on a day at Point Defiance

It was another unseasonably mild day on the Whulge. Adam and I headed south to Tacoma Aroma- exceptionally stinky today I might add- and visited Point Defiance Park. We’ve taken advantage of the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium (on the border of the larger part of the park) a handful of times but this was our first time adventuring into the wilder of the 700 acres of this amazing area. It’s truly an outstanding urban oasis, the second largest municipal park in the U.S. (only Central Park in New York City is bigger).  Point Defiance is a heavily forested peninsula jutting out high above Puget Sound, seemingly everywhere you turn there are amazing filtered views through tall firs and cedars of sparkling blue water. There’s a five mile one way loop-road (20 mph speed limit) throughout it with all kinds of viewpoints and trail-heads. Because the towering, impenetrable sandy bluffs present such an obstacle around the perimeter of the park, opportunities exist for interesting, lonely beach walks when the tide is lower. Mt. Rainier is utterly spectacular from Owen Beach, which would appear to be an incredibly popular shoreline access point in the summertime that I would choose to avoid like the plague between July through August (the parking area seems to go up the wooded hillside forever). Elsewhere in the park from breezy bluffs, there are neat views of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (upon seeing it for the first time, Adam blurted “Papa! It looks like the Golden Gate Bridge!”).

We stopped at Owens Beach to play on the driftwood for awhile. Thereafter we hiked a portion of the colorfully-named Outside Loop Trail. We were fortunate to stumble upon a secondary trail that made its way steeply down through the bluffs to a secluded beach, where we played for about an hour trying to damn up a little creek that trickled down out of the woods across the sand and into Commencement Bay. The beach was a little mucky from slides off the bluff behind us and it was cold in the winter shade on this north side of the park. We couldn’t really wander more than a few hundred feet in either direction because the combination of a higher tide and masses of downed trees off the bluff barring our passage. Adam got filthy, I suspect he wanted to get dirty for the sake of just getting dirty. We had the foresight to bring a change of clothes with us.

My original plan (after we got done playing) was for us to take the five minute ferry ride from Point Defiance over to Vashon Island, drive up Vashon and then take another ferry to Seattle- I’ve wanted to do that for as long as I can remember- but by the time we hiked up to the aforementioned main Outside Loop Trail, Adam and I mutually agreed it was good to avoid too much of a good thing. We went home and played around the house for the rest of the afternoon.

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