Take a walk on the scary side

Whitman County Parks, Garfield Library partner for ‘Spooky Trail Tales’

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FRANKIE BEER

The ‘Spooky Trail Tales’ trailhead greets visitors before they head into the woods at the Elberton Hiking Trail near Garfield, Washington.

Mikayla Finnerty, Evergreen reporter

Howling wind, an abandoned town and crispy leaves …  If you are looking for a perfect October activity this month, look no further. 

The Garfield Public Library has partnered with the Whitman County Parks  Department to put on “Spooky Trail Tales: Take a Walk; Enjoy a Story; Get a Fright.” Along Eberton Hiking Trail outside of Garfield, spooky short stories have been placed along the path for families looking for a fun fall adventure.

Garfield Library Branch Manager Sarah Anderson said the trail hike was crafted as a fun educational activity to engage children in reading, while also participating in physical activity. 

She said she decided to put on an outdoor event because of the unpredictable nature of the ongoing pandemic. 

The path is open at all hours, and participants are encouraged to sign a guest sheet located inside the log at the trailhead. The hike is roughly a mile long, with several scary story pit stops along the way.

The short stories selected are from the popular children’s book “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” by Alvin Schwartz.

“It’s a really fun one, and there’s no set time for it,” Anderson said. “It’s to encourage families to get up and moving.”

Anderson said she recommends going before dark since there is not much light along the trail. She plans to leave the stories up for the whole month, taking them down after Halloween.

The drive to the trailhead from Garfield is a fall activity in itself, with red, yellow and orange-colored trees framing a curvy isolated road. 

The library instructs you to park in front of an abandoned old schoolhouse. With bordered-up windows and an eerie feeling like someone is watching you, it is the perfect kick off to a chilling hike. 

The trailhead is directly across from the schoolhouse and is marked by a pamphlet explaining the event. 

As you walk up the hill, you will find another post introducing the author and the selected stories. As you continue along the trail, you will find multiple scary pit stops, complete with stories and corresponding images.

“If we receive good feedback, I’d love to do it again next year,” Anderson said.