Traveler's journal

Bus trail

The aisle separating trash and treasure is often indistinct. I ponder it whenever I pass the rusty carcass of a Greyhound Scenicruiser, incongruously junked beside a hiking trail on Issaquah's Tiger Mountain, near Seattle.

No one seems to know how it got there. Bill Longwell, who pioneered the 16-mile Tiger Mountain Trail, tells me the logging roads were drivable into the 1970s, and the little mountain suffered a heap of dumping. "No one has ever fessed up to the bus," he says. "But it has become kind of an attraction."

In fog or mottled forest light, in fact, the hulk can look almost romantic. It's an artifact, recalling an era when bus travel was something special. And I find it comforting that after just a few decades of dereliction, it's well into the process of returning to the earth— moss long ago colonized the frame, and the steel is actively decomposing into iron-rich soil.

We loot, pollute, and abuse nature, but in the end, her infinite patience always wins. From I-90 near Seattle, take the High Point exit (exit 20). The 0.8-mile one-way Bus Trail begins 0.5 mile west of the Tradition Plateau parking lot. — LAWRENCE W. CHEEK