The Lake-to-Lake Greenway Trail Walk, A Personal View Of An Organized Walk Across Bellevue

by Connie DeLaVergne on September 21, 2010

The rain fell rapidly and in copious quantities as I climbed into bed on the night of September 17. “We’re Northwest girls,” I remembered my friend JaneEllen saying “and not sugar, we won’t melt.”

It was coming down really hard, though, and no matter how accustomed I am to
all-weather exercise, it can pour too damn hard for my tastes, especially on a 9-mile walk.

But, I had invited my friends to participate in Bellevue’s Lake-To-Lake walk, so there was no escape. I had to go no matter what. “Go to sleep,” I said to myself . . .

Four or five hours later and three hours before I wanted to, I woke to a rain-silent morning and felt relieved. By the time I dragged myself out of bed after laying awake for three hours it was still not raining but the sky was filled with thick, dark, gray clouds.

Steve and I readied ourselves for The Lake-To-Lake hike with sweatshirts, fanny packs, two water bottles, my camera and a raincoat each. We were prepared. So far this year, in case you don’t recall, it rained on Memorial Day, Claire’s birthday, 4th of July, Sea Fair and Labor Day. The odds were good it would rain today too, on
my birthday.

As suggested we parked at the South Bellevue Park & Ride and walked one block north to the Mercer Slough Blueberry Farm to begin the walk. Six of my friends had already arrived and were waiting for me and Steve.

the good sport, Alison

Alison was wearing her WalkOnInBellWA tee shirt (she’s such a good sport) and having it on facilitated a connection with two of my other friends, Ann and Kam, who also arrived before we did. (Recognizing Alison’s shirt was a bonus I hadn’t considered.)

A new friend, Kristi, brought her husband Peter and their dog Tobey along—now Steve wouldn’t be the only male, and would have a friend:-) This made me happy because Steve is often the only guy participating.

Not long after I formalized the introductions we climbed into the school bus shuttle with ten or twelve strangers and headed to the Weowna Park trailhead on Lake Sammamish Parkway.

Kristi and Tobey

Ann and Kam

Me "mocking" Kam, and Nancy

Steve and Peter

The City of Bellevue’s annual Lake-To-Lake Trail begins at the bottom of Weowna Park and it’s a steep woodsy climb up the ravine to get out. Guaranteed to get your heart pumping, it is the only difficult part of the walk, if you don’t consider distance to be difficult. The organizers of the Lake-to-Lake walk offer a top-of-Weowna option for those who don’t want to sweat but my party opted to climb our way out, as did everyone on our bus, I think.

Start of Lake-to-Lake Greenway Trail Walk

the weowna hike up begins

And upward we climbed for 15 maybe 20 minutes, not that long, really, but I always get winded. (I wasn’t the only one.)

up up and away

keep climbing

At the top I recognized, Mary and Nick, whom Steve and I had met several weeks earlier on Cougar Mountain. It’s a small walking world, apparently, and I was happy to walk and talk with them again. My friends enjoyed listening to Nick with his British accent speak about the 100+ mile B & B walking tour through Britain that he and Mary did a few years back. I didn’t know there was such a thing but I hope to do a tour like that myself one day . . .

Alison, Kam and Me. Nice shirts, huh?

But today, 18 September 2010 I am in Bellevue, participating for the second time in the Lake-to-Lake Greenway Trail Walk. It always takes place in September and is a great introduction to six Bellevue parks: Weowna Park; Lake Hills Greenbelt; Kelsey Creek Park; Wilburton Hill Park; Bellevue Botanical Garden; and the Mercer Slough Nature Park. The way this walk is mapped it merely skirts some of the parks but it does give you a sense of them and where they’re located in Bellevue. You can get directions and a map to this route by following the link I provided above.

Lake Hills Neighborhood

Lake Hills neighborhood

Ann, Tobey and Kristi

Happy Walkers: Nick Alison Mary Kam

the sky begins to clear

By the time we reached the Lake Hills Greenbelt, about a quarter of the way there, the sun came out and miraculously it became a bright, late-summer day that got progressively warmer. It was an absolutely beautiful slice of summer . . . and I was delighted! (Not to mention, relieved.)

exiting the Lake Hill Greenbelt

through the greenbelt

I wasn’t the only person who felt that way, either, because more people than usual were outside walking. It was great to see. The Lake Hills Greenbelt was especially busy and is where we ran into Toni, a family friend and my mother’s peer who was taking a stroll with her friend Betty.

