The Elusive Flaming Geyser

Last weekend, Julia and I decided to take the girls on a little roadtrip. We live in Western Washington, which is an incredible area of beautiful mountains, forests, rivers, and ocean shores, but we haven’t explored much of it at all. We’d like to get out more, so last weekend we decided to do just that. We set the bar low: no 10-mile hikes, rock climbing, hang-gliding, or survival hikes. Just a nice stroll in a park we’d never been to.

Julia found the Flaming Geyser State Park out on highway 169 which looked perfect. Not far from our house, and real flaming geyers! Sounds cool enough. From the state website, “The park’s most unique feature is its “geysers” (methane seeps)” fed from underground coal seams. There are over four miles of hiking trails, and you can explore the edge of the Green River, which runs through the park. It sounded absolutely perfect for us. We embarked on our journey.

We never made it.

Apparently, highway 169 was washed out right at the park. The road was closed, with a detour routing us around the park and back onto the highway three miles beyond it. I never got to see huge vents of orange flames shooting three hundred feet into the air, with occasional methane fireballs scorching nearby mountain-tops, or feel the blast-furnace heat blister the paint on my car in the parking lot. I was Disappointed. But my beautiful wife saved the outing by finding a smaller park with access to the river, where we spent some time exploring.