I wanted to get another hike/photo shoot in before the rains take over the weather here in the Seattle area. Yesterday was the perfect day for just that. I live at the base of an area called Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. The park tops out at an elevation of 1595 feet above sea level. One of the trail heads up the mountain starts down the street from us. The trail takes you through very dense woods and numerous switch backs as you climb in altitude very quickly. The forest changes from deciduous to almost all fir trees. My goal for the day was to hike to what is called the Anti-Aircraft Peak trailhead. In the 1950s and early 60s, two active Nike missile sites were located within the park’s current boundaries, in order to protect the Puget Sound region from potential air attacks. Eventually, these sites were decommissioned, and in the late 1960s, the county took over ownership of the land that would later become Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.
What I wanted to share was a couple of pictures from that hike/photo shoot. The first picture is from the top and gives you an idea of the elevation.
Cougar Mountain Reserve Overlook
This is a view looking north towards Lake Sammamish. My hike started almost straight below this picture. To the right of this shot is the Cascade Mountain Range and to the left would be Bellevue and Seattle proper.
Ok…thanks for the tour Kirt, but what the heck does “The Moss Covered Stairs” have to do with that…
The Anti Aircraft missile site was located just south of this overlook. What remains of what was once an active military installation is a large grassy area. The county has done a great job restoring it back to a useful public park. The park has large posters and maps erected depicting where the barracks use to be, the missiles and all of the supporting buildings, etc. Fascinating, but you truly don’t see any of that now, except….as I walked around the site looking for any old indications of what use to be there, I came across two stair cases that connected the flat “barrack area” (now grass-covered park) up to another level where the missiles had been. The first stair case was through some weeds.
The Moss Stairs I First Found
The second staircase was through a grove of trees.
The Moss Covered Stairs Above Them
Both stairs were created using stone and metal. The first set was pretty straight forward, while this second set had multiple levels and wound around the trees. An interesting find and glad they were left when they decommissioned the site and turned it into a park. Makes for a “wow” moment for a photographer.
I was able to get a number of other great shots in the woods, but thought the stairs were the biggest surprise for the day.
As I work through the shoot and evaluate what I have, some of the shots will find themselves transformed into paintings and others, like the stairs, will stay color photographs.
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