With only five weeks left here in Washington, it looks like we won’t be able to kick off all the items on our Pacific Northwest Bucket List. There is only so much you can get done on the weekends, especially with a baby. To our credit, it was a pretty long list, and we got most of it done.
At this point, priorities on our to-do list have changed. We hired a property management company to rent out our home, had movers survey our belongings to ensure a smooth moving day, and bought a trailer to haul behind our Subaru so we can have a little bit of home with us when we arrive in Alaska. I won’t go more than two weeks without my kitchen stuff, and with having a baby and a dog comes lots of extra gear. When did we become so conventional?
In an effort to savor the scenery of the South Puget Sound, we went down into the valley outside of our neighborhood to tour the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. It’s a shame we hadn’t done it sooner.
The Refuge is nestled in a fertile valley where the coniferous rainforest meets South Puget Sound. From this place, when visibility allows, the snow-capped mountains of the Olympic National Park jut into the sky across the water, and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge spans the aquatic horizon to the north.
Rain or shine, birds skim the surface of the water, while jellyfish float gently below. The salty breeze carries waterfowl, sandpipers, hawks and kingfishers over the delta where bird watchers and their telescopes collect like barnacles.
At this particular refuge, a boardwalk two miles long, takes tourists out over the water to get a better view of the birds that frequent the shallow waters.
European Starlings, Canadian Geese, Blue Herons, and Great Egrets freckled the delta, while Sharp-shinned Hawks soared above. Bunnies hopped across walking paths, then disappeared under the ferns while Morning Doves feasted nearby on Wild Blackberries.
It was lovely to see them all independent of one another and not actively demonstrating their roles in the food chain.
After we leave the Olympia area, it may be a while before we experience the salty maritime breeze.
I am, however, confident there will be no lack of wildlife to enjoy in land-locked Fairbanks.