For Emerald Heights’ residents, John and Dawn Clark, retiring at an active community was only the next natural adventure. Boring isn’t in their vocabulary because after 59 years of marriage, their time together has been anything but.
John has always enjoyed the outdoors. After working for the state highway program, he went back to school to earn both his master’s and doctorate degrees in engineering. For nearly 50 years, John worked as a bridge consultant on some of America’s most notable structures; from the Golden Gate Bridge to the world’s longest floating bridge on Seattle’s Route 520. John now serves on the Emerald Heights board of directors and the disaster team.
After earning her degree in home economics, Dawn worked at the Seattle Times as a food stylist. Currently, she works in the Emerald Heights Country Store and serves on the food committee. Like John, Dawn has led an active life. She practices water aerobics and walks six to seven miles a day. She once backpacked the Annapurna Circuit, a 100-to-145-mile trek within the Annapurna mountain range in central Nepal with a group of women.
It wasn’t until the wedding of a mutual friend that Dawn and John first met, bridging their lives to their biggest expedition yet. By the end of the following year, the Clarks were married.
Since 1999 the Clarks have hiked hundreds, of miles together. The pair hiked in Santiago, Spain and 15 different trails in England. The longest trek for them was 200 miles. Just last year the couple completed a 125-mile trail in England.
Come August, John and Dawn will celebrate their two-year anniversary with Emerald Heights, where they continue to train together on the surrounding trails. The hiking opportunities near the community were a lure for the Clarks, in addition to the quiet suburban life and the ample property space.