Saturday, August 28, 2010

Black Diamond Cemetery & Flaming Geyser State Park

I don't know how we managed to resist visiting a park with the name "Flaming Geyser" until now. It just sounded so cool and every time we passed a sign on the road with the name we said we needed to visit. In July we finally found the time to visit this park that is less than a 30 minute drive from us.

Before Flaming Geyser, we drove to the town of Black Diamond first. I had visited this itsy-bitsy town once before with my running group and had eaten at the Black Diamond Bakery for breakfast. As Robb and I were hungry and wanted to eat in an independent restaurant, we decided to try lunch there this time. In general I'm not a huge fan of diners - the food tends to be sub par and disappointing. Most of the time I can handle diners for breakfast; it's hard to screw up eggs and potatoes (although it has happened before). By the time we got to the Bakery, breakfast had already stopped being served so we were forced to eat sandwiches. They were not good. My French dip was bland and Robb's meatloaf sandwich bordered on disgusting. It was an unfortunate eating experience and solidified my views of eating non-breakfast items in diners.

Our next stop was the Black Diamond Cemetery. Black Diamond was originally a coal-mining town and there was a huge Welsh and Italian population. So a lot of the old headstones (some dating from the mid-1800s) were in Italian or Gaelic Welsh, rather than English. It was a lovely cemetery with some incredible headstones.
Finally we made it to Flaming Geyser State Park. Before our visit there, I imagined a park with a giant water spout. "Geyser" equals "water spout" to me. And for it to be flaming meant that it had to be huge. Well, that turns out to be not quite right. The Flaming Geyser is literally flaming. It is a geyser of fire. The geyser is a vent of methane gas from an abandoned coal-mining operation. It was lit on fire and used to shoot nine feet in the air. Now, as the methane slowly burns away, the flame is only a few inches high. And when it's windy the flame blows out and rumor is you have to re-light it. It was fairly underwhelming. We had wanted to hike on some of the trails, but they were wiped out in recent flooding. So we walked along the open grassy fields and the Green River. We realized that the river is actually a hot spot for fly-fisherman and tubers! We definitely plan on returning one day to go tubing down the Green River. Beside the underwhelming Flaming Geyser, the park was actually quite lovely.
Our last stop of the day was Weyerhaeuser. You may have heard of this famous logging company, which is headquartered in Federal Way. The grounds are amazing and have miles of trails for public use. I had visited this area a few times for running trips, but Robb had never been. So we decided to take a mini-stroll around the lake. Besides our poor meal, the day was deemed a success.

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