“A pedestrian is a man in danger of his life.  A walker is a man in possession of his soul.”
— David McCord

I admit I was a bit apprehensive about this third leg of my circumambulation of Seattle because the southern perimeter zigs and zags across industrial areas. It’s not a straightforward boundary line because Boeing Field interrupts the trek east to west. I would be leaving the flat, scenic shoreline of Lake Washington and heading toward Puget Sound. I’m not familiar with south Seattle, as I live and work in a northern neighborhood, so I didn’t know what to expect.

My husband came along to keep me company for the first part of the day’s walk. We started at South Kenyon Street and walked to the lakeshore. We walked south along Lake Washington to Thayer Street, not quite to the Renton border. At Thayer, we headed uphill to begin our walk west. This was the first of several uphill stretches on our journey.

Steep stairway up Thayer St

Steep stairway up Thayer St

Rather than follow each zig and zag along the city’s south boundary line, we fudged a bit to take in some more natural pathways. Our first destination was the Kubota Garden. We found the southernmost entrance by Mapes Creek overgrown with blackberry brambles. So we continued on to the main entrance on S 55th Street. The Japanese garden was a tranquil place early in the morning and we were its only visitors. It was an in-between time in terms of color. The rhododendron bloom was past its peak. But the curved paths took us past thoughtfully landscaped ponds and lawns, so it was a lovely meander.

We did not attempt to walk through this overgrown, brambly path, but instead chose a different entrance to the Kubota Gardens

We did not attempt to walk through this overgrown, brambly path, but instead chose a different entrance to the Kubota Gardens

Gated entrance

Gated entrance

Rabbit in the gardens

Rabbit in the gardens

The tranquility of a Japanese garden

The tranquility of a Japanese garden

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We exited the Kubota Garden on Renton Avenue and headed west toward the Rainier Beach light rail stop. There we intercepted the Chief Sealth trail, a bike and pedestrian trail along a green belt. The paved trail wove up and down in a grassy meadow landscape.

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Chief Sealth trail

Chief Sealth trail

At Kenyon Street we headed west to Beacon Avenue, followed it until it turned into Swift Avenue, and continued north along I-5. We were under the noisy flight path of planes destined for Seatac Airport and Boeing Field.

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We crossed I-5 at Albro Street and rested for a few minutes at Ruby Chow Park. Then George caught a bus back to his truck, and I continued on my way west. I walked to S Eddy Street in the Georgetown neighborhood and followed it to Michigan Street. I continued on Michigan to the First South Bridge, whose Duwamish bike trail provided pedestrian access across the Duwamish River. Now I was in the heart of the industrial area of Seattle – barges, concrete, traffic, storage lots for all sorts of industrial materials.

The Duwamish River

The Duwamish River

View looking back toward downtown Seattle from the First South Bridge

View looking back toward downtown Seattle from the First South Bridge

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I followed the zig-zag bike path to the South Park neighborhood. The library there provided a clean and quiet space for a break before I headed up the hill on Cloverdale, over Hwy 509, and up into West Seattle.

Shaded street in South Park neighborhood

Shaded street in South Park neighborhood

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As I crossed Hwy 509, I looked down onto this street light, a resting spot for a pigeon

As I crossed Hwy 509, I looked down onto this street light, a resting spot for a pigeon

Once again I fudged a bit on my periphery route, bypassing the point at Arbor Heights in favor of a more direct walk west. I took Roxbury to 8th Avenue SW, then 8th to Henderson St, and Henderson to Barton St and 35th Avenue SW.

I marveled at the beautiful flowers and landscaping I saw along the residential streets, but the highlight was the Barton Street Pea Patch on 35th Avenue SW. Everything looked so healthy and full of life. The colorful poppies and pink peonies were eye catching. The prolific pea plants gave special meaning to the concept of a “pea patch” garden. If I lived in this neighborhood, I would definitely get on the waiting list for a spot in this community garden.

From a yard along SW Henderson St

From a yard along SW Henderson St

The perfect rose

The perfect rose

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Sunflower in the pea patch

Sunflower in the pea patch

Poppies

Poppies

Peas in the pea patch

Peas in the pea patch

Visitors in the pea patch

Visitors in the pea patch

I took a short two-block detour on 35th to the Southwest Branch of the Seattle Public Library for a needed break before catching the Rapid Line C back to downtown Seattle.

Walking distance: about 13 miles