Saltwater State Park offers nearby relief
By Tim Clinton
"You don't have to worry about anything here," Pete Harris, a friend of mine, said while sitting on a park bench.
And "here" is not very far away.
It was Saltwater State Park in Des Moines on a sunny summer evening.
The bench and several like it overlook a beach on Puget Sound, facing Murray and Vashon Islands and the Olympic Mountains beyond.
A lowering sun streamed across the water, casting sparkles on the waves with its light.
Walkers passed by behind the benches on a cement walkway, many with children and/or dogs tagging along.
The walkway, and a grassy yard, are sandwiched between the beach and a rocky seawall and a tree-lined bluff.
Early on the walk from the parking lot on the south end of the yard are modern men's and women's public facilities to be followed by picnic tables.
In the middle at the base of the bluff is a fire pit surrounded by a horse shoe shaped stone structure and a wooden bench to sit on.
Trees stand out in the yard offering shade to those who need it.
There is also a lone wooden picnic shelter to protect from the sun or rain.
Giant ships cut through the scene offshore on occasion, providing more to look at as well as large waves that inundate the small strip of beach that exists at low tide and splash up against the seawall.
The seawall, yard and pathway end abruptly at the north end of the park, forcing strollers to turn around or find a place to sit on the rocks.
The parking lot to the south is separated by a creek and a bridge.
Its beach is not walled in and boasts a sandy spit to play on at low tide that can be quickly cut off by shallow water as the tide rolls back in.
To the south off the beach is a snack shack with a variety of food, drinks and even ice cream on sale.
The parking lot and creek cut into the bluff in a ravine, and further in are picnic shelters and campsites along a trail.
There are 38 standard campsites in all and 2.2 miles of extensive footpaths at Saltwater State Park, which is located two miles south of the downtown portion of Des Moines on State Route 509.
Follow the signs after a bridge over the ravine going north or just before it going south.
Descend to the parking lot after the toll booth. A $30 Discover Pass will allow you to park on state lands for a year and covers two vehicles. A day pass is $10.
For more information, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov or call toll free (866) 320-9933.