Urban Wildside

Here at the very southern tip of the City of Seattle border there is some wild left. Most don’t know it exists or possibly ignore it due to its wildness.

Today I ventured out into it and scrambled along a trail that was barely there. In the ravine up and down melt together. Ivy has taken over and the trail is gone. Come follow along on my urban wildside adventure.

It started in the madrona forest that is found on a tidy path out of the Seola pocket park. You can find it where 35th Ave SW and Marine View Drive curve into each other.

Madronas on the hillside above Puget Sound
Madronas on the hillside above Puget Sound
Warm colored madrona bark on this twisted trunk
Warm colored madrona bark on this twisted trunk

I turned away from the sound and went down the hill towards Seola Drive. As I approached the street my crows found me. This foursome landed in a tree anticipating some treats down on the road. I won’t bore you with that feeding frenzy and get to the wild getting.

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Up in the tree tops with my crow escort

I headed north up the road and came where the wild cannot be tamed in our city. There I turned onto a trail with hope it would lead me to my destination.

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Looking back at civilization before going wild

Turn around and there it was…. the rabbit hole into adventure!

Is this a trail?
Is this a trail?

The ivy and brier push at the trail and disorient the uninitiated to Alice’s rabbit hole that leads into another dimension.

Over the log I go to follow the creek bed.
Over the log I go to follow the creek bed.

See the worn spot on the log? That is the clue of a trail along with the washed out creek bed. Thank goodness it was dry today. After rolling over the log on my butt, I saw the laurel bush house. Another forest hole to enter and I hoped an exit is on the other side.

Dark entrance to Laurel house
Dark entrance to Laurel house
I'm in the hole looking back
I’m in the hole looking back
There is a path outward & off I went again
There is a path outward & off I went again

The going is getting rougher. Not many tread in this area and if there was no creek bed it would be brier city and nearly impossible to pass. A rookie would be lost in no time.  It is on the edge of the city and lost is relative.

There is a trail you ask?
There is a trail you ask?

It might look flat to you but we are now climbing in elevation and the next look at the wild is where I climbed a stair like area.

Stairs cut by water
Stairs cut by water

I got to a small cleared area. There I found beauty in all this green that was everywhere. Was I in the city? or was I in the wilderness nowhere to be found by anyone? Moss grows undisturbed.

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Now the obstacles are getting more fun. Here we have down trees across the path or at least from this view they seem to be. I was able to skirt them since someone has left a faint trail around.

Over or under?
Over or under? – It was under first and then around
I made it to a small trail
There was a trail if you look carefully

Then there was blue! Where did that come from? A blue raincoat washed down or left behind? What a story it must have! Was it a poor overheated kid or a left behind homeless person’s jacket? I did not see any other trash or homeless like encampment so I am betting on other wildness adventurers.

Blue vivid against NW lush forest
Blue vivid against NW lush forest

I trucked on despite the dwindling path but the creek bed just kept leading the way.

Creek bed or trail?
Creek bed or trail?

I am surrounded by dense trees and ivy is growing on everything. This is our urban rain forest showing me it is in charge.

Seattle rainforest
Seattle rain forest

Then there was the gully! Thank goodness it was dry. Someone left a pallet there or it washed down? Either way it was a good assist if the water was running. I scrambled down into the gully and then back out. Not too tough since I wear good boots and sturdy jeans.

Looking down into the gully I had to cross
Looking down into the gully I had to cross

Around the corner I found a flat clearing with a surveyor flag.  Just odd in the middle of all this verdant green no man’s land!

clearing in no man's land
clearing in no man’s land

There to the north was the creek and it is running with water. Yes, all this way there was no water in the bed. Now it was a babbling brook.

Creek was full of water here.
Creek was full of water here.

I had been here before years ago. It is in about the right place for the trail up and out. Then I saw it! The path cut to the east and up the steep hillside.

This may look flat but it is a steep incline.
This may look flat but it is a steep incline.

Up and up I went and now you can see civilization is peeking out at the top of the ravine. My thoughts of wilderness evaporated upon their sighting. I started looking for my exit hole.

Houses along the rim
Houses along the rim

This may look flat due to the lushness of the vegetation but I am more than 50 to 100 feet up looking down onto that little clearing.

Clearing looks so small on the ravine floor below
Clearing looks so small on the ravine floor below

Then there was light! The exit door from the rabbit hole ravine is near. I climbed up holding onto a tree that was down. I wanted out now! I had not seen things go from large to small like Alice but I was desiring community again.

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There was light at the end of the tunnel

I was out! Looking back the door closed and it disappeared.

Was there an entrance to magic there?
Was there an entrance to magic there?

I found myself in the parking lot of the Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis club. What just happened? Magic again to return so completely to the world we know.

Arbor Heights Swim Club is where I landed
Arbor Heights Swim Club is where I landed

I had never needed to be in fear. I was not alone since my crow family never left my side. I had a member of the murder greet me from the light pole.

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That was my wildness adventure on the edge of Seattle’s city limits. Down the rabbit hole and then back out to tell the tale. Urban wild lives!!  Go seek it yourself and ramble free of technology as often as possible.

3 thoughts on “Urban Wildside

  1. Thank you for that trip through the urban forest, Robin. Alas, they are too quickly disappearing. Lucky for me the City of Bothell recently bought the last parcel of the North Creek Forest so at least my back yard will remain on the edge of a sort of wilderness.

    1. That is great of Bothell. What I find interesting is most folks don’t even think about the shrinking green belts as we plant homes in every open space.
      Plus the idea of scrambling around in the brush is only for those who don’t drive our of town. That not knowing that we have wildness close by contributes to our loss.

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