Nothing takes me back to childhood more than getting on a bike. And nothing keeps me riding today more than my electric bike. That, and a good bike trail!
We found one on a recent sunny day – the Foothills Trail – a 21 mile paved trail built on top of an old railroad bed. We started our ride in Orting – a small town with a big mountain – and headed to South Prairie on the most scenic section of the trail.
Mt. Rainier kept watch over the first leg of our journey,
till we passed through farmland
and intercepted the Carbon River.
The river’s source is the Carbon Glacier on Mt. Rainier, and got its name from the coal deposits found in the area.
We rode the 7.5 miles to South Prairie before returning to Orting, 15 miles roundtrip – not bad for the first trip of the year! By then we were hungry and went looking for lunch in Wilkeson, a short drive up the road.
Established in 1877 and incorporated in 1909, Wilkeson became known for its coal cooking ovens and natural sandstone. The town was recently featured in the Seattle Times and the Carlson Block Pizza was not only recommended but touted to be the best pizza in the state.
We found the pizzeria in the former Carlson Hotel, built in 1910. Unfortunately they didn’t open until 3:00 and we were too hungry to wait.
So we walked the short block through town;
not even stopping by the ‘coke ovens’ – though we did the last time we passed through Wilkeson on the way to Mt. Rainier.
It was here that raw coal was heated at very high temperatures to burn off impurities to make ‘coke,’ refining over 10,000 pounds of coal monthly, during its heyday.
We also didn’t stop by the school; built in 1912 from sandstone, it’s the oldest still operating school in the state. Wilkeson sandstone also provided the material for the Capitol Building in Olympia.
For lunch we went to Wally’s Drive-In in Buckley where the burgers were delivered to our truck fifties style. We could have sat inside and though the burgers were great maybe we should have ‘got ribs?’
We’ll be back to ride another section of the trail and time it right to sample some of that pizza in Wilkeson.
Here’s a link to the map if you’d like to join us! 🙂