I have lived in the Northwest my whole life. I was born in Oregon and moved to Washington in the late 90’s. It’s not that I couldn’t live anywhere else. I could. It would just have to have the amenities that this place has. Things like a never ending list of new places to see and explore. We have a laundry list of parks and recreations of all kinds here. And it never ceases to amaze me at the wonders that can be found everywhere I look.
Although I’ve lived all over the region of the Puget Sound I have just recently I moved to Olympia. So I have been committed to the act of exploring new places. And one of the first things I found was this wonderful forested park within walking distance of my temp home, the place where I am staying until my apartment is ready. The park is well known and loved by the locals. It is preserved space. An actual three hundred acres of land set within housing and rural streets, a stones throw from the capital building. (You can see it from the west side of the park. However, you can also turn yourself away from the city and look toward the sound where on a good day, like today, you can see the Olympic Mountain Range in the distance.)
The west side is on Budd Inlet. For those unfamiliar with this area, the sound is actually a bundle of waterways that are tidal. They are oceanic in nature, being fed by the Pacific far to the north and west. Olympia is at the southern tip of the waterways. But it is hard to envision so Google “Olympia, WA” or “Puget Sound” if you want a better idea. Budd Inlet is actually mud flats because of this fact. The tide comes in and covers the flats completely resembling any normal waterway. Then it retreats revealing deep sticky mud, and the heron and other sea birds come to the shoreline and fish. When the tide is out you can actually walk down on the shore and if you dare, walk toward the mud part of the flats. But be warned it is a sinkhole; being half underwater everyday means the mud never dries out. I have seen people down there getting stuck and very dirty trying to make their way back to the trails. By the way they are dangerous and it is suggested that people do not play on them at all. Just so you know.
The other side of the park is a picnic area and flowering memorial garden, and more trails through an old forest. There is a meandering path that goes around in a large circle with some connection trails in between the main. Not a long trek at all (maybe a mile or two), but when you are on it you can walk to the far end and get completely away from all city noise. I sat on this path on a downed tree watching the light change as the sun came up, and listening to the birds start their day, in a total state of unadulterated peace. In certain spots it really does feel as though you have stepped away from civilization all together.
The trees here are hundreds of years old in some cases. They are so tall and sturdy and thick that they create a dense canopy over head. The sunlight does little more than filter through the branches and leaves that are far above. On the forest floor plants that can survive in a perpetually cool dark damp environment thrive. The ferns are the size of small people, and brush moss and lichen color the area in every shade of green.
I have heard both an owl and a woodpecker at different points while walking. I did not get pics of either today but I will definitely be back, probably many times. This place has a sacred feeling to it that is hard to describe and surprising for the location. Those who read my previous blog will know that I was living far out in the woods last year, and a piece of my heart will always be there. To have this little oasis in the midst of the city is a blessing to me. The part that thrills me is that this type of forest is unheard of in many places in the world. In some cases gone forever. And yet here is a piece of it, undisturbed and loved by the people, and about a mile from my front door. This is one of the reasons I Love It Here!
There is much more to know about Priest Point Park. Some of which I am sure I will blog about at some point. But if you don’t want to wait that long click the link and go to the official website.