College Hill Combo

by Connie DeLaVergne on June 22, 2010

4 miles
1 – 2 hours
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
8,475 steps
295 kcal
Skyridge Park
Kelsey Creek Farm
Spiritwood Park

This is a combination walk because it includes wooded parks, 3 Bellevue neighborhoods (including mine) and a shopping center of small, local businesses. I have included wooded trails, steps and hills because I love them and I want this social walk to be beautiful as well as good for you. You can thank me now or thank me later in person. Surely you will love it.

It’s a heart pounder!

At my usual clip I can walk this in 69 minutes. A leisurely pace took me two hours but I snapped a lot of photographs, spoke with an owner of Beautiful People and used the QFC toilet.

In conjunction with Feet First, I will lead this walk as a Neighborhood Ambassador on Saturday, July 17 at 8:30 AM. (Hence the reason I said you can thank me later in person.) It will be a first for me so I hope you will turn out and help make it fun!

We begin this walk at Skyridge Park.
It is a small neighborhood park in Bellevue at SE 20 ST and 130 PL SE.

Skyridge Rollercoaster

Head north and pick up the Pipeline Trail, affectionately dubbed (by me) the Skyridge Rollercoaster because there are 5 very steep hills.

It is not suitable for wheelchairs or the faint of heart.

It will warm you up in a hurry and there is loose gravel on this trail so you must walk carefully, especially down the hills.

Follow the Skyridge Rollercoaster up and down and up and down and, ultimately, left into a grove of trees that will bring you to a very busy thoroughfare called Lake Hills Connector. Turn right to reach the break in the road where you can safely cross this street one-direction-of-traffic at a time. Be very careful because cars zoom by at a minimum of 40 mph.

When you get to the other side, follow the Bellevue parks bollard downward into the woods toward Kelsey Creek Farm.

Kelsey Creek Park Trails

These woods house the Kelsey Creek Park Trails and deliver a forest experience of fir trees, maples, ferns, birds, critters, creeks and skunk cabbage. It feels remote here though suburbia, as we know, is only a few steps away.  Well . . . maybe a few hundred steps away.

Follow the barked trail and when you get to the T, turn left and follow it down and around.

Kelsey Creek Park

Some of the trees in this park have been here for a very long time. Check out the bark on this big old beauty.  Did you know . . . just like a good woman
a tree gets better with age?

Kelsey Creek Park

You can almost feel the bark’s texture with your eyes and the tiny purple and white flower, which my husband pointed out, is rather fond of it too.

Kelsey Creek Park

The environment here is very moist because the rains escape to the flood plain of Kelsey Creek and as you can see a lot of water still flows. It’s been a wet spring this year, in case you haven’t noticed, and even though the trails are well maintained they can get muddy during heavy rain.

Year-round these trails are enjoyed by dog walkers, fitness enthusiasts, PE students from the local high school, and of course, my friends and me. I’ve seen these creeks frozen in the wintertime and in the summertime the Kelsey Creek Trails remain cool and refreshing, a respite from the sun.

When you reach the Y turn right toward the steps and follow the bollard to the Pipeline Trail.

first and second halves of stairs

What good is a Kelsey Creek walk if it doesn’t include the 166 Kelsey Creek Steps?

I told you this was a fitness walk and after these steps the rest of this walk will seem like a leisurely stroll. Truly. This is the last incline of any great measure, I promise.

At the top of the steps turn right and you will be back on the Pipeline Trail.

Feel proud. Your body and heart are grateful.

Take the first left past the backsides of two fairly large, newly constructed homes that sit empty and waiting for finishing touches, landscaping and eager new owners. This path leads to SE 7 ST.

three incomplete and vacant homes

There are a number of homes for sale on this street.

my dream home

This house is my dream home. It has been vacant for over a year now and the two that we just passed are really three with plans for a fourth.

They all look forgotten . . . ignored and kind of lonely.  It’s sad.

yours for a million five

There’s another house on this street (same style as the 3 empties) that was built in 2007 and has a fully landscaped yard. It was recently vacated and has an asking price of $1, 500,000.

A million five is a lot of money!

As you may have noticed, the neighborhood portion of this walk is well underway. Continue east on SE 7 ST and enjoy the real estate on this lovely block in Bellevue’s Glendale neighborhood.

At the end of the street turn right on 140 Ave SE. Cross 140th in the crosswalk at the Lake Hills Connector and head south.

Continue south on 140, crossing SE 13 PL and Lake Hills Blvd.  Turn left into a small QFC shopping center.

a neighborhood shopping center

This understated center brims with great people and a number of wonderful businesses I want to mention.

