Off the Press

March 1, 2011

By David Hayes

Issaquah attractions are worthy of bucket list

I’ve worked here at The Issaquah Press for over a decade now, covering different aspects of one of the state’s fastest growing towns.

David Hayes Press Reporter

I’ve patrolled the schools beat, sat in on City Council meetings when the city reporter was out of town, and roamed the sidelines at sporting events when Bob Taylor, our sports editor, couldn’t be everywhere at once.

Seeing so many sides of Issaquah, it has really grown on me over the years. How could it not, with so much to do and see, and with such interesting people waiting to tell their tale?

And that’s the problem. As I move further into my second decade covering Issaquah, I’ve realized there is still so much I haven’t done.

As “bucket lists” — where you make up a list of things to do before you die — have become all the rage, consider this my list of righting all the missed opportunities I’ve incurred since living and working in Issaquah.

Believe it or not, of all the times I’ve been down to the community center to cover the Concerts on the Green series, I’ve never actually just gone to listen and enjoy. For nine or so Tuesdays, David Harris, the city’s concert connection, cobbles together some of the region’s best talent to entertain the appreciative people of Issaquah. I should have long ago bothered to get a couple of lawn chairs out of storage, dragged the wife away from her work e-mails and staked out some prime real estate in front of the concert stage.

Last year alone I could have had my pick of musical genres — from rockin’ country with Knut Bell and the Blue Collars, funk with DoctorFunk or even the mariachi band Mariachi Fiesta Mexicana. The 2011 schedule isn’t out yet, but I can’t wait to schedule my summer around this year’s Concerts on the Green series.

Over the years, we’ve seemingly left no inch of the miles of trails around Issaquah uncovered. The newest is the Duthie Trails mountain bike park, tucked in the hills of the plateau, just north of Grand Ridge Park. Before I get too old and decrepit, I’d love to purchase a high-end mountain bike and take it on a spin of the park’s 100 or so technical features on five total miles of trails. Who knows, I might actually graduate from the kiddie loop to the double black diamond advanced features reserved for only the best riders.

While I’m feeling adventurous, I have got to try, before I die, launching myself off a cliff. The safest way I figure to accomplish this is just south of Issaquah’s city limits at the top of Poo Poo Point. On a clear, sunny day, dozens of paragliders fill the sky, buzzing Tiger Mountain, courtesy of Seattle Paragliding. As many times over the years I’ve interviewed owner Marc Chirico, owner of Seattle Paragliding, I’ve never taken him up on his offer to go tandem paragliding off Tiger Mountain. I’ve enjoyed some spectacular views of God’s green earth, but never from the seat of a glorified parachute, seemingly at the whims of the wind currents. Actually, it sounds exhilarating.

Finally, of all the stories I’ve written detailing the wonderful attractions at Cougar Mountain Zoo, I’ve never gotten the full, behind-the-scenes experience it offers. Known as “encounters,” for a worth-every-penny, sizable donation, the general public can follow the keepers into areas normally off limits. It’s a great opportunity to learn better insights into the daily lives of the zoo’s residents, from the cranes, lemurs and mule deer, to the rare Bengal tigers to the zoo’s namesakes, the cougar.

That’s just a few activities I’d like to check off of my local bucket list. At the rate Issaquah keeps growing, who knows what wonders await down the road that I might have to add.

David Hayes: dhayes@isspress.com, 392-6434, ext. 237. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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