Which makes sense. Last Sunday, I decided to go out to the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge — the main link doesn’t seem to be working for some reason, but this one should — which occupies most of the estuary of the Nisqually River (the one I showed you the glacial headwaters of last week ). It’s the largest remaining undeveloped estuary on Puget Sound, and the site of a heated battle between developers and preservationists back in the 1970s, which resulted in the creation of the refuge.
The refuge used to be mostly diked farmland, and a few years ago, the management decided it would be better for the critters if the dikes were removed, so they were, and a beautiful two-plus mile boardwalk replaced the dike trails. The boardwalk leads to a gazebo at the very edge of the estuary, where you can see open water and most of the southern end of the sound.
For some reason, on this trip I didn’t see any critters on the way out to the gazebo except for gulls, but I saw lots on the way back. I’m not sure why that was.
The trail to the head of the boardwalk is mostly a boardwalk, too, and traverses forest of bigleaf maple and black alder. In spite of the trees, it’s mostly wetland, and this time of year the water is covered with bright green algae. Jewelweed blooms this time of year, too.
Then the forest stops and the estuary starts, and the sky opens up.
I walked all the way out to the gazebo, which, like I said, is over two miles one way. The clouds kept coming and going. I kept wishing they’d stay, because it was warm, and out on the tideflats like that it was humid. Under the clouds it was fine. Under the sun, it was sweaty.
On a clear day, you can see all the way up to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge from the gazebo, a distance of somewhere between 15-18 miles as the gull flies.
And then, on the way back, I saw Critters. With a capital Cr.
I also saw a lot of swallows out swooping around eating mosquitoes, but they were moving far too fast to photograph.
All in all, a wonderful day out at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.