The drive to the Skykomish branch of the King County Library System was quintessential Northwest Fall. The clouds were low over the Cascades as we drove out Saturday morning and though the air was chilly and the sky was heavy, we were lucky enough to not see a drop of rain on my 24th jaunt!
One of the great things about visiting libraries with Chris is that she knows someone everywhere. She had emailed ahead so that Linda, the Skykomish Library Manager, knew we were coming out for a visit. Of course, like every library we visit, we were greeted warmly in the cozy building. And with the branch serving a smaller community, Linda pretty much greeted everyone else through the door by name too! A 30+ year veteran of KCLS in several capacities, Linda was kind enough to spend time with us and fill us in about all things Skykomish.
The branch was remodeled and expanded in 2006, bringing improved light, space, and maneuverability. However, the topic of the day wasn’t so much inside the library as just outside it. For 80 years, the BNSF Railway located maintenance and fueling operations in the Town of Skykomish. As a result of these activities, the ground was saturated with oil and heavy metals and there was contamination of groundwater and the Skykomish River. Since 2006, the BNSF Railway, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and the Town have been working to essentially dig up and replace all of the contaminated soil. The library building sits just outside of the area currently scheduled for the 10 year cleanup project.
As we said our good-byes, we asked advice on taking the scenic route back home. Instead of going directly back up to Highway 2, we turned west onto the Old Cascade Highway to follow it until it intersected back with the main road. The wet weather along this smaller road only served to accentuate how beautiful our area can be! It was a short detour though, as we were soon back on the “fast lane” heading home.
p.s. The trip didn’t quite end there, but I really liked that paragraph as a posting ending. I find that starting and ending the blog entries is one of the hardest parts of this jaunt journaling, so I want to take a good ending when I find it! On the way back, we also detoured into Index for a brief look at the river where we caught kayakers and rafters from the Outdoor Adventure Center. Chris and I agree that one of the most fun things we’ve each ever done was white water rafting. We also made a pit stop in Gold Bar for lunch at the Mountain View Diner (large portions!) and took a peek into the Sultan branch of the Sno-Isle Library System. Highway 2 travels enough north and south in its east-west route that one ends up in both Snohomish and King Counties on the drive from Redmond!