Buckley, WA where we are now located, sits below the towering volcano, supposedly below the snow line and above the fog. Somehow that hasn’t seemed to impact the rain however. This town of only 4500 is strung out along Highway 410; a highway which continues its way into Mt. Rainier National Park and on over the pass east to the Yakima Valley. That portion of the highway is closed right now however due to a massive landslide.
Buckley is a heritage town, meaning it was formed in territorial days, 1888, with the primary enterprises of a railroad siding and timber. Once timber was depleted, the area became heavily agricultural which seems to be the main business today as well. The compact downtown two blocks are filled with a few formerly resplendent buildings and small shops, three of which surprisingly happen to be photographers. Who would have thought there would be such a need for photographers in such a small town? Upon exploration I came across one of those treasures you sometimes find, a combination thrift/antique store filled to the rafters with some great finds if only I had a house.
There is only a distance of four miles between Buckley and Enumclaw. Enumclaw is larger at 11,500 and the downtown has more of a presence and vibrancy to it. Its history is similar to Buckley’s from the same era, the mid 1880’s but always veered more towards the agricultural. A little known fact is that today the surrounding area serves as one of the largest thoroughbred horse-breeding and boarding areas in the United States.
Fall is a glorious time to enjoy the area. There is a marvelous walking pathway being developed called Rails to Trails which uses old railway beds for pathways. A walk around town brings me face to face with the most famous reason for Enumclaw’s existence—Mutual of Enumclaw. Who hasn’t heard of this insurance giant, housed in a rather drab smallish headquarters’ building on a side street? Despite the busy traffic, the downtown definitely reeks of small town America. It’s hard to keep a smile from my face as I walk around it with all the others, enjoying fall.