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 for the rest of the summer:
August 3 Explore the geology and land use history of the West Duwamish Greenbelt with urban forester Paul West. Learn about how 500 acres were acquired and how sand and gravel operations, kiln dust contamination, and plans for a freeway have threatened the sustainability of the greenbelt. This hike begin at the 14th Ave. S.W. and S.W. Holly St. trailhead, whichcan be accessed from Metro Bus route 125. Please wear sturdy footwear as portions of the hike will be on unimproved/uneven trails and may require climbing over obstacles (e.g., logs and boulders). The first half of the trail is a constructed gravel trail. The second half is muddier and less developed. There are a few ups and downs and a bit of scrambling but only modest elevation changes, suitable for most ages with appropriate footwear. ”
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
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. Meet at the South Seattle College tennis courts located in the southeast portion of campus at noon. of The length and direction of each hike depends on the wishes of the hikers. Thursday walks will resume in October 2019 after the fall quarter begins.
Native Plants, July 6, 2019. Steve Richmond, an expert in controlling invasive plants and restoring native plant communities, instructed 15 walkers on plant identification and descriptions in the greenbelt.
Walking Native Land, June 1, 2019
More than 75 people of all ages walked native land from ridge to river on National Trails Day in the West Duwamish Greenbelt. Ken Workman, a descendant of Chief Seattle, described his personal experience growing up on Puget Ridge and the Duwamish experience of the land on the ridge and along the Duwamish River. The hike left South Seattle College and followed an unimproved trail down to the Duwamish Longhouse on West Marginal Way and back up. Hikers had to walk the parking strip along the busy truck-way because sidewalks are intermittent there. The hike, sponsored by the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trails group, highlighted the vision of a ridge to river trail, connecting landscapes nurturing human life for thousands of years.
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.