Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Harry Todd Park

Because beautiful weather was forecasted for today, I decided we needed to enjoy it. It won't be long before western Washington becomes wrapped in a perpetual gloomy, gray mist. So, we hunkered down, got some school work done, packed a lunch, and headed out. We decided to try a new park that I just became aware of this week: Harry Todd Park on the south side of American Lake in Lakewood.

At first, it didn't look good. We got off of the freeway exit only to find a closed road and detour. According to my directions, the park was .7 miles down the closed road. I followed the detour until I wasn't sure if I'd get back to the park. Rather than get lost, I stopped and asked a city employee I found how I'd go about getting to the park. He pointed me in the right direction. A minute or two later, we were there.

Our initial impression of the park was positive. Our final impression of the park was still positive. We'll put this one on our visit regularly list. It's only 15 minutes from our house, too.

This was the first thing we saw upon exiting our car. A giant field of gorgeous, lush, green grass and a well-maintained baseball diamond.

Directly in front of us, to the left of the baseball diamond, was this nice sight. Lovely area with lots of shade and trees. We saw some squirrels, crows, and another unidentified bird among the trees. There were also a few picnic tables and a covered picnic shelter.

We walked along the path between the field and the trees. Directly to the left of this photo was the shelter. In front of us, we found two full-size basketball courts, complete with nets. Amazing! I'm so used to seeing basketball courts sans nets in parks. If you look closely, you'll see a green fence behind the basketball courts. In that fenced area is a small skate park. Behind the skate park is an older tennis court.

Finally, we reached the playground. Mika and Sam jumped on the swings right away. There were two big kid swings and two toddler swings.

There was also a playset suitable for both bigger and littler kids. We didn't spend any time here until the end of our visit.

Then the kids found this "dragon" and climbed right on. As you can see, there's a few areas cut out to make climbing easier. Mika managed to climb up to and on top of its head.

Rather than play at the playground, we decided to head to the swimming area. Here's an overview of the swimming area. You go down a few stairs to the rocky/sandy beach. The swimming area is surrounded by a pier.

The kids didn't waste any time getting into the water. They were having a blast.

Meanwhile, I enjoyed the view while Madelynn slept in the stroller. That chunk of trees in the foreground is an island that can only be accessed with a boat. As you can see, it was a beautiful day.

I also enjoyed watching the boaters. While I was relaxing and watching the kids, I called Scott. He thought for a moment and asked me, "Which lake?" When I told him, he said he thought one of his friends was out on their boat on that lake. I told him to tell her to come pick us up. He did but we didn't find each other. Bummer!

So, back to the swimming area. Mika and Sam said they saw fish. Here's Mika squatting down waiting for a fish to come closer...she was trying to catch them with her hands.

Intrigued, I decided to wade into the water and take a look. If you look closely, you'll see the fish where the arrow is pointing. They were only a few inches long and about 3/4 inch around.

We took a walk around the pier and saw more of these fish out in the deeper water. The water is pretty clear. You can see at least 12-15 feet down. Past about 8 feet, the bottom of the lake is covered with yucky, ewwwy, slimy, lake plants. Between the fish and the plants, I was reminded of why I don't like swimming in natural bodies of water. Anyone know where I can find a nice, clean, sanitary, fish-less, plant-less pool?

After about an hour, the kids were ready for lunch.

While waiting for the big kids to finish eating, Josh saw this cargo plane flying by. Showing that his 2 1/2 year old brain doesn't understand perspective yet, Josh asked me, "Me hold airplane, pleeeeease!"

There was a long, steep hill next to the swimming area. I convinced Mika to roll down it.

Here's the view from the top of the hill. At the bottom of the hill is a lone picnic table and three public docks.
Rolling down the hill turned out to be fun but not so good of an idea. It was wet and the grass appeared to have been cut recently. Mika was COVERED in wet grass. Rather than continue playing on the hill, we opted to go back to the playground.

In case you were wondering, this is what Madelynn was doing while her older siblings played.

We found this other climbing contraption nearby. It looked like an outline of a train car.

There was also another shelter near the playground. This shelter is much nicer, newer, cleaner, and airy than the other shelter. I think it would be a great place to have a get together. That building behind it and to the right appears to be a concession perhaps and the now-locked bathrooms.

The kids finished up the day by climbing these trees. I'm not good at identifying trees but I think the one on the left is a pine tree (or something like it). The one of the right was obviously a madrona. The kids thought it felt fake.

We had a good time at this park. We'll be looking forward to spending part of next summer there.

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The Four Week Vegan said...

What an awesome park!

Deb said...

Ya'll found a gem! Now I really wish we could have been there :) Glad you had a good time.

Twisted Cinderella said...

looks like a great time!!