Have you ever been riding along a rail-trail on your bicycle and spied a rusty railroad spike left over from the old railroad days?
I have. Sometimes I’ll carry it home and add it to my collection from local trails: three different locations along the Palouse to Cascades trail, Snoqualmie Valley trail, Willapa Hills trail, Eastside Rail Corridor.
When my friend and I stumbled across a small pile of spikes in eastern Washington, above, he enlisted me to carry a big, heavy handful of them in my pannier so he could use them in a future welding project.
But the first time I ever saw a spike repurposed as an objet d’art was along the Snoqualmie Valley Regional Trail near Duvall, Washington, where a spike had been fashioned into a human figurine.
It sat atop a trail side bench in memory of local resident Dean Gibbs, who passed away in 2012 at age 91. Mr. Gibbs occasionally found old railroad spikes on his daily walks along the trail, and he’d fashion them into small trophies for his grandchildren.
Mr. Gibbs died in 2012, but his “trophies” — fashioned from indestructible steel — still live on.