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Saturday, June 25, 2011

my first hike of the summer

I didn't go very far.  The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, where I used to volunteer before I went to museum school, is on Interstate 5 about 25 minutes from my house when the traffic cooperates.  Back when I was volunteering there, they started a project to open the formerly diked farmlands that comprise part of the refuge back to Puget Sound.  This involved tearing out a very popular hiking trail that ran along the dike.  To replace it, the refuge built a two-mile-long boardwalk out across the new wetlands to Puget Sound.  It opened last year, but this was the first time I'd ever hiked it.  I meant to get out there before now, but on a rare sunny day last week I finally did:

This is the path leading to the beginning of the boardwalk.  The fog from overnight was still burning off over the water.
Former farmlands, now a mecca for migrating birds.
Along the shiny new boardwalk. That odd little building built into the boardwalk is a bird blind.
Two great blue herons.  I saw about six of them flying together, but the shot of these two was the only one where you can tell what they are in it.
Almost to the end.  The mountains in the distance are the Olympics,
and the little roofed pavilion at the end of the boardwalk is barely visible.
Mt. Rainier from the pavilion at the end of the boardwalk, with zoom. 
There aren't that many places where you can see both Mt. Rainier and the Olympic Mountains on the same hike.  I was pleased to discover that this was one of them.
I highly recommend this walk.  I suspect if I'd managed to take it earlier in the spring I'd have seen many more birds (I only saw the herons and gulls on this one), but then the weather hasn't been exactly cooperative this spring.

I will be making the four-mile round trip again, though, I'm sure.


  1. If you ever get to Assateague Island Virginia, the park has a lovely boardwalk into the wetland area between the island / mainland. (Assateague Island is a barrier island.)

  2. I realize that some of the white on Rainy are clouds, but it seems quite a lot of snow too!

  3. It is. We've had one of the coldest, wettest springs on record this year. The road to Sunrise isn't scheduled to open until at least July 8th this year, because there's still enough snow up there to completely bury the buildings.

  4. The new boardwalk looks like a nice improvement over the last time I was there.

    We saw Mt Rainier from the plane going into Portland last week and there was so much snow on it that I had trouble being sure I was right about what I was seeing. (I'm not used to seeing it from that direction either.)

  5. Yeah, there's an awful lot of snow this year, and because it's been such a cold spring, an awful lot of it's still up there.

    I never did get around to hiking the old trail, alas, just the short one-mile boardwalk around behind the visitor center.

  6. Oh, it is. I'm lucky to have places like that so close by.