Peace in a new year: Index woman's birthday wish unites more marchers every year

Index residents celebrated the new year with the seventh annual Caroll Cochran Peace Walk, a quirky march that traversed the snowy little town amid banging drums and proclamations of peace.

More than 50 peace-walkers gathered in front of Index Town Hall at 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 1, to participate in the event, which Cochran conceptualized in 2010 when asked what she wanted for her birthday. Cochran told friends she wanted to have a peace walk, but didn't want to have to drive to Seattle to do it. They decided to start their own peace walk right in Index, sandwiched in between the Index Wall and Skykomish River.

Cochran's birthday is on Dec. 16, but the decision was made to hold the peace walk on Jan. 1 as a way to start the new year with a flurry of fun and positivity.

"I am so happy, this is awesome,GÇ¥ Cochran said. "It seems bigger than ever and everybody seems more flamboyant and fun-loving than ever. And you couldn't ask for a nicer day.GÇ¥-á -á

Deep snowdrifts reflected sparkling sunlight on Friday, while temperatures hovered around 40 degrees. The Peace Walk journeyed through the entire town, traversing east on Avenue A alongside the Skykomish River, and then west down Index Avenue past the Bush House Inn. Walkers met back up with the river at the west end of town, traveling east until arriving back at Doolittle Park.-á -á


Attendees included former Index Mayor Kem Hunter and his wife, Etta, Sue and Bill Cross, Karen and Pat Sample, Index Town Councilmember Bob Hubbard and Index Town Councilmember Blair Corson, his wife, Kathy, and their two kids. The Corson family owns and operates the Outdoor Adventure Center and the River House Coffee Shop, and are in the process of restoring the historic Bush House Inn.

Finally gathering some momentum, the Bush House has undergone major renovations during the last few months. The exterior received a fresh coat of white paint in October, with green trim around the windows and doors meant to mimic the hotel's classic look. Installation of a radiant in-floor heating system started at the end of November, and December brought new windows on the second and third floors. The windows are replicas of the original Bush House windows and were made locally.

The Bush House renovations have been accomplished by the Corson family, who chose to use local vendors as often as possible. They are currently seeking volunteers to help with the inn's classic wrap-around porch, which is slated for construction during the first part of January.

Peace walkers admired the Bush House Inn's fresh paintjob, along with the new, eclectic Ellie and Clarence gift shop, tucked away behind the old hotel. Blair Corson took time out during his work at Bush House to spruce up the old garden shed, which had fallen into grave disrepair. The tiny shop is managed by Sky Valley Arts Council board member Mary Ritzman, who opened the boutique over the summer to establish a mechanism for promoting local art from the Sky Valley region year round.


Once peace walkers arrived back at the center of town, several more adventurous residents participated in Sabrina Grafton's Polar Plunge for Peace, an impromptu dash into the chilly river from a small beach behind the Index-Pickett Historical Museum. Last year, polar plungers jumped in near Eagle Falls, but it was easier to stay in town this year, Grafton said.

Grafton, a 30-year Index resident, said she loves the peace walk because it gives her the chance to catch up with her friends and neighbors.

"Every town in the valley should have their own,GÇ¥ she said. "I talk to people during this that I never get the chance to talk to.GÇ¥-á -á

Cochran was extremely happy with how the event turned out. It has grown every year, she said.

"You just have to keep moving towards peace,GÇ¥ Cochran said. "It might not happen in my lifetime, but it doesn't mean you stop trying.GÇ¥

Photos by Chris Hendrickson Temperatures were chilly and spirits were high during this yearGÇÖs Caroll Cochran Peace Walk in Index on Friday, Jan. 1. More than 50 Index residents participated in this yearGÇÖs walk, which journeyed through the streets of Index. Sabrina Grafton and her daughter, Nat, along with several others, braved the chilly waters of the Skykomish River in the name of peace. Index residents gathered for a pre-peace walk photo in front of Index Town Hall.


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