As the end of the quarter draws near and you are buried in books trying to keep up with the demands of your rigorous SCC classes, a small part of you is screaming to get outside and see some nature to calm your frazzled
nerves. What better way to do this than to journey just 10 minutes south of SCC to Carkeek Park to watch the spawning salmon and get into a zen state of mind?
Salmon fry (salmon babies, not the dipped-in-hot-oil kind) spend up to a year in their native streams before heading out to sea and navigating that journey called life. When it’s time to hang up their fishy hats, as a part of the final life cycle, the salmon return to their birthing grounds. It is here where they leave a bit of a legacy behind, laying and fertilizing eggs before moving along to that holy fish sanctuary in the sky.
Enter: Zen moment. Imagine yourself transported to a forest trail, surrounded by autumn leaves as the sound of water gently laps over creek-bed rocks in the stream next to you. Every so often you hear a splash and look over to see the tail or back fin of a nearly two foot long fish making its way upstream. Wish this dream of serenity could come true? Well you are in luck!
Annually, throughout November and December, over 200 salmon of the chum and coho breeds swim upstream from the Puget Sound to Piper’s Creek, a nearly 1.5 mile creek that runs through the middle of Carkeek Park. Perfect timing to interrupt your studies and deal with that “about-to-have-a- nervous-breakdown-if- you- don’t-get-out-in-nature” feeling you are having. The Sound to Salmon trail is right off the main parking lot and runs just under a half mile along Piper’s Creek with several viewpoints to observe the last voyage these salmon take.
Additionally, if you are so inclined to learn more about these salmon and their habits, volunteers known as Salmon Stewards will be on hand from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from now until Dec. 3. And if half a mile of hiking isn’t enough for your study break, Carkeek Park has over six miles of trail to explore to satisfy that urge for nature.
So get out and get your salmon on!
By KRISTEN CLARK, Design Director
Photo by KRISTEN CLARK