I've got a new project for myself & for the blog - running and reviewing all of the King County Trails! (See map)
On Sunday, I needed to get in a 16 mile run. On the suggestion of roommate, who had talked to someone from King County at her 5K in the morning, I headed for Kent and the Soos Creek Trail head. Sadly, my inability to read the information on the back of the map led me to believe that this was an 11 mile trail each way, instead of 11 miles round trip. Ahhh, doubling back to make 11 miles into 16...(but still better than the zillions of laps I did around the Magnuson Park sports fields last week to get to 14 miles).
I parked at Lake Meridian Park in Kent and immediately started looking around confusedly wondering where the trailhead was. Luckily, there was a very cute fisherman who knew that I needed to walk up the main road about two blocks to another parking area for the trail head. This was accomplished without trouble and I noted that there was a portapotty on site. Conveniently, the trail had distance markings every half mile, as well. There were several other potties along the way and a few benches and picnic tables, although I never saw any water fountains. There were a few places where the trail crossed roads - two or three with lights and two or three with crosswalks (it's worth noting that you should be VERY careful - cars were not very good about stopping for me, even when they had plenty of time to see me and I was very easy to see).
The trail itself is paved and lovely. Parts are in the woods, but large parts are in the "meadows" that spring up under large power lines and there's an accompanying bridle trail for most of the length. There wasn't much of a breeze and it was pretty warm and humid, even though it was a very cool, overcast day (if that makes any sense at all). In fact, the weather was miserable (steady to heavy rain, eclipse-hiding dense clouds), but, even so, there were a handful of people out walking, running, with their puppies, and riding bikes. I can imagine that on a nice day it might be somewhat busy, but everyone was considerate and friendly.
My source had said that this was a flat trail and, although parts of it were flat, there were some definite rollers, especially as you got closer and closer back to the Lake Meridian trailhead. After 16 miles, they were TOUGH. I actually liked that this trail involved a lot more hill work than anything I've run recently, because I've got some very hilly races in the fall and I know that hills make me stronger, as well as forcing lots of different muscles to work hard on the run. I'd say that it's a good mixed terrain trail and a nice gentle hill workout, if you want to make sure to get some varied terrain.
Finally, I wish I'd realized that I could have accessed another nine miles of the Lake Youngs Trail from Soos Creek! Oops! Then there would have been no doubling back! Oh, well - another time, especially since Lake Youngs is unpaved. I'm looking forward to it!
(Next time, I will take some photos...you know, now that I actually have a plan to review all of these trails.)