First Saturday Hikes
The 2019 hiking season kicks-off in the West Duwamish Greenbelt, the largest urban forest in Seattle, with our popular first Saturday hikes. Each hike starts at 10 a.m. usually at the 14th Ave. SW and SW Holly Street trailhead, but check here for more hike details closer to the date. Everyone and all ages are welcome. Parts of the trails are graveled and well-constructed; other parts are not formally maintained, so come prepared for possible muddy patches.
Here’s the schedule:
June 1 . Join National Trails Day in the West Duwamish Greenbelt. “Walk Native Land” with Ken Workman, a descendant of Chief Seattle. Ken will talk about his personal experience growing up in the forests of Puget Ridge and of the Duwamish use of the land and river.
The walk begins with an orientation at 10 a.m. in front of the Chan Education Center at the Chinese Garden at South Seattle College. We’ll walk down Puget Ridge to the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center near the Duwamish River and return. This “Duwamish Ridge to River” hike is on unimproved trail with aspirations to be a connector between ridge and river, about two miles round-trip with 200 feet of elevation gain coming back. Wear good shoes and be prepared for small obstacles like logs, brush, and walking near the edge of West Marginal Way. This walk is a First Saturday walk hosted by the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trails.
South Seattle College is at 6000 16th Ave. S.W. Parking is on 16th Ave. S.W. or at the arboretum and garden center at the college. Bus route 125 goes to the college on Saturdays.
July 6 Native plant identification with Steve Richmond of GardenCycles.
August 3 Geology and land use history with Paul West and Craig Rankin.
September 7 History of the greenbelt with Matt Groshong, Randy Nelson, and Craig Rankin
October 5 Mushrooms with Kim Traverse of the Puget Sound Myco Society
Thursday walks at noon
Also walk every Thursday when South Seattle College is in session with WDGT volunteers, including college faculty and staff, who lead a 45-minute hike through different portions of the greenbelt each week. The length and direction of each hike depends on the wishes of the hikers.
Insect Discovery, May 4, 2019
Thirty-five to forty walkers of all ages joined guest leader Amber Chiozza of Scarabs: the Bug Society, on an insect discovery walk. Amber is an artist/printmaker, art conservator, educator and naturalist with a passion for insects, especially bees & wasps. The walkers included a contingent of first grade enthusiasts from the West Seattle Nature Girls. All the children were provided inexpensive magnifying boxes with which to inspect and release live insect specimens. Pigeon Point Park proved to be the most fitting venue again because of its diverse, sprawling landscape that includes open grassy areas and wooded wetland.
After a short introduction, the group headed to the open areas near the Pathfinder School entrance and spent the remaining time searching grass, lifting rocks and scanning the flowers and bushes. Amber roamed around with a gaggle of children illuminating insect specimens. The group briefly detained a bumble bee just in time to compare it to a fly that looks like a bee; mimicry in nature is not uncommon. Best comment, from a first grader, overheard as we headed back to the trailhead: “That was beautiful. I thought it would be boring.”
See Amber’s exhibit “Crevice & Comb, The diversity and dwellings of wasps and bees” at the CORE Gallery, 117 Prefontaine Pl. S. Meet at the Pigeon Point Park trailhead, 4714 21st Ave. S.W.
Birds of all Kinds, April 6, 2019
Expert birder Scott Markowitz from the Tahoma Audubon led a bird hike in Pigeon Point Park. The hike began at 10:00 am at the very moment that the sun broke the rainy weather that had been projected. The group of about 18 participants watched a hummingbird perform a territorial “J-dive” dance, analyzed song sparrow calls, inspected the mossy nest of a bushtit and watched a sharp-shinned hawk out-maneuver angry crows- just to list highlights. The known owl resident was not present, but the group found a pellet beneath its tree and discovered skeletons of small animals on which the owl had snacked.
South Seattle College librarian Randy Nelson led a group on a history hike, describing the streetcar line that ran through the Greenbelt, the sand and gravel operations that left an old road, and the proposal for a Soundway through the greenbelt.
In August 2018 70 of us hiked a Puget Park trail following Puget Creek with Ken Workman 4th generation-great grandson of Chief Seattle. Ken talked about growing up in this neighborhood, finding quiet and an escape from the city in the woods, and about the continuing presence of Duwamish ancestors in the very soil and trees of the greenbelt. A video of his talk/walk will be posted soon.
Come Back to Your Senses, a one-hour mindfulness walk led by Andrea D’Asaro of Awaken to Mindfulness and Ken Workman.
Andrea began guiding the group with mindful breathing practice and continued with slow and then faster walking to wake up the senses and calm restless minds. They paused along the way to observe each sense perception and experience the wisdom of the forest with fresh eyes.
Ken spoke about the connection between Native culture and mindfulness and cultivating a deep connection with the earth.
National Trails Day
For the second year in a row, along with the Nature Consortium, we participated in National Trails Day, June 2, 2018, offering guided hikes in the West Duwamish Greenbelt.