Walking around the block or neighborhood is a good way to get in some low-key exercise. But have you ever considered upgrading your walk, trading in the sidewalk and buildings for a trail and trees?
Many cities and towns have parks and greenbelt areas within city limits (Discovery Park in Seattle is my favorite urban oasis). But maybe you’d like to venture out just a tiny bit further into the wilds, without making much of a time commitment?
If that’s the case, check out your county and state parks online. You might be surprised – there could be a soothing swath of green just waiting for you close by.
For instance, King County, WA has a parks website complete with giant “PARKS” and “TRAILS” buttons on the homepage. Click on “trails” and then “Cougar Mountain,” and you’ll see where I spent part of recent Sunday with my friend Nancy. We both love hiking, but wanted something a little closer to home that weekend. Cougar Mountain is about 15 minutes away (when the traffic gods are smiling), so off we went.
There are 36 miles of trails, including waterfalls, scenic viewpoints, and some odd historical artifacts (scant remains of an old mining town and a Cold War-era missile launch site). It’s a much-beloved park, so expect to say hi to a good number of fellow hikers, dogs and trail runners. Horses are also allowed on some trails.
We started at the Sky Country trailhead and hiked down to the Coal Creek Falls waterfall. The rushing water, lush greenery, and little wooden bridge made for a good reward.