While walking our new pup around Wapato Lake in an effort to socialize him, I found one of the Park’s original entrances off of Wapato Lake Drive. Pup and I had taken the long way around the lake, crossing a narrow bridge and passing the largest field of cat tails that I’ve ever seen. We came out of the minor upper lake path to the site of two entry markers that said “Built by WPA”. The history of Wapato Lake is very interesting and can be found here.
Saint Martin’s College and Abbey in Lacey has been around since the 1890s. It’s small cemetery is located in a rich stand of woods behind the Monastery and is for members of the abbey, thus the vast majority of the uniformed headstones read Father. The metal gates have two welcoming angels and there is a low stone fence.
The nearby College Regional Storm Facility is like a small, tranquil park with a gravel trail that leads around the full storm water ponds. There were plenty of birds and insects, as well as college students playing Frisbee and riding a bike.
Garfield Nature Trail at 620 Rogers Street NW, Olympia is like a little haven of wilderness right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. It isn’t a typical park with picnic areas and playground equipment. Instead it is a trail through a ravine between Rogers Street NW and West Bay Drive NW. I hiked from Rogers to West Bay and back again. The path has several sets of stairs and boardwalks and I wish I had worn my sneakers because is places it was damp and a tad slippery. The trail was busy with young people, families and folks walking dogs.
So the other day when I was near Baltimore Park, I went past this wooded lot between a new house and a vacant lot available for sale. I was intrigued. Was it a little park? A pathway? To be honest it seemed like a bad idea to go explore it by my lonesome, so I drove away. But today I was in the general area with dear husband and I talked him into going with me. It was a steep little trail down, but I made it and it was pretty except the trash (only two pieces), There was a culvert for draining water. I walked on about five feet, really no more, and found this
The Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve is a designated National Natural Landmark near the Capital State Forest and Maytown. The 3′ to 6′ high mounds themselves are kind of cool, large, rounded hills. The Mima mounds appear in parts of Washington, Oregon, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and California, and also in Kenya, Mexico, Canada, Australia and China. Scientists don’t really know what caused them, but theories include pocket gophers, wind blowing around vegetation, seismic activity, shrinking & swelling clay and, my personal favorite, space aliens.
Fair warning, this park requires a Discovery Pass which can be purchased online here.
On our way home from Long Beach, we visited the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge at 3888 State Route 101, Ilwaco, WA 98624. It was really a treat! There is a small display room in the ranger’s work area and of course a delightful ranger. There is a short, level boardwalk area with plenty of interesting art. The boardwalk goes next to a pond, which was full of newts! For the more ambitious walkers, there is a trail that is relatively steep and has nature facts along the way. It is a lovely and challenging walk and at the end is a meditative labyrinth.
Their website is here http://www.fws.gov/willapa/
We continued exploring the Long Beach Peninsula with a visit to Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. To be fair, the ranger guy did say that it was a 1.2 mile hike each way and the terrain was steep in places and slippery with rain. Both of those facts proved to be true and it didn’t help that just as we reached the lighthouse, it began to rain in earnest.
This lighthouse was the first to be built in the Pacific Northwest. The ship that carried the original pieces of the lighthouse sank in view of where the lighthouse was eventually built in 1856! The first time they built it the tower was too small to hold the lantern, so they disassembled it and rebuilt it. That process took two years.
There is a Coast Guard observation station in use next to the lighthouse and it was staffed with two men that got there in their truck by using the special Coast Guard road.
Despite the dampness, it really was a lovely hike with amazing views along the way. I believe that on the weekends in the summer it is possible to go into the lighthouse. The photo below is taken of the lighthouse from Waikiki Beach, which is another lovely spot in Cape Disappointment State Park. The last photo shows a view from the top of the trail by the lighthouse.
The city of Lakewood has 10 parks and one game refuge and today I stopped at Wards Lake Park at 2716 84th St South. I found it by following small sign off of S. 84th Street. This 20-acre park is a little oasis in a relatively built up part of town. It includes Wards Lake, a fishing pier, playground, picnic shelter and trail system. The lake doesn’t look conducive to swimming, but it is great for fishing and is very pretty. There is a short trail that leads back to some picnic tables and benches. And for the younger set there is a nice play area. I saw children playing on the big toys, an older guy fishing and a young couple getting to know each other.