On Tuesday morning I got together with two moms and their children for a casual hike. Our first choice of hike panned out (oops…a huge field trip was showing up!), so one of the moms mentioned Henry’s Ridge, which I knew where it was but ummm….had never explored it! It sits in Maple Valley, up high on a hill – and in good weather has amazing views of Mount Rainier. It came out of a little proper planning and heavy lobbying by mountain bikers to carve out a system. And to them, I say a good job. There is a street, SE 281st Way, that has no homes on it, and you can park on the street to access the area (plenty of parking space!). The entrance is very obvious.
Easy walking forest. So well-groomed the kids were running back and forth.
The pace of children is wonderful for spotting new things in the forest – a crop of mushrooms peeking through the decay.
A surprise waited for us – a lake (well….maybe it was a retention pond…but let the kids have their fantasies!)
Beyond the pond was a second, and much larger, retention area that hadn’t seen water in it for a long time. It had mosses, lichens and a fire pit, that was full of snails!
We decided to make it a loop and caught the fire road, getting a few sprinkles on us from the dark clouds above us.
The road led us to a very large “lake” that had ducks happily swimming.
To small children, this was the best part of the hike. A lake! Rocks! Looking into the water, I could make out that this was originally a two part retention pond, look left from Alistaire’s head and you can see the dike, which is under water.
It was a gorgeous spot to relax and have a break – and a snack. There were trees to sit on (they are there for mt bikers training), but make a great rest stop.
No one seemed in a rush…well….
Until the clouds shifted once again and the threat of rain got us moving, to finish the loop! And as we left the lake, just below us, a train headed across the state blew its whistle loudly and that will make nearly any child smile ear to ear….