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Hike-a-Thon Partnership: Bellden Cafe and WTA

Posted by Grady Olson at Jun 13, 2017 12:00 PM |
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This summer, WTA and Hike-a-Thon are partnering with Bellden Cafe in Bellevue. Learn how these two organizations became partners through the power of trail work.

This summer, WTA and Hike-a-Thon are partnering with Bellden Cafe in Bellevue. Learn how these two organizations became partners through the power of trail work.

Claire Sumadiwirya is the co-owner of Bellden Cafe, a specialty coffee shop located in Bellevue. It might seem like a busy business owner wouldn’t have the extra time to dedicate to trails, but Claire is passionate; both about coffee, and trailwork.

 Claire in her cafe. Photo courtesy Bellden Cafe.

Learning New Skills

Claire first joined a WTA work party in 2016. She visited Beaver Lake Preserve and the Old Sauk River Trail, where she was surprised by her other volunteers. As she puts it:

"The first time I went on the work party, I looked around and saw retirees in their 70s or young kids in their teens. Right away, I thought I was going to be the main muscle, but boy, was I wrong!"

Her first few times, she felt a little more like the “bottleneck” of the group, than someone who added seamlessly to the flow of the work, but Claire thoroughly enjoyed becoming a part of the WTA community and experiencing the satisfaction of trail work, even if it did come at a slight cost.

"It was incredibly rewarding to see the new trails we built with our bare hands, but I was so, so sore for days after that. Ever since my first couple of work parties, I just can’t get enough!"

Claire showing off the fruits of her labor at Old Sauk. Photo by Zachary McBride. 

Connecting Work with Play

Claire now sports her own personalized hard hat (which volunteers receive after completing five work parties) and continues to work with WTA in addition to managing the everyday operations of her cafe. Her focus on building community at Bellden goes hand in hand with WTA’s focus on community building on trail. That similarity is the foundation of the partnership between Bellden and WTA.

Each quarter, Claire and the team at Bellden Cafe picks a different nonprofit to support. Claire volunteers at organizations across Puget Sound, trying to get a sense of which organization aligns with Bellden’s goal of building stronger communities. So we were thrilled to hear she selected WTA as Bellden's community partner for the summer of 2017.

The timing couldn’t be better, as our never-ending winter gives way to longer days and sunshine, beckoning everyone to explore Washington's hiking trails and wild places.

With the summer also comes Hike-a-Thon, an annual, statewide fundraiser WTA hosts each August. Hikers from all walks of life come together to raise money and hike during the month of August, all to support our public lands and trails. 2016 saw 475 hikers raise over $134,000 and hike a total of 15,441 miles! Claire and Bellden Cafe hope to help WTA eclipse those goals.

The interior of Bellden. Photo By Claire Sumadiwirya

Supporting Hike-A-Thon

During the beautiful and busy months of June, July, and August, Bellden Cafe will offer special menu items. 50% of the proceeds from those items go to WTA. WTA also plans to host several Hike-a-Thon related events at Bellden, including a packet pickup event on July 19th, where you can get the details and gather ideas from fellow Hike-a-Thoners.

And, anytime you wear your Hike-a-Thon shirt (old or new) to Bellden from June through August, you’ll receive 15% off your purchase. It's the perfect pre-hike meeting location for a caffeinated drink, or a place to refuel post-hike.

As for Claire, she hopes to be able to take a little time for herself this summer to get out on some more work parties. There’s even rumor that she and her team at Bellden are forming their own Hike-a-Thon team. During these next few months, look for her upbeat demeanor on trail and know that you’ll experience the same when you stop by Bellden Cafe.