Easter weekend here in Seattle brought absolutely beautiful weather. The kind of weather that reminded us of why we live where we live. Those mountains that surround our city? We could actually see them in the distance due to clear skies and sunshine. Did we take advantage of the circumstances in all it’s incredible glory? Not really. Between getting a tooth pulled and needing to make our newly remodeled house look halfway presentable, we were tied up for much of the three days.
We certainly got a lot done, AND we did manage to squeeze in one amazing morning so I can’t complain, really. Given the weather and given the holiday, which I also see as a fresh start and a time to enjoy all things “new”, we decided to check out a place a that I’d been meaning to explore for a while: Schmitz Preserve Park in West Seattle.
Upon entering the park, we really had no route or destination in mind. We knew the park was just 53 acres with easy to follow trails, so losing our way wasn’t really on our minds. We let intuition take over, and simply enjoyed our surroundings. While hiking among old growth trees with birds chirping and water gently rolling by in peaceful streams, we got lost. We weren’t thinking about all the concrete and housing that encircles the park, just put one foot in front of the other.
Before long our adventure brought us to an unexpected creature. Lucky for us, he wasn’t too threatening and we were able to move on without incident. We did marvel at the creative use of a fallen tree!
Between some muddy areas and tree obstacles, I was glad that we went the ergo carrier route instead of risking it with the stroller. This was after several days of dry weather. I can only imagine the amount of sogginess you’d have to deal with given our usual conditions. I was also glad I had a hiking partner to let me know if I was clearing Bergen’s head as I ducked under logs.
Again, not really knowing where the path might lead, we scurried up quite a steep hill. I really had no expectations in my mind other than making it to the top. Wondering what greeted us? A beautiful view of the city? A look out toward Elliott Bay and beyond? No. A sidewalk. A sidewalk and some houses. We were out the park just like that.
We weren’t about to hike back the way we came, so off we went to find another entrance. After just a couple minutes of walking, we discovered our way back in just behind an elementary school bearing the park’s name. And a warm welcome we were given.
This time, we walked straight through to the opposite side (via the Schmitz Park to Alki Trail) remarking at how lucky the residents surrounding the space must feel. A beautiful forested area ready to explore, investigate and learn from right in their backyard.
Schmitz Preserve Park was donated to the city in the early 1900’s. Ferdinand Schmitz set the land aside and gave a large portion of the park to the city because he hated seeing the amazing Northwest forest dwindle away in place of more and more homes and other buildings.
Do you have similar preserves in your city or town OR have you encountered a preserve in your travels? Tell us about it!
Info to Know:
- Schmitz Preserve Park is located in Seattle’s West Seattle neighborhood.
- We entered at 5551 SW Admiral Way, Seattle 98116, and exited (in the end) at the Alki Community Center, Playground and Whale Tail Park: 5817 SW Stevens St, Seattle 98116
- Hours: 6am-10pm
- If you stick to the main trail (Schmitz Park to Alki Trail) you could probably get away with using a heavy duty jogging stroller, but I’d recommend going the carrier route for little ones.
- Be aware that parts of the trail are bound to be wet and muddy, so plan footwear accordingly.
- Need something to entice tired little legs? Plan to exit near the Alki Community Center. An amazing park awaits and just a few short blocks away, you’re at the beach!