So much sunshine in February—it’s a little disconcerting for us Mossbacks! We’re used to hunkering down and quaffing generous infusions of caffeine to get through dreary, gray late winter. But with a string of consecutive (!), unusually mild, spring-like days, we’re like hermit crabs crawling out from under our shells, seized with the compulsion to get outside in the sun.
Like moths to a flame, many Seattleites are drawn to our local beaches on bright, blue sky days. I live pretty close to Golden Gardens Park on the western edge of the city, so today I head down to get some exercise and bask in the view of the Olympics across Puget Sound.
For a good quad and glute workout, the stairway trail delivers. Alpine Ascents International even suggests climbing this trail to train for mountain climbing. I start at the tunnel under the railroad tracks across from the parking lot at the southern side of the park.
With a funky combination of old, stone-paved stairs, sidewalk, dirt path, and concrete stairs, the trail ascends 325 feet.
About a third of the way up (before it gets steep), I pass the leash-free dog park. It reminds me of a kindergarten playground with all the dogs big and small checking each other out.
My knees start whining as I top out at the end of 85th Avenue Northwest in the Sunset Hill neighborhood in Ballard. Organic coffeehouse Café Fiore beckons me to stop and grab a quick cup of tea. (I always have time for tea.)
It’s an interesting mix of humanity and canines going up and down these stairs. A few lean runners with zero percent body fat pass me. (I'm dawdling with the camera.)
And regular folks with their dogs.
After my workout, I stroll out to the beach. At first I wonder what the heck all these families with kids are doing out here on a weekday afternoon, then I remember it’s winter break for Seattle schools.
Down here by the water’s edge, a persistent wind whips hair across my face. Not good for keeping my hair in place, but great for the kite flyers and surfers and sailors. With the bracing sea breeze and endorphin buzz from climbing up and down the stairway trail, I head home refreshed. Check out my clip of a kite surfer with the Olympics as the backdrop. (Sorry for the jiggly camera motion at the end!)
When You Go
Here’s a map to Golden Gardens. Parking can be iffy on nice spring and summer afternoons and evenings, but try parking in the lot just south of the park entrance instead of passing through the park gate.