Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
April 25, 2006

A Tuesday afternoon and Spring was calling. Blue skies, warm weather, and a pleasant breeze all conspired to get me out of the office early in the afternoon and go for a short stroll on a nature trail rather than trying to battle my way through snow to the top of some peak or ridge.

I had made the walk around Brown's Dike in Nisqually twice before, once in April 2005 and then again in October of the same year. The path was as flat as before, but the scent of Spring hung heavy in the air, more so than I could remember from the first time I had hiked, er rather walked, the route.

As I strolled I listened to what the Spring was bringing forth, checking for signs of its permanence, or if winter might return for a while. If we would get an honest Spring, with green and flowers and pleasant times before summer came forth, or if, as with last year, it would simply rain all the time until July arrived.

This is, of course, not quite possible, but near the end I did see an encouraging sign.


From Lakewood, drive I-5 south to exit #114, which is signed Nisqually. At the end of the off ramp, make a right and follow the signs to the refuge. There are two parking lots on either side of the visitors center. Park in the very first one and you'll spot the Brown Farm, or Dike, Trail immediately (it is the large board walk). The Brown Farm/Dike route is a little over 5 miles and is flat the entire way. After the boardwalk gives out, the dike trail is sufficiently road like that my Camry could drive it without issue. The trail loops around the wetlands and returns to the visitors center. You'll have to pay a $3 fee per family (as the sign says) or have some sort of pass (Golden Eagle works). The refuge closes at sundown.