Butler Cove, Washington for Sale: January 13, 1893

Most Olympians don’t know the name Butler Cove. If they know the area at all, it’s usually as “that spot over by golf course” or “that neat little neighborhood off Cooper Point Road.”

Butler Cove, Olympia, at sunset
Butler Cove, Olympia, Washington, at sunset.

Historical Hotspot

Butler Cove, however, has quite a bit of history packed into its small space. It’s a beautiful place that emanates calm, contemplative energy.

In 1854 it was the site of the murder of a Queen Charlotte Islands Indian and the probably revenge-murder of Colonel Ebey that resulted. For a time it was also an important center of commerce. In the 1870s it was the site of a long wharf constructed on the properties of the French and Brown families. The road leading to Butler Cove, by the way, is French Road.

Well, that wharf got people going to Butler Cove (then called Butler's Cove), and those people quickly decided that it was a great spot for some picnicking and clambaking (clambakes were apparently a very big thing in early Olympia). That made Butler Cove, for a time, one of the favorite recreation spots in Olympia. 

Not Top Dog Anymore

According to the Olympia Historical Society, the spot fell out of favor after automobiles became readily available and the steam ships became less popular. After that, it became a neighborhood, as it remains today.

Recently I found an interesting news article related to that transformation from recreational spot to residential.

Clipping of 1893 newspaper announcing the sale of Butler's Cove, Washington
The Washington Standard Olympia, Washington January 13, 1893. Retrieved from Newspapers.com.

The article announces that the Butler Cove Land Company will be selling properties at Butler Cove for $125 each, which could optionally be paid with just $10 down and then $5 a month until paid in full. $125 would be about $3,700 in 2021 dollars.

The sales were to be done in rooms 13 and 14 at "Woodruff Block," which I assume to be the Labor Temple where the Brotherhood now is. 

For me, it’s kind of surreal finding this. 1893, in my mind, is ancient history. For whatever reason, I never imagine it having newspapers. I especially never would have guessed that the papers would have survived to be digitally today.

So, there’s your Historical Northwest News Nugget for you.

Happy nomaddig, friends.

Hiking Little Si Trail, North Bend, Washington

Little Si: The Rodney Dangerfield of North Bend Area Hikes

Little Si gets overshadowed by its big brother, the Mount Si Trail (which doesn’t even have the basic decency to add “Big” to its name). The Rodney Dangerfield of North Bend area hikes, Little Si gets no respect.

The public’s low estimation is unwarranted. Like you and the new person your partner left you for, neither the Little Si or Mount Si trails are better or worse than the other–they’re just different.

Little Si is shorter than the Mount Si trail, stretching a total 3.7 miles versus Mount Si’s 7.5. It’s also less steep, though there is a pretty good shot up at the beginning and an even better one at the end–meaning those who are still working themselves back into shape should be prepared.

view from atop Little Trail
This is the view from the top of the Little Si Trail.

Little Si is Good for Getting into Hiking Shape–With One Side Note

I agree with those who say that Little Si is a great trail to use for getting into hiking shape, but I would add that that doesn’t mean that the trail is “easy.” The two steep climbs at the beginning and the end, particularly, can be rough on newbies or the out-of-shapers (especially if it’s a hot day), so be prepared.

I just hiked Little Si on April 16, 2021. The temperature was about 70, I’d say, and many people were hurting. This was also coming off of the COVID-19 lockdown, of course, so many of those people were probably quite out of shape.

Still, I encourage everyone to do this trail for getting into shape, but I also add that you shouldn’t take it too lightly. There are a couple difficult climbs, and quite a bit of the trail is exposed to the sun.

What’s Waiting at the Top of Little Si?

The rocky top of Little Si offers beautiful views of North Bend and the surrounding countryside. You can stop at various places along the top. There is no one final, “official” destination.

Back-end view from Little Si trail
Continuing over the rocky top of Little Si, you can find more views such as this one.

While I can’t say that the Little Si views match those of Mount Si, I will say that they definitely are stunning in their own right. There’s also some fun, simple rock scrambling to be had up at the top.

Little Si is an excellent trail, whether you’re using it to get into shape or as an adventure in its own right. I also think it’s an excellent trail for those who are just starting to explore the trails of western Washington.

If you’re thinking about trying out a new identity as an “outdoors type,” then I do believe Little Si is a great choice. My number one suggestion would be the Licorice Fern Trail, but that story has to be writ in the Northwest Nomad achives.

It’s coming, though…it’s coming.

Happy nomadding, friends!