Friday night Ian and I were sitting around the table drinking beers discussing our weekend plans. We both agreed we wanted to do something new, so we planned to meet up at noon on Saturday to head over to Discovery Park. I had heard of Discovery Park and knew the hiking is rather mild, so it seemed like a good way to get out of the U-district and explore some of scenic Seattle.
Ian made his way down to my place by noon and we caught the bus around 1. To get to Discovery park is not the easiest without a car, requiring two bus rides through residential neighborhoods. I would recommend downloading an application that has detailed bus information, such as City Maps, if you plan to use public transit. The weather was breezy, a bit drizzly, and chilly. I only wore a flannel with a windbreaker over that so I wasn’t the most prepared for multiple weather conditions. I was comfortable at first but would later be sweating. Ian, who is used to the perfect Southern Californian weather, was wearing a thermal shirt, a sweatshirt, a winter coat, and a beanie.
After an hour bus ride we got off at the stop for Discovery Park and made our way up to the visitor center. The park is poorly labeled so we wanted to stop in the visitor center to hopefully grab a map. All we got was some poor advice from an old woman. We listened to her advice and eventually found the loop trail, but often found ourselves second-guessing the correct direction through out the trip.
The trail is 2.8 miles through all types of terrain. We started in this open meadow known as the “historic district” which had some old houses and military residence. We were able to see a sneak peak of the views over the bluff, a giant cliff overlooking the Puget Sound. In the distance were cloud-covered mountains on the other side of the sound. We knew the views would only get better so we entered the dense forest that took us down towards the beach below.
The stairs were slick, but the overall steepness was moderate. Every 100 feet or so were wooden overlooks that offered a nice break on the knees and offered a different view. We stopped at each one but eventually made our way down to the bottom and onto the rocky beach. It was windy and the water was rough, but the sun was coming out blinding us but warming us simultaneously. As we made our way down the beach we were approaching the lighthouse, the main attraction of the park. Upon reaching the lighthouse we were met by giant rocks and the point of the park leaving us standing there with nearly 270 degrees of water surrounding us. We stopped to enjoy the scenery and used it as a chance for a quick break.
At this point in the hike, Ian and I are ready to make our long journey back to the University District to watch some college football and warm up. Unfortunately, the curse of having poorly marked trails haunted us again. After making our way up the slippery stairs, we wandered for about an hour until we finally found the visitor center. I probably underestimated the ability of the hike because my legs were a bit tired at the end.
Utilizing the lovely iPhone to get our buses back, we hopped on the first one with hopes to get to Fremont with ease. Rather, we missed our connecting buys by 2 minutes. Left out in the cold by a busy, breezy street, we had twenty minutes to kill. We ended up freezing our asses off, trying to take our mind off of the chill.
We decided to stop in Fremont to get a cup of coffee before going back home because Ian had never been and it was on the way. Trusting technology again, we selected Caffe Ladro, which got fine ratings on Google and yelp. We both ordered a cup of Medici, which is a mocha drink with a hint of orange. The coffee was delicious and the barista was friendly. He even put in some pizzazz, decorating the top of our coffee using milk. You don’t get that type of service in Jersey! One negative of the place was the vibe. It was well decorated, but all the tables were filled with people sitting in silence. It was more like a library than a bustling coffee shop. We drank our coffee then ran to catch the bus so we didn’t have to stand out in the cold again. We made it home in time to watch University of Washington get destroyed by Arizona in football.
I think Discovery Park is a great place to walk and enjoy if you live in Seattle. It’s close, free, and peaceful. As for the quality of the hike, it is relatively easy and rewarding. If you want truly spectacular views though, there are plenty of places surrounding Seattle that can blow you away, if you have access to a car. I may not be back to Discovery Park right away, but I think it would be a beautiful place on a clear summer day, especially because of its affordability.