The weather is looking beautiful here in Western Washington and I thought I’d take my kids out for a nice nature walk last night. Do you ever do this?
If you live in my neck of the woods, can I recommend the BPA Trail in Federal Way? This trail snakes 7 miles through Federal Way and it’s all paved. Last night, I took my kids there after dinner for a fun (and free!) outing. Even on a “busy” day (say like Saturday morning), the trail is rarely crowded, making it an ideal spot for runners, bikers, and strolling families alike.
I asked my kids to identify as many plants, flowers, and animals as they could. Of course, we really came to keep our eyes out for bunnies! I said a big prayer on the car ride over that we’d spot some. (I figure if God cares about the sparrow, he cares about the bunnies, too.)
I kept my eyes open too and I think I spied red dead nettles growing in large clusters off the trail. I only know this because I took an urban weed foraging class last year through Seattle Tilth. I’ve been thinking about learning more about native plants and foraging, just for my enjoyment. Apparently these dead nettles come from the mint family and have a strong flavor, but I didn’t try them.
I did see an older lady foraging for fiddleheads, but when I asked her about them, I realized she didn’t speak much English. I’d love to know more about foraging for fiddleheads or how to cook with them! Anyone do this?
After about 30 minutes, we’d still not seen a bunny and we were well on our way back to the car…
And I found this little guy, nibbling the grasses and blackberry leaves. (Hey! God answered our prayer!) If I hadn’t been looking for a bunny, I probably would not have seen him! Incidentally, if you want to look for the bunnies, I do recommend going in the evening. They seem to come out that time. And keep your eyes peeled – they can really blend in with their surroundings.
Of course my daughter had to try to get a closer look. That’s about as close as she got before he bounded off into the blackberries! About the same time, I spied another one hopping into the bush as a dog on the trail passed by.
Near the trailhead by the Aquatic Center you can take a little trail down to a lake/pond area. We did this just before leaving to watch the ducks. It’s a good thing my kids were wearing boots! It was muddy down there.
We had such a great time last night that I wanted to share it with you! I’d love to know if you have any additional recommendations of trails, hikes, or other places to take your kids for free in the Puget Sound Area to get out and enjoy nature! Please share!