Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chambers Bay

This week’s hike was to Chambers Bay a Pierce County park near Tacoma, Washington.  The park used to be a gravel pit that produced 250 million tons of gravel during the years it was operating.  Today the land is being reclaimed and developed as a park with an adjacent golf course.  The western side runs along the water and the majority of the group chose to do a beach walk instead of the approximately 3.5 mile loop route around the park that climbed up about 300 feet and afforded lovely views of the water and the golf course then wound around through some woods and back to the starting point near the parking lots.  It was a beautiful day with lots of sun but not too hot so walking up hill was comfortable.  We did the loop and then went down to the beach for lunch. 

 A little brown rabbit was munching his way through the flowering Miner’s Lettuce and paused just long enough for a couple of pictures.  We saw lots of flowering weeds and a few native plants in bloom also.  We were lucky enough to walk with someone well versed in native plants and weeds adding a few more plants by sight but it will be a while before I have memorized all the names.  It is still early in the season for flowers more things will be blooming in the coming weeks.   Apologies in advance if some of the plants are not named as they should be, corrections are welcome.

Madrona blossoms



Oregon grape, low growing variety


Geranium family

Red Dead Nettle

Miner’s Lettuce and Candy Stripe
 Chambers Bay, also called Chambers Creek, is a very large pretty park with a visitor’s center and nice rest rooms not just port-a-potties.  Along one area of the park are the remains of buildings from the gravel works that stand up huge and look like something from a movie set or Stonehenge re-visited.  There is also a large playground for children complete with a castle.  
Children's play area

The property has seen several uses since 1830 when the settlers first arrived.  Besides the gravel pit it was also developed as farm land for a short period of time but that did not prove successful and it reverted back to a gravel mine.  Judge Thomas Chambers owned a large part of the land which he donated in the 1850s.   A roller conveyor is mounted on the wall of the vistor’s center.  This was used to move the gravel bins from the mine to the transport trucks.   It looked more like a modern sculpture instead of primitive machinery.

Conveyor for gravel


Views from the loop trail . . .

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