not too east.
In the Roslyn/Cle Elum area, coal mining was king through the first half of the 20th century. In the hills surrounding the town, the scars of that era are evident as huge tailings piles, dilapidated ruins and open pits turned braffing tracks.
On the USGS maps, some of these former mining areas are clearly marked, and naturally had caught our collective eye for history.
THE OL’ NUMBER SEVEN
The topo showed the #7 mine surrounded by pick axe symbols and “open pits”, as well as being in reasonable walking distance.
Across sparse vegetation and under high tension wires we plodded along toward the site.
A search of the area turned up little at first, but just a short trip uphill and I was startled by a modern and inhabited house! (Was not expecting that!) Well below the house stood a handful of concrete ruins, presumably the ol’ number 7.
It was certainly the ruins of something. Of what… the jury is still out. As we milled about the site, an idea came from the ether…
“It’d be pretty cool to snowshoe the cemetery”
“Yes. Yes it would”, was the correct response to that, and so down the road a few miles we went!
If you’re a cemetery fan in Washington, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the Roslyn Cemetery. If you aren’t a cemetery fan, the Roslyn cemetery might make one out of you.
(I’ll save the detailed write-up for another day! )
Snowshoe trails amongst the trees and tombstones conspired with fog and falling snow to paint a surreal landscape.
Snow seems to lend a silence to the land, and sometimes silence can give voice to the silent:
I sat down and suddenly locked eyes with a woman across the way. She was born some years before my great grandma, yet there we were, probably about the same age, looking across time.
The silence spoke to me a little, and remembered my great grandma’s face.
I was reminded of the importance of appreciating the living while we all yet dwell in life, and departed to rejoin my friends.
DUST TO DUST
I rejoined Kevin and Julie from www.exploringhistoryinyourhikingboots.com for a picnic complete with hot tea, cheese and smoked salmon atop one of the cemetery’s hills…
When I was a kid, my family used to picnic in cemeteries with some regularity. We’d walk around looking for the oldest dates or unusual inscriptions. Pretty sure we never knew anyone there.
Not much has changed I guess, except that this time I was wearing snowshoes. Gotta say; cemetery snowshoeing. Personal first.
(Well except that one time when out hunting and found a small graveyard behind a collapsed cabin on the Gulkana River. Remind me sometime, I’ll tell ya)
We tied up our unusual tour of the Roslyn Cemetery just as the late daylight began to peek through the clouds.
Obviously not a lot of juicy trail tidbits on this journey, but I should mention that the vast former mining area of “The number 7” seems to be a large private (but open to non motorized public use) mountain bike park or something. Er, future park.
I’m definitely thinking about coming back with my bike in less snowy conditions.
Oh, there may have been a rumor started about future crossblog adventures, so, stay tuned! and…