I am not sure which was prettier, the arch along the Interurban Trail, Hoag’s Pond or the Clarita Leigh Moore Nature Preserve, but I believe it all had something to do with today’s blue sky. Beginning my hike at the Rotary Trailhead for the Interurban Trail along Old Fairhaven Parkway, I followed the Interurban Trail until I reached the Clarita Leigh Moore Nature Preserve.
When I reached the edge of the reserve, there was a sign for Hoag’s Pond and another trail. Following that trail, I was surprised when it abruptly ended, leaving me in the middle of a street with yet another sign for Hoag’s Pond.
So I walked along the streets, up and down the hills, from one street to another. Thinking I must have missed a sign (or even a trail!) somewhere along my way, I finally saw a thicket of trees ahead (rather than more houses). I decided that I would walk up that one next hill, and if that thicket of trees was not hiding a pond, or there was no sign for Hoag’s Pond, I would turn around and go back to the preserve. I didn’t have to turn around though as at the top of that next hill was a sign, and the final trail to Hoag’s pond.
The pond was absolutely lovely and I was so very glad that I had found it. There were ducks swimming about, often dunking down for nibbles as they casually paddled their way around the pond. The pond was full of reflection – blue sky, billowy clouds, the half moon, trees, lots of trees.
I decided to take the trail around the parameter of the pond, and boy was that a mistake! It was a primative trail, almost overgrown, swampy, marshy, muddy and I suspected had received no maintenance for at least a year or two (probably more!). In some places, the mud and water were nearly up to the top of my boots, and I was so thankful that I had thought to spray those boots with half a can of Penguin Ultra Dry waterproof protectant. My feet stayed dry, but I ended up having to gently blaze my own trail several times through thickets of trees, wild roses, mossy logs, trickling streams and fallen leaves in order to keep from sinking past my ankles into the swampy muck along that trail. Ha, it really was rather fun as I think back on it now.
After exploring Hoag’s Pond, I took another trail that lead almost directly back to the Interurban Trail, even passed a convenient parking area for Hoag’s pond, and continued my hike along a trail through another preserve. It was shady and felt damp in that preserve, and I wanted to enjoy the sunshine, so I took another trail that re-joined the Interurban. Once I reached the Overlook at the end of the Interurbanl, just before Arroyo Park, I turned around and followed the Interurban Trail back to the parking lot where I had began.
The sun had changed its position in the sky, casting bright light on this arch along the trail by the time I was walking back. The trees seemed almost to sparkle as the afternoon sunlight filtered through their branches.
The trail map for the Interurban Trail, found here – http://www.cob.org/documents/parks/parks-trails/trail-guide/interurban.pdf, includes a sketch of the trails to Hoag’s Pond and through the Clarita Leigh Moore Nature Preserve, but I was unable to locate any more details than provided on that map, and I was not able to locate any information about the nature reserve. I found the signage along this stretch of the Interurban Trail a bit confusing. One sign simply said “trail” (that was the trail I took into the second preserve). Someone had written on that sign, “to where”, and someone else had added “Chuckanut”; so it seems I am not the only one that has found the signage a bit confusing. Oh well, I guess that makes the adventure more fun!