Food trucks and Snake Lake

A week ago Saturday, having read about something that sounded fun, I headed off to Cheney Stadium, home of the local farm team (the Tacoma Rainiers, part of the Seattle Mariners), to my first-ever food truck event. I paid my parking fee and strolled in.

I’d never been inside a baseball stadium before (I’m a football fan — baseball never did much for me), let alone out on the field. I think that was at least half the charm. A band was playing on a stage set up in the outfield, and the food trucks were strung out like beads on a string around the edge of the field. People strolled around and lolled on the grass and sat in the bleachers, their hands full of food. It all smelled wonderful.

I wound up with the best (and biggest) gyro I’ve ever eaten, and a dish of self-serve (pay by the ounce) frozen yogurt, but while the food was good, the ambiance was just plain fun.

After a while, I decided I needed to walk off my rather large lunch, so I went across the street to the Tacoma Nature Center at Snake Lake. Now, understand, the reason it’s called Snake Lake is its shape, not its inhabitants. I’ve walked there any number of times, and I’ve never seen a snake there.

Self-evident.

It’s quite the amazing little place to find in the heart of a city the size of Tacoma. The trail is two miles round trip, and tunnels through untamed woods where animals have a chance to hide from all the development.

The trail, outbound.  This always makes me think of where Frodo and company hid from the Black Riders in the first LotR movie.
The trail, outbound. This always makes me think of where Frodo and company hid from the Black Riders in the first LotR movie.
Most of Snake Lake is hidden under vegetation, which is better for the wildlife.
Most of Snake Lake is hidden under vegetation, which is better for the wildlife.

One end does butt up against the U.S. 16 freeway, but the noise sounds more like wind through the trees than anything else, and the perspective is — different.

An interesting perspective on the freeway.
An interesting perspective on the freeway.
Sorry about the lack of focus on the trail sign.
Sorry about the lack of focus on the trail sign.
The bridge at the freeway end of the trail.
The bridge at the freeway end of the trail.
Another view of hidden Snake Lake.
Another view of hidden Snake Lake.

And on the uphill side on the way back, common plants like salal make carpets on the ground, and not-so-common plants like madrona shed their bark to show russet-colored wood.

The trail back on the uphill side.
The trail back on the uphill side.
Salal.  When my uncle was a young man growing up in Oregon, he used to pick salal and sell it to local florists as filler for bouquets.
Salal. When my uncle was a young man growing up in Oregon, he used to pick salal and sell it to local florists as filler for bouquets.
Madrona peeling its bark in an artistic manner, next to a Douglas fir.
Madrona peeling its bark in an artistic manner, next to a Douglas fir.

The list of plants and animals found here is quite extensive, considering how close people press in all around this park. And it’s a great place to walk on a hot day, because the trail is almost completely in the shade!

It's amazing what lives and thrives in this little oasis in the heart of the city.
It’s amazing what lives and thrives in this little oasis in the heart of the city.