Submitted by Don Doman
Sunday morning before the rains came to clear the smokey air, our six person breakfast crew headed down to Hawks Prairie. Our plans were for food first and then a nature walk along the Nisqually Delta.
As we drove along I-5 and over the Nisqually River we saw perhaps a dozen and a half fishermen lining the banks. Looking for Atlantic salmon? As we approached the off ramp for Lacey and Hawks Prairie, we shivered at the potential bottleneck heading north after we ate. Northbound traffic was almost at a stand-still.
We drove around the parking lot before finding an open slot. When we walked into the restaurant, we were directed into the bar. There we found one booth open that could accommodate our group. The waitress with one tattooed arm was friendly. She had two arms, but only one had tattoos. We placed our orders and eventually were served, but we had such interesting conversations, I forgot to take photographs of the food and the surroundings. The sausage gravy was excellent as was Peg’s fruit bowl. We had a very nice time.
Afterwords we drove the short distance to the Nisqually Delta and the information center. We parked and all six of us walked the boardwalk through the wetland and wildlife preserve.
No matter where you look there is something interesting to see or to think about. You can see where crews have cut fallen trees that perhaps blocked the boardwalk. Remnants are left to mulch and rot and return to nature. There were blackberries growing everywhere and some roundish red-orange fruit. In the long grass, just a few feet away from our comfortable and dry shoes, you could see where something had bedded down for the night and walked or waddled away.
I like to see nature doing its job. Brave new alders growing up straight and tall through deadfall is just life taking advantage of death and dieing. Freshwater pools containing tiny little lilly-like pads capture leaves and provide shadows of safety for creatures below.
Sometimes the simplest things make your mind wander. I looked down on the wooden boards and saw that something had dripped down from the forty foot trees. On closer inspection the handrail had tiny rivers of something slowly running down the sloped plank. I asked one of my friends to stick his finger into the liquid and taste it. I’m sure it was honey. I would have done it myself, but I was the photographer. Sometimes friends just let you down. High above there was a caterpillar nest as well. The drips could have been excrement, but I don’t think so.
As we read posted information with details on local inhabitants for the delta, and looked about, Peg kept issuing orders to take a photo of this, or a photo of that, or making other suggestions on what I could do. I dutifully did what she asked. She has a good eye, and I always hope she will take my photos and make a stunning calligraphic piece of art. As it was, we ended up with some nice images. I must have a dozen or so photographs of little frogs and two of big frogs.
If you have never been to the nature preserve at the Nisqually Delta, you are missing a great example of why people choose to live here in the Pacific Northwest. Each time we visit, we see something different . . . and wonderful.