Fuji Bakery

The first is Fuji Bakery. It is a unique little Japanese bakery with some of the most flavorful pastries and sandwiches I’ve ever tasted. The way it’s set up is quaint with baskets and prongs for self-service selections. The pastries in the glass case are delicate pieces of art that you must see to appreciate. They are so beautiful I can’t imagine eating them except they’re probably delicious, just like their everyday pastries.

Beautiful People

Right next-door is Beautiful People, a Lake Hills neighborhood landmark. It’s been in the barber and beauty salon business for decades. Not only do they have fashion magazines to peruse but old yearbooks from the local high school also. A brother and sister team, whose father ran it before they did, cut hair and run the operations. It’s a very friendly place that defines community and the prices for a haircut are very affordable.

Sunset Spa

On the other side of Beautiful People is Sunset Spa. They are known for their hospitality, comfort and the pampering you get with every pedicure and manicure. They do good work in a beautiful environment—it’s relaxing just to be there and with a foot massage, well . . . it’s heavenly. Without question it’s the best pedicure I’ve ever had (I don’t get many) but it came highly recommended by someone who would know, and she was right!

Other notable mentions in this center are the Teriyaki joint with quick tasty food and La Tienda, a small Hispanic grocery store. The QFC here has a Starbucks with some of the nicest help on the planet and rarely do you wait in line . . . but
shhhhhhh . . . don’t tell anybody.

There are toilets in QFC if you need one.

The walk continues past Starbucks on the south end of the building. Head east onto SE 16 ST.

Cross 16 ST at the crosswalk and head south on 144 Ave SE.

empty lot

Turn left on SE 18 ST where an empty lot and an abundance of weeds replace the dilapidated home that was there two years ago.

home for sale

home for sale

On this block there are two homes for sale, directly across the street from each other, the asking price for one is $339,500 and the other is $650,000.

Can you guess which one is which?

Spiritwood Park trail

Pick up the park trail on the south side of 18 ST and head upward.  At the Y go right and right again at the next Y.

Spiritwood Park trail

The Spiritwood Park trail takes us behind a fairly new development of two-story houses with very small yards.

At the end of the trail go left on the community driveway and safely cross the street to head south on 145 PL SE. Take an immediate right onto 144 Ave SE.

This neighborhood is part of College Hill because it is right next door to . . . you guessed it . . . Bellevue College. It in the process of being rezoned from R-1 to High R-4 or R-5, which means more houses closer together.

Turn right on SE 22 ST.

home for sale

Here is another house for sale and, in my humble opinion, it’s the best deal so far because it’s been updated and is well-maintained. It’s only $465,000—less than a third the cost of the big green house a mile away!

154 BC Steps

Turn Left on 142 Ave SE. Right on SE 24 ST and head down what I call the 154 BC Steps. On a clear day you can see The Olympic Mountains from the top of the steps but when I took this picture only the cities of Bellevue and Seattle were visible.

view of Bellevue from the 154 BC Steps

view of Seattle from 154 BC Steps

At the bottom of the 154 BC Steps cross Kamber Road safely and head west on SE 24 ST. Follow the bend in the road to the right and onto 135 PL SE.

beautiful garden

One of the joys of walking is looking at a well-tended garden. This one caught my eye, the fullness and purple lavender grabbed my attention I think, or perhaps it’s the love this garden exudes.

Clearly the person who lives here likes a nice garden and I like looking at it. Thanks for the hard work, whomever you are.

It’s beautiful.

back entrance to Skyridge Park

Between two houses at the end of 135 PL SE is a gravel path with trail bollard that leads to Skyridge Park and back where we began.

Skyridge Park

You have just completed the College Hill Combo, one of my favorite walks and the first one I will lead in July as a Neighborhood Walking Ambassador for Feet First.

Please join me for it.

Come back here for details about this upcoming walk as I will post frequent reminders.

Walk on my friends.

Walk On!

Please share this walk (and this site) with others and help spread the word about WalkOn InBellWA and the July 17th College Hill Combo walk with Connie DeLaVergne and Feet First. Perhaps the sun will be out by then.


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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Bernardo June 22, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Connie,

Thanks for writing this post , i find the information that you have shared of great value to the people that i connect with and going to pass this on to my tribe. I look forward to reading more from you.

Chris

Reply

Connie DeLaVergne June 22, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Thank you Chris for sharing my information, and you are very welcome–writing and mapping walks is a lot of fun for me, feels like play.

