Family Park Walk: O.O. Denny Park

Today I accidentally caused us to miss church. To be fair, I didn’t mean to — I forgot it started at 9:30 instead of 10:00. Goodness knows how I forgot this, but there it is. Too many schedules in my brain, perhaps.

But the good news is that we missed church for a great family activity: our weekend park walk. This week we stayed close to home, visiting O.O. Denny Park, conveniently only a short drive from our house.

On the way, I learned that O.O. stands for Orion Orvil, a truly amazing name for one of the white dudes who founded Seattle. This property belonged to O.O. Denny as a “country retreat,” and his widow donated it to the City of Seattle after his death. It officially remains a City of Seattle park, although jointly managed with the county, since it’s across the lake from the actual city. Continue Reading >>

Family Park Walk: Big Finn Hill Park

This weekend, we went for our walk at Big Finn Hill Park, another trail from the Urban Trails book. I’d say the defining characteristic of this park was its intersection numbering system.

Some parks, you wander around mystified on unmarked trails, eventually popping out somewhere you recognize. At this park, you wander around mystified on randomly marked trails, still lost and, additionally, completely unable to anticipate what the next intersection number might be.

“Guess the next intersection number” became our #1 game on this walk. Every time we saw an intersection number marker, we tried to anticipate what it might be. Benji would look at it; Ian and I tried to guess. We basically never got it right. If the previous intersection was 53, the next one might be 18. If we just saw 25, we might see 26 — but this is a deceptive faux-pattern! because next we’d see 47. Continue Reading >>

Family Park Walk: Kirkland Watershed

On Saturday, we went for our weekend family walk at the Kirkland Watershed. This inaugural walk from the Urban Trails guidebook got us all just a little excited.

Kirkland Watershed

The guidebook said the freeway noise was a “background hum” (or words to that effect), but the trail we started on paralleled the freeway closely. We enjoyed more of a steady auditory background roar, but you wouldn’t know how close the freeway was just from the scenery.

Kirkland Watershed: Bower
Benji in a bower of young trees at Kirkland Watershed Park.

Eventually we wound our way away from the freeway and down a hill that led us to a very nice little creek, where Benji enjoyed launching leaf boats and barraging them with handfuls of mud. Continue Reading >>

Family Walk Goal: Walk All the Parks!

We are taking our weekend family walks to a new level, thanks to a book Mom gave us called Urban Trails: Eastside. It lists parks within easy driving distance of our house. We’ve agreed as a family to try to hike in every park in the book, one per weekend.

Urban Trails Eastside
Urban Trails: Eastside

To give Benji a boost, we agreed to count park visits from the beginning of 2021, so we already marked a few off:

Urban Trails: Eastside Tracking
Tracking our park visit progress.

Just in the last few weeks we visited Brightwater…

Brightwater Pond
On a hot day, the pond is definitely the biggest draw of Brightwater.

…and Redmond Watershed:

Redmond Watershed Walk
Walking at Redmond Watershed on a warm day a couple weeks ago.

We also visited St. Edward’s State Park, but I have no photographic evidence due to the rainy conditions. Continue Reading >>