Outdoor Explorations

Discoveries

Yesterday, we decided to head out and look for some places to collect wild rose buds to dry (Maurie is an herbalist, and is starting to wildcraft what herbs she can locally again).  As we were sitting in our living room looking at an old King County map while having breakfast, she noticed something marked simply as “Section 36 park” near Sammamish, WA.  It looked interesting, so we did some more investigation into it.  Well, it’s now called “Soaring Eagle Regional Park” and is part of the King County parks district. We decided that this would be our destination, and we’d look for wild rose along the way to harvest.

We pulled together some picnic fare, climbed into the car, and off we went.

On the way out, we stopped by the Issaquah Farmers Market to take a look, and hopefully find some local raw honey.  Unfortunately, the honey was not to be had (the only vendor with honey didn’t sell raw).  It wasn’t a wasted trip, though.  We did come away with a small bag of sugar snap peas and two beautiful tomatoes to add to our picnic, as well as some rhubarb for a yummy treat to be made at home.  We also browsed the booths for the arts and crafts vendors.

Back on the road, and off to the park.

We arrived at the park and had our picnic sitting on a large log that formed the barrier between the end of the road and the start of the Pipeline trail through the park.  As we ate, one hiker came out, and two mountain bikers arrived.  The park is a nature preserve, so there would be no harvesting here (well, except for a small handful of salmon berries which didn’t make it four steps before being consumed).  It’s also habitat for black bear and bobcat, as well as black-tailed deer, 40 different bird species (per the website) as well as your usual assortment of northwest forest critters.  We zig-zagged through the forest on wonderful meandering trails.  All the trails are shared-use, and we encountered dog walkers, mountain bikers and one person on horseback.  We enjoyed listening to various woodpeckers going to town on the trees and snags as well as a variety of other birds.  We crossed from one end of the park to the other on the small side trails and then returned on the main Pipeline trail.  We definitely plan on going back to walk the rest of the trails!

After we came off the trail, we wanted to visit an herb shop in Kirkland.  Last week at the Herb and Food Fair at Bastyr University, Maurie met the owner.  She needed to pick up an herbal treatment, so we decided to head out to Herban Wellness on Kirkland’s waterfront.

Along the way, we stopped at the Redmond Whole Foods Market to add a little to our picnic cooler and get a smoothie.

We arrived in Kirkland.  As you’d expect on a beautifully sunny weekend afternoon, the waterfront was hopping.  Restaurant doors and windows were opened; customers dined on tables in courtyards and on sidewalks and decks.  Unfortunately, we didn’t know of the change to the hours at Herban Wellness, so they were closed when we arrived.  But, we decided it wouldn’t be a wasted trip.

We moved down the waterfront to David E Brink Park to have our picnic dinner.  We sat at a picnic table near a large lakeside willow tree and enjoyed our dinner.  Afterward, we sat on the wall above the lake with our feet hanging over the edge, just above the surface of the lake.

We heard some girls talking about pulling some flowers out of a fountain, and proudly showing them to their parents.  We wandered up to the fountain after putting our picnic stuff back in the car and found the fountain, with three statues of women with water pots.  The sculpture was called “the Three Water Bearers”. We noticed another fountain area across the street in front of some condos, and went over to take a look.  Along the fountain was an unnamed sculture of a Native American(?) woman with a disc that had what looked (to me) to be two circling ravens on it.

We went back towards Moss Bay and parked to get some coffee and wander around the downtown/waterfront area.  I’ve not spent much time in Kirkland since I graduated High School.  It’s grown up and changed, but it was vibrant.  As we walked, we had the pleasant surprise of many works of public art.  Scultures on street corners (“Close Quarters” – two rabbits on the corner of Central and Lake), in front of the library (“the Carousel”) and in the middle of the grass in parks (“The Gossips” in the park by the Teen Union Building, and “Puddle Jumpers” above the beach at Moss Bay Marina park), and many more in other places throughout the small area we walked.

Maurie on the Carousel in front of the Kirkland Library

The art in downtown Kirkland was a very pleasant surprise.  It was made especially so in looking at the plaques at each.  These were commissioned or purchased by private individuals, businesses or community organizations.  None of it, from what I could see, was city purchased.  It was heart-warming to see the citizens investing in the city like that.

It was a great day out exploring, and we arrived home tired and happy.  What will the next sunny weekend day bring??

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