To your fabulous good health and prosperity,
Connie DeLaVergne

Reply

Kevin Tyler Smith June 22, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Connie,

Very scenic walk. Thanks for sharing your part of the world. Although not in my “neck of the woods”, I’ll be sure to spread the word for you.

You know, there are very few things I find as invigorating as a long brisk walk. Everyone should make it a habit.

One of the things I want to add to the mix of my walks is a bike. That way I can enjoy the scenery in my area at different paces.

Have fun on the 17th

Stay growing,

Kevin Tyler Smith
Promethean Life

Reply

Connie DeLaVergne June 23, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Thanks for visiting, reading my post and taking the time to comment, Kevin. I appreciate it.

Walking is a great habit to get into and why I inspire people to do more of it. It’s a way to build relationship with your neighborhood, city and the people you walk with while getting the exercise needed to stay healthy. There’s not a downside to it! Biking is another way to do the same thing, only faster.

Too bad you don’t live around here you could join us on the 17th for the guided walk. Maybe you could organize a walk in your neighborhood on that same day and we could share notes/links/connections? That could be fun.

Anyway, thanks again for stopping by and saying so.

Keep on walking!

~Connie DeLaVergne

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Steven Suchar June 23, 2010 at 7:28 am

Hi Connie!

Thanks for inviting me back to your Blog…it’s a pleasure seeing you again. 🙂

WOW, so many pathways to explore…while out exercising & enjoying nature. What a 2fer!! On the other side of the coin, it’s really tough taking in all of those depressed properties, OUCH!!

Have a highly inspired day…your tribal friend Steven Suchar

Reply

Connie DeLaVergne June 23, 2010 at 10:56 am

You’re welcome, Steven, and thanks for coming back.

Yes I love walking in nature, and it is sad seeing beautiful homes without families in them.

Hope this post has inspired you, in even a small way, to get out walking and explore your own neighborhood. There’s always much to discover!

~Connie DeLaVergne

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Online CNA Classes July 3, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!

Reply

Connie DeLaVergne July 4, 2010 at 11:07 am

Thank you – I’m glad you found it!
I hope you will join us on the 17th.

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Kristin Henry July 14, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Thanks for the detailed description of your walk, Connie. It looks fascinating. Although it’s quite a bit farther than I usually walk, I may give it a whirl anyway. Your blog was inspiring and the photos were wonderful enticements to get out there and see everything. I loved the picts. taken from the top of the steps leading down from Bellevue College! That view toward Seattle, especially at sunset, is one of my favorites!

Reply

Connie DeLaVergne July 14, 2010 at 2:02 pm

You are most welcome, Neighbor. Thanks for your kind words.

You don’t have to do all of the walk, Kristin. You could cut out anytime since you are so familiar with the neighborhood.

Did you notice that the view of Seattle from the top of the BC Steps was missing a few power lines? ~the magic of Photoshop.

I’ll look for you on Saturday!

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Marlys July 15, 2010 at 7:44 am

I’m hoping to come along on your walk, but am a little confused about where it starts, is it close to your house? Also, I was thinking you could approach the real estate agents who’s homes are on your list and provide a link to their web pages in regards to these homes, for a small commision of course.

Reply

Connie DeLaVergne July 15, 2010 at 9:01 am

Hi Marlys,
Head west on SE 20 ST from Kamber Road and Skyridge Park is at the bottom of the hill, or end of the road. I’d love to connect with realtors and show houses on my walking routes–I know I’m always curious about them. As for commissions (though that would be great) at this stage my site is about building community and getting to know different parks and neighborhoods in Bellevue. I should link to their sites though, that’s a good idea and I’ll have to do that next time. Thanks for the tip.
~Connie

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Robin Bentley July 16, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Hi Connie,

Your blogpost and pix really make me excited to join your walk tomorrow. Hope I can keep up!!

Robin

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Connie DeLaVergne July 16, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Hi Robin,
I’m looking forward to the walk too. The most difficult part is at the beginning and we’ll move at a pace that works for everyone, so don’t worry. See you tomorrow!

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Mary Chandler September 21, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Hi Connie,

Thanks so much for a lovely walk. I love your Web site! What a wonderful contribution it is, and how fun to discover someone who feels the same way I do about the walking opportunities in Bellevue. Let me know if you want to walk sometime. I can probably show you a few walks in southeast Bellevue/Cougar Mt. area.

Mary

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Connie DeLaVergne September 28, 2014 at 4:05 pm

You are most welcome, Mary, it was a lovely walk for me too. And YES, I’d love to join you on one of your walks in South Bellevue. It’s time I added a few more walks to this site anyways. Let’s plan one.

~Connie

Reply

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