A Pretty, Long Walk – West Seattle

We didn’t walk very far on Sunday, but we made up for it today. We took Charlie with us. He is a curly haired Wheaton terrier who generally likes to go out for exercise.

Meet Charlie. Also notice the beautiful flowers.

The first hour was a city walk, past houses that face out to Puget Sound. As you might expect, they were on the expensive and extravagant side, but so interesting to look at. Built on the bluff with creative driveways and staircases, and landscaping that had me taking pictures every few minutes. We walked south from Alki and ended up at Lincoln Park. For us it was around 10,000 steps, for Charlie it was considerably more and he was thirsty. We were looking for a water bowl, which can commonly be found around fountains, since so many people are walking their dogs. Charlie found one.

Small gardens with joyous profusion
Gardens that probably have professional caretakers
Sidewalk gardens, purple lavender abounds…
Gardens with random wildflowers

Next we headed east through the park in the direction of California Avenue. It is the main business street that runs down the middle of the West Seattle peninsula. Our only stop was to buy water at a gas station, again sharing with Charlie who was beginning to act a bit tired. Our walk north toward home ended up going through Schmitz Park. It was like entering a different world.

I’ve written something about Schmitz Park every time I’ve visited Esther in Seattle because it has an access right behind her house. I ALWAYS visit this park. I’ve not been anyplace like it and consider it a magical, singular experience. It’s an old growth forest with trails following a large ravine from the top of the bluff, down to lower elevations near Alki and the beach. The trails are not fancy, not paved. There are no signs directing where to go. No railings on the steep portions. Click this link for more visuals of Schmitz Park.

The Hidden Forest

The forest and the ravine insulated us from the noise and heat from the city street. It was shady and dark, with the sounds of water flowing into the central stream. Many parts of the path were wet with cool mud and took some navigating. It must have felt good on Charlie’s paws. And 20 minutes later we were home, having done nearly 20,000 steps total. A good walk, I’d say.

Home again to Esther’s daisy garden

The Hidden Forest

It’s right in the midst of a city and thousands go past it every day without even seeing it.  It’s Schmitz Park in West Seattle and it’s one of the first places I walk when I visit my daughter.  One of the entrances to this park is on the hillside above her house.  The wide path passes under major streets as they descend to the waterfront.  At other points it is high above the city looking out over the sound.  But most of it is in the midst of an old growth forest full of clear springs, lush vegetation and towering trees.  A lot of the paths are well traveled and I meet a lot of others walking their dogs or on bikes.  Gradually the paths narrow and get steeper, and less maintained.  Trees fall across the path and are left there, either because they are too difficult to remove or because they are intended to be a natural barrier.  When Charlie the dog is with me, I have to lift him over some of the log jams, and the climb makes us both breathless.  If we are persistent we come out on top of the ridge overlooking Alki Beach, almost in someone’s back yard.  Then we take the easy way down, on the streets where the view is not obscured and we also have beautiful yards and gardens to look at.  Take a virtual walk through this beautiful place with me…

Enter the park with a bit of history. Enter the park with a bit of history.
Trees soon cover the path with shade and silhouettes Trees soon cover the path with shade and silhouettes

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Beautiful greenness everywhereee Beautiful greenness everywhereee
The ground is usually damp with seepage from the many springs and books. The ground is usually damp with seepage from the many springs and books.
Old growth of several different kinds of trees can be seen... Old growth of several different kinds of trees can be seen…
Towering is a word that comes to mind often Towering is a word that comes to mind often
And then there are the fallen. And then there are the fallen.
and even they spur the imagination. and even they spur the imagination.
A hobitt tree A hobitt tree
20150629_103827[1] The path gets almost obscured and very vertical…
And emerges here... outside the forest in a residential neighborhood clinging to the side of a ridge. And emerges here… outside the forest in a residential neighborhood clinging to the side of a ridge.
A whole different knd of beauty is on display all the way to sea level. A whole different knd of beauty is on display all the way to sea level.

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Over the top, literally... Over the top, literally…

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Esther took my picture Esther took my picture
and I took hers. and I took hers.