Escape to Tiger Mountain – Talus Rocks & Old Bus

A sunny day in October meant it was time to get out and go to the hills for a break from 2020. I headed to Tiger Mountain but not to the summit. I picked a round trip hike that took me to a place called Talus Rocks and then a return via the Bus Trail. Lot of forest quiet time and change from my coal mine hunting routine.

Up Tiger Mountain I went. This West Tiger #3 Trail is busy since it goes to the top of Tiger Mountain. Most folks can’t resist the lure of climbing to the top. Done that long ago and my quest is more off this beaten path. After what seems like I had hiked to the top of the mountain my Talus Rocks Trail split off to the right. Immediately the trail became more wild, narrower and a lure to a peaceful adventure.

What does Talus mean? Here is a quick geological definition.

An outward sloping and accumulated heap or mass of rock fragments of any size or shape (usually coarse and angular) derived from and lying at the base of a cliff or very steep, rocky slope, and formed chiefly by gravitational falling, rolling, or sliding.

Till you see these huge rocks and the caves this definition seems kind of bland. It is far from it and I have to say they are magical.

Before we get there the trail crosses at the bottom of a huge rock slab waterfall. It is dry this time of year so it has limited water flowing. A good thing because you have to walk right over where the water would be.

Waterfall down a large face of rock. An obstacle to cross on the way to Magic.

Right after the trail crosses the bottom of this rock waterfall it goes straight up a mini dirt cliff. I met a couple of folks coming towards me and they had to make a careful descent. Very slippery and it isn’t even raining yet. Glad I came at it from the north side. Here is a photo looking down after I scrambled to the top.

On the way to Talus Rocks the trail is a bit dicey. Down at the bottom is slick flat rock and then a rough root formed staircase.

Then just a little more of plain old trail. At last I entered a place where I expected to see the Fairies my Grandfather called the Little People. Huge boulders covered in moss, ferns and trees. The trail weaves between them in narrow tunnels. There are cave like openings and this is a known bat habitat.

Follow the mythical trail through the rocks.

One can stay on the trail or investigate some of the offshoot routes. Of course with my trekking pole in hand I climbed and poked around the area. Right off I came to a huge crack under a boulder larger than my backyard shed.

Crevice photo with my camera flash shows what lies below. Perhaps there is a cave entrance but I am not going there.

This next photo is the crack with no flash. It is dark and eerie. I was surprised to see what looks like a face in this photo. Did not notice this till I got the photos on my computer.

Is that a Little Person peering out at us? Or is it just an illusion?

I spent a bit of time reviewing these two photos. I can match where this phenomena would be in the flash photo but that still does not explain it. What you think?

The side trail circles an area that holds the real caves. The park folks have put wood gates to keep us out of there. It is said to protect the bat habitat from the crazy people. Or could it be to protect the crazy people who do not know the danger of caves?

So, I went around the corner and saw this tree perched on the rocks. This is a determined soul.

Tree growing on the rocks is determined to survive on the pile

Then there is the view between the biggest boulders of all. Like I said there is a wood gate to protect us from ourselves.

The size of these rocks is mind altering. Imagine them sliding down the mountain to where they are today.

Then I was on the other side of the biggest pile of rocks I have seen in years. Here is a view looking at this crevice from that gate you can see in the distance.

I ate lunch here and just loved the magical place.
Looking back at where I had been earlier.

While I ate my sandwich a raven came calling over my head. He landed in a tree close by. I attempted a photo but all I got was tree limbs. He had quickly moved on and left only his memory.

That lent an even more magical time to this place. Right out of Lord of the Rings.

Next I walked on towards my next adventure. For those that want to go hike this themselves, I follwed the Section Line Trail, the Gas Line Trail and then turned onto the Bus Trail. This trail was again a nice wide and graveled path. I was back in civilization. Plus it was flat. The mountain had been left behind. This is such a nice trail I even met a family with a baby buggy.

This trail is named after a bus that was left behind by the logging crews that worked the forest decades ago. I dug around a bit and found an article in the Seattle Times from May 28, 2005. Here is what it says.

The relic, on the south side of Lake Tradition on the Busline Trail, is often wrongly identified on some hiking maps as a Greyhound Scenic Cruiser, said Erica Maniez, director of the Issaquah Historical Society. Todd Sargeant and other society members believe it is a vintage Kenworth split-level bus, circa 1930.

So how did it end up on the Tiger Mountain hiking trails?

Those routes follow old logging roads, and another society member, John Blincoe, learned the bus was used by logging companies to haul crews to work sites on the mountain. In the early 1950s, the bus apparently was used like a building in a logging camp.

By 1954, it was abandoned, on its side, and salvagers yanked out the engine and tires.

Here is what she looks like now laying on her side becoming one with the forest.

Then before I know it I was in the parking lot getting ready to drive home. But first I went across the freeway and checked out the parking for another coal mine I want to investigate. The Hunter never stops being alert for new prey.

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