Weekend in Cle Elum and Roslyn, WA

I spent Saturday and Sunday with Barbara, Denise, and Barbara’s mom, Ruth, in both Cle Elum and Roslyn.  We were celebrating Barb’s birthday and stayed at the Iron Horse Inn B&B in South Cle Elum, WA. in the Cascade foothills.  The owners of the inn, Mary and Doug, were quite charming and interesting.  Mary is a member of the historical society and knows everything about the history of South Cle Elum and trains!  Doug seemed to me very much a renaissance man.  He went to a culinary school (his certificate was on the wall next to all the train memorabilia) and pumped out an awesome breakfast, takes care of the grounds at the inn, and is an avid hiker who did the entire Pacific Crest Trail hike in 1975 from Mexico to Canada over a period of three months!  I can’t wait for Rick to meet him.  Doug said that if we go to Cle Elum mid week when business is slower, he’d  love to hike with us!

Iron Horse Bed & Breakfast


The inn used to be a bunkhouse where  railroad employees rested after long train journeys across the country.  It was built in 1909 by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad for its employees.

Caboose Cabins at the inn

Caboose against stormy sky

Just beyond the B&B is the  Iron Horse Trail State Park.  It was a miserably rainy day, but the skies were clearing in the evening, so we bundled up and walked.  It felt bitter cold as the wind whipped around my hair.

Our evening walk

the landscape in South Cle Elum

Come to find out, there was a huge event going on at the Iron Horse State Park!  The John Wayne Pioneer Wagons and Riders were out in full force. They come from across the county with their horses and wagons and camp out in the mountains!  We noticed that all the cowboys were huddled inside the renovated train depot getting warm!!!

The main motivation for our walk was to see the "pioneers"!

The John Wayne Pioneer Wagons and Riders' campsites!

Earlier that day, for the first time in my life, I tried my hand at making fused glass at the Fused workshop/gallery in Roslyn, WA.  The building used to be a major coal miners’ supply shop.

Fused: Glass fusion workshop!

In front of the building, there is a bronze statue of a coal miner and a memorial to the coal miners. Coal was discovered in Roslyn and Cle Elum in 1883.  By 1901, over one million tons of coal was produced here.  I suddenly had an eerie feeling  when I read that I was standing directly over the site of a coal mining explosion in which  10 miners were killed in 1909:

Coal mining historical marker

Below is a reflection of me taking a photo of the coal miners’ memorial in the cold rain!  I was trying so hard to keep my camera dry (and my hands warm).  This place is doubly meaningful to me since my own dad was a coal miner in Liege, Belgium for 13 years in the 40’s and 50’s.  My dad survived two explosions.  In one explosion, he suffered a severe head wound on the very day my sister Nora was born and he nearly died.  In the second explosion, my dad, a few fellow miners, and their foreman were caught in a cave-in.  Their foreman thought he might know a way out through old long-unused, unsafe tunnels.  Together they made a long journey through tunnels, inhaling ghastly amounts of coal dust, not sure if they would actually ever find their way out.  After countless hours, they found an exit and collapsed with fatigue and dust inhalation.  My dad always got teary eyed at this point in his story, reliving the nightmare each time he told it.  They were hospitalized and my dad believed this was the event that gave him black lung disease.  His lungs never fully recovered though he lived until he was 84  years old.

Memorial Wall for the Coal Miners

Back to Fuse!  Tony, the shop owner, and Ruth create a design:

Ruth and Tony make a fused glass bowl.

My glass bowl before entering the kiln!

Our artwork in the kiln, ready to "bake" and transform!

I was so disappointed when we went back the next day to pick up our fused glass creations.  They were not yet ready!  They had gone through their first process in the kiln, but not the second.  Barbara and Denise will go back on June 6 and pick them up.  I really want to see what mine looks like.  I am making a glass pasta serving dish!  Yup, I thought that was pretty original!

We went over to Barb and Denise’s property near Cle Elum.  They just did the ground clearing for the cabin they are building. .  Very exciting!  The view from the cabin-to-be is exquisite!

B&D inspect the clearing for the cabin

Denise, and Barbara go over the house plans with contractor

Discussing plans with the contractor

The cabin should be ready a year from now!  I already know where we will be spending July 4th,  2012!


4 Responses to “Weekend in Cle Elum and Roslyn, WA”

  1. Nancy Regensburg Says:

    That was MOST interesting and right away I thought about your Father reading about the coal mines. Also, very clever to make a pasta serving bowl. You are so creative like my Ann whose necklaces are more beautiful than ever.


  2. Nikoel Says:

    I looked at that place for my wedding! It looks really cute, though I haven’t seen it in person yet. I still want to. Your pasta dish is going to be be great!


  3. frangallo Says:

    I will be sure to post a picture of the pasta plate!


  4. kay Says:

    I didn’t know this story about your Dad! wow.
    it looks like your friends will have an incredible place there. How handy having friends with beautiful homes in beautiful locations!


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