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Sketched Jan. 24, 2019

Thank goodness nobody was walking this hillside trail when a 70-foot fir fell down over the weekend. The path through the steep Veterans Memorial Park in Mountlake Terrace is often used by commuters, including myself, making their way to the nearby transit center on foot.

Parks superintendent Ken Courtmanch told me he sent staff to clear the path Tuesday morning. The cause of the fall is still being investigated. Despite the steady rain this week, he ruled out groundwater saturation because the roots of the tree didn’t come up. The fact that the tree snapped off at the stump probably means it was diseased, he said.

These trails may only get busier with the arrival of light rail to the transit center a few years from now. It’s a lovely respite in an otherwise hectic commute, but the freshly chainsawed trunk is a stark reminder of the power of Mother Nature.