Ken's View: Memories of waterfalls, pools and streams
By Ken Robinson
Managing Editor, Westside Seattle
The woods on the hillside below our home stretched for what seemed like a mile toward Puget Sound and Vashon Island across the channel. It was the private playground for the five Robinson brothers. It was vast enough to be the imagined lair of pirates, gypsies, hoboes and boys who had run away from home. In reality, none of those things dwelled under the canopy of evergreens that shrouded the trails from the top of the hill to beach, a distance of about a mile.
We ran the trails, eluding fantasy enemies, playing cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers and explorer. But our favorite pastime was fishing. Silvery Salmon Creek threaded a rocky path downhill from a drainage about halfway through those woods between Burien and White Center. At its widest it was not more than a strong boy could leap across. But in its meager waters there were hidden treasures. Rainbow trout! The wild prize of fishermen of every age. By the time we were six-years-old, our father had already made us believers in the Church of The Righteous Angler, dragging us along with him on weekends in our oversized ponchos to ply the visible waters of many creeks and streams. He even took note of ditches swollen with rain. He told us he could catch fish in a wet washrag and we believed him.
We were skilled in skewering a nightcrawler with a single hook and knew how to keep a salmon egg from slipping easily off.
Near the bottom of the hill where Salmon Creek flattened out, we would cast our hand lines with hook and single egg into the bright waters and pretty soon would have a slithering six-inch beauty in our grip. We knew they were too small to keep and let them go for another day. But the memory of catching even these small wild creatures in this pristine water was magic. We have carried this experience all our lives and it has guided us in our appreciation for the natural world, for the joy of a woods to play in and for the lessons from our father about appreciating the simple wonders of life.
Just south of 165th S along Des Moines Way S. Miller Creek wends its way near the road and under the 509 overpass. Hidden back in the brush below the 3rd runway it runs clear and cool tempting even the most modest of fishermen to test its waters. A small sandbag dam holds the pristine pool, creating Burien's version of a miniscule Niagara Falls.
You can't get close enough to cast a fly because the Port of Seattle has a fence keeping people out who have no business being there. But it is exciting to any angler to see a waterfall and a pond. Even though he can't get close to it except with a camera.
It is a heart throbbing memory for those of us with many youthful days on the banks of brooks and streams.