Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Old Mining Towns, Bridges and a Big Announcement from a One Year Old.

We went to Bonney Lake, Near Puyallup, Washington last Friday to see my sister. It was just an overnighter but it felt good to get away, just because we could. Joe only has a few more days of work before he retires, then we can do overnighters when ever we want. Sat we took a nice drive to a couple of old mining towns, Wilkeson and Carbanado, not far from where Jan. lives. It's also a back road to Mt. Rainier. Wilkeson was officially incorporated on July 24, 1909 and boasts an elementary school building dating from 1909. The town is named for Samuel Wilkeson, father of journalist and pioneer settler Frank Wilkeson. Sometime in the period of 1876-78, four large coal veins were discovered and mined near a region known as Carbonado in the Cascade foothills. The area became well known for its coal coking ovens as well as the natural sandstone formations that were the source of material for facing the new capitol in Olympia. At one time the town of Wilkeson had a population of about 3,000, but today it hovers around 400.* Some of this information was taken from  Wikipedia
 This is the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, built 1900, is a legacy of the many Eastern Europeans who came to work in the mines and quarries around Wilkeson. 

There isn't much left of the town but  we loved the old buildings.
This school is still being used today.
We spotted this quaint, still being used, little church. 
But we had to cross  this fast moving creek to get there.

I took this for you Mary-Pat
The Fairfax Bridge (formerly known as the O'Farrell Bridge) is a steel-lattice three-hinged arch bridge spanning the Carbon River on State Route 165 in Pierce County, WashingtonPrevious to the construction of the bridge in 1921, the only route south to the area around Fairfax was by train. At a total cost of $80,000, the bridge's deck sits 250 feet (76 m) above the river, which made it the tallest structure in Washington at the time it was built.
This is a one lane bridge. So Joe drove across and parked in a pull out on the other end. As you can tell by my hair the wind was blowing and it was biting cold! I was chilled to my bones. But it was a beautiful Kodak moment.

It is approximately 250 ft. straight down to the Carbanado River. I was using my Nikon camera and was using the automatic settings but the pictures sure didn't turn out very clear.

What was VERY clear was all this garbage that people just threw over  the edge along the side of the pull out.  I was so disgusted.  Such beautiful scenery and then to see this as I was getting back into the car. 

As we were heading back home, while leaving Wilkerson, we spotted this beautiful well kept home and this what proved to be the sweetest little lady. Watching her, we figured out she was loading wood from her garage on to this contraption and a little motor at the top pulled the wood up to her door.
She was lovely to visit with  and even though I was really cold, I wanted to ask her a little more about her clever wood hauler. She is a widow, 88 years young. Her late husband found this "Hay Hauler" at a garage sale  in Enumclaw, Washington. He hauled it home, and modified it into her wood hauler.  She said her home is for sale because her children are worried about her living alone.  They live in Pennsylvania and she doesn't want to move back there. I told her I couldn't imagine so many changes at her age and she agreed.  She also doesn't want to live with her children, but she knows they mean well and want to take care of her and for that she is grateful. 
Remember the Welcome to Wilkeson Sign at the beginning of my blog?  Well this is what you see as you leave Wilkeson.  It was a beautiful trip, but it was time to leave for Portland so we said goodbye to Jan, knowing in a few weeks we'd be back........for almost a whole month. She has a cement pad and full hookup by her garage.  It will be nice being close to her and Joe's kids and grand kids.

Last Thursday eve, we took a drive up to Sandy, Oregon to help our great grandson Bronson, celebrate his first Birthday.  And if he could talk, this is what he would want me to tell you.  "I'm going to be a big brother in July" Yep, Joe and I are going to be great grandparents again. Happy, Happy, Happy.


  1. You two can sure pack a lot into an overnighter!! Great blog and photos and that's a really good photo of you and Joe. So happy things are going so well for you. Congrats on the coming addition.

  2. Sometimes just getting away for a day or two is really fun especially if it's just a car trip. We like exploring the area around us too. Congratulations on the announcement from your great grandson!

  3. What a great post! You and Joe look wonderful! Congratulations on the new addition. Your pictures of the churches are beautiful and oh my, what stories the lady with the wood hauler could share. I so love meeting folks like that!

  4. Congratulations!!! What a lovely little town you took us to, today!! I really like the architecture of the first church. And the sweet little old lady getting wood to her house...True Grit!!!

  5. We really enjoy visiting old buildings also. That is a very nice old town.

    Your Kodak moment is a beauty.

    Congratulations to all!

  6. Hi Betty and Joe:
    What a wonderful post. I loved it. And, thank you for my special picture - that's very nice of you. I agree with Donna K: you surely do pack a lot of adventure into an overnighter. The pictures are beautiful as usual and I love the way you've honored that lovely lady. I hope she and her family can come to a mutual agreement about how she'll live her future; she certainly appears capable now!
    The photos of the two of you are very nice; could you email me a copy of one or both?
    I just know we're going to meet up on the road before I get back to Oregon! Love you both ... mp

  7. Happy to see the two of you "out and about". What a lot to see and do up there, eh? Getting colder down here, too.

  8. Love, love old buildings and little churches with character.

    Congrats on new great grand.

  9. What a great tour you had. Thanks for sharing the pictures and the stories. I like to look at churches, too. Congratulations on the news about the new great-grandchild that is expected!

  10. What a wonderful picture of you two. Glad to see you enjoying your new freedom. Hope I'm as independent at that age as the woman you met. So sorry her children are not willing to let her do what she wants. Dad to see her selling her home if she wants to stay and is able.