One of the things that charms me most about this area is the abrupt transitions. Each neighborhood has its own style, and when you cross the boundary from one to the other, BAM! You are in it, man, and no apologies.
That was especially true today. I only traveled 3 miles from my front door and I was transported to a completely different world. The change was so sudden it was actually kind of unsettling. But then it fascinated me and filled me with joy.
I turned the corner into Carkeek Park and was plunged into a dense forest. I half expected to see Hobbits making their way warily through the underbrush. The hills and switchbacks and lush greenery reminded me of vacations I used to take from Florida to the Blue Ridge Mountains, but that was a 7 hour trek. This only took me a few minutes. As I always do in this type of environment, I felt like I could breathe for the first time in ages. There’s something about that combination of moss and rocks and moist underbrush that says home to me. It always has. Maybe I was a snail in another life. Either way, I would never have guessed I was still within city limits if I had been transported here while sleeping.
And then, even within the park itself, BAM! Another transition. Suddenly I was afforded a fishy smell and a sweeping view of Puget Sound, complete with a driftwood scattered beach. (Florida waterways don’t smell fishy. But I’m getting used to it and attaching it in my mind to beautiful landscapes, just as one does with the smell of cows in farmland after a while. “Fresh country air!” my mother used to say.)
The sign says that baby seals often rest on this beach from July to early September, so I’m going to have to come back and check that out. Today, though, I simply sat on a bench and took in the view while eating a grinder that I had purchased at a local sandwich shop. (Grinders, for the edification of my Southern friends, are what the locals call Subs. I’m starting to learn the lingo.)
As I ate, one by one I was surrounded by ravens. That was kind of creepy. Shades of Alfred Hitchcock. But they merely stared at me, willing me to drop some food on the sidewalk. I didn’t, though. It was too yummy.
After my selfish little meal, I took a walk on some of the hiking trails, and was treated to the sound of a babbling brook with crystal clear water. Yeah, it probably wasn’t as clean as it looked, because it is city runoff after all, but I enjoyed the fantasy. For a little while I forgot there was anyone else for miles.
Another cool thing about this park is that there’s quirky art scattered near all the parking areas. It makes it fun and adds a sense of humor to the place without really encroaching on the landscape. I love how the citizens incorporate art without invading around here.
I plan to explore this park during the various seasons, because I suspect it will reveal many different personalities to me. I love knowing that this place is just 3 miles away. If I need a getaway and have no money or little time, this will be where I go.