There’s a fair amount of street walking (I use those words loosely) on the Lake-to-Lake Trail, certainly the way this walk was routed, but it’s probably inevitable considering it takes you 9.3 miles across The City of Bellevue.

A section of this walk (about a mile) parallels 405 and it’s not conducive to conversation. Clearly it is the most jarring part of the walk because of the traffic noise, it is well paved though, goes by fairly quickly and is followed by the amazing Mercer Slough, which is a beautiful, secluded, flat route on boardwalk that’s abundant with flora and bird song.

Mercer Slough Nature Park

a beautiful september day in the slough

The Mercer Slough Nature Park is one of my favorite places and some of my best photographs have been taken here. This image is no exception, if I do say so myself . . . of course it’s hard to take a bad picture when you’re working with landscapes like this. Isn’t it amazing?

Bill Pace Produce at the Blueberry Farm

Bill Pace Produce

After crossing the slough you enter Bill Pace Produce from the backside and the Lake-to-Lake Greenway Trail Walk is completed. Phew.

End of Lake-to-Lake Greenway Trail Walk

the finish line & 9.3 miles done.

To be honest, I could definitely feel this 9.3-mile walk in my body and my feet by the time we finished. And even though I walk 2 to 5 miles a day, this was still a workout for me, and I like it!

That’s the point . . . working out is a lot more fun when you have eight of your favorite friends with you!

By the time I got home and showered I was glad I didn’t have anything else to do. I tried watching a movie but fell promptly to sleep, so I enjoyed a short nap. (As you might recall I didn’t sleep well the night before.)  Steve fixed a delicious birthday dinner. Alison brought cake. Claire made the best birthday card ever and I was completely relaxed all night long.

showered and relaxed

The Lake-to-Lake Greenway Trail Walk wiped me out in the most pleasant of ways.

Thanks to everyone who shared this day with me. It wouldn’t have been the same without you.

Walk on my friends.

Walk on!


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul R September 23, 2010 at 12:28 am

Great write-up Connie. I am so bummed I had to work; you know I love the L2L trail. About UK walking tours: there are so many. Across the Yorkshire Dales, the SW Coast path, Cotswold Way, and one that has a special place for me: the Cumbria Way. I did the 70+ mile walk through the Lake District with my son Ian. It was 10 years ago and I’m glad to see the then small startup walking tour operator is still around (http://www.discoverytravel.co.uk). I had a fantastic experience, one I have wanted to repeat ever since with Jennie – and since you’re interested, wouldn’t that be the ultimate walk and dine 😉 BTW, hopefully one of these days I’ll run into fellow Brit Nick sometime during my Bellevue trail travels.

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Connie DeLaVergne September 23, 2010 at 6:42 am

Hi Paul, OMG, that would be the ultimate Walk & Dine! I want to hear all about Cumbria Way. We should start planning it, on the night of the Foals, perhaps;-) Thanks for the link. I gave my card to Nick the Brit and Mary, hopefully they’ll see this post and we can plan a walk with them.

Are you out there Nick? Mary? Leave a comment if you are . . .

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Allison S. September 23, 2010 at 9:20 am

Connie thank you so much for sharing your adventure! I plan to join you next year! You are very inspirational to me … you stay focused and positive and keep putting “one foot in front of the other” no matter what … now you are sharing your life’s journeys with us and I very much appreciate your enthusiasm and healthy spirit! I am excited to explore the Bellevue trails with my family thanks to you! Loved your photos and documentary! This looks so-ooo much more fun than the treadmill!

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Connie DeLaVergne September 23, 2010 at 9:57 am

That’s because it is sooooo much more fun than the treadmill, Allison, and it’s friends and family that make it that way! I hope you guys will start walking with me and Steve, your sweet, energetic selves would make walking even more entertaining.

It’s easy to share my adventures because I really do love everything about it, from the planning to the walking, to the taking of photos and then blogging about it afterwards. It’s ALL good.

Just so you know, your kindness Allison, inspires me. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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Alison September 27, 2010 at 10:51 am

I was honored to spend a good chunk of your birthday with you, Connie! And I must thank you for psychologically pulling me out of bed that morning – if we hadn’t had the walk planned, I’m sure I would have canned it. Though my legs were mighty rubbery that Saturday evening, I was back to normal the next day. 52 doesn’t have to mean you’re ‘over the hill’ – just playing with a full deck, now, as you say.

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Connie September 27, 2010 at 12:22 pm

That’s right my Alison and you’ll be discovering for yourself what a full deck is like in just 2.5 weeks!

Let me know where you’d like to walk on your special day?

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