Best Way to Wear Yourself Out While Hiking in St. Edward State Park
It was such a simple plan. It always is. Head to the park, let Dek run around a bit, take a walk by the water, and get home by lunch.
Ah, yes. The simplest plans.
My parents were in town over Memorial Day weekend. It had been taking so long to get the 6 of us out the door each day that we decided to do activities that were close to home. A hike around St. Edward State Park seemed like a great idea. The sun was shining and there was a nice breeze blowing through the trees.
Of course the park also has one monstrous playground.
I’d heard about this playground but I had never actually been there. Our quick hike soon turned into playtime with a sand digger in what appeared to be a wooden castle made just for kids.
My mom and I left Dek, Mike and my dad to play for a bit while we took a walk. Dek quickly decided he was having none of that. I had recently disappeared for a day to give birth. He still needed to know where I was from time to time. Or maybe he just thought I had his soccer ball. I think I’ll stick with the idea that he missed me. It’s sweeter that way.
The grounds around St. Edward, which was once a catholic seminary, runs along Lake Washington. I couldn’t see the water from the playground or the main seminary building, but I knew it was close. We poked around a bit and found a trail.
OK, so 0.62 miles was a bit of a walk, but really not that bad. I had walked much farther in my lifetime. Sure I was only 4 weeks post partum and tired as a dog, but Dek was full of energy and ready to run through the greenery. We would give it a shot.
There was just one catch. It was all down hill. And when I say downhill, I mean I was watching my steps in some spots to make sure I didn’t slide. I was carrying Ty in my Ergo. Falling down was not an option.
After many minutes and even more stops so Dek could pick up rocks, twigs and larger than his own life walking sticks we came to the edge of the lake. It was a bit brisk down there.
Ty decided this was the perfect moment to wake up to eat. Why wouldn’t he? It was cold, windy and there was nowhere to sit.
I pulled up a patch of tree root to feed him while I watched Dek with his grandparents by the edge of the water. I could see the wheels working in his mind. He was thinking, “hmmm…I don’t have my rain boots on, but that’s OK, I can still jump in this right?”
Thankfully Dek did not act on those thoughts. The numerous amounts of dogs wandering around kept him close to grandpa who could tackle him if he made a break for the water.
Once Ty finished up his snack we started heading back up to the car. We were all hungry and more than a little tired. Mike took Ty from me so my back could get a break.
I was tying Dek’s shoe when it suddenly dawned on me that my toddler now had to walk back up a hill for 0.62 miles. We didn’t have a carrier or stroller for him. We were well past naptime. His little legs had already gotten a work out on the playground and walk down. I couldn’t carry him all the way back. How the heck was this going to work?
Enter the grandpa of the year award winner. My dad scooped Dek up and put him on his shoulders. He carried Dek almost the entire way back up the hill. I’m still not sure how he survived it, but his neck had to be hurting later that night. If I was worn out by this point he had to be doubly so.
My plan to wear Dek out worked, but it also backfired on the rest of us. Instead of tiring Dek out so he would take a good nap and we could have some quiet time together, all of us were now ready to crash as soon as we walked in the door.
The plan of the day started out so simple. Like most simple things, it got more complicated, mainly due to a lack of research on my part about the park, but was no less enjoyable because of it. If anything, we now have another family hiking story to write in our book of crazy adventures.
Know Before You Go
- St. Edward State Park, 14445 Juanita Drive NE, Kenmore, WA 98028
- Hours: Open year round 8am to dusk. No overnight visitors
- Parking Permit: $10 for Day/ $30 for annual Discovery Pass (buy annual pass in the office by the basketball gymnasium)
- Free State Park Days:
- Jan. 14 – 16 : Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend
- March 18 and 19: In honor of Washington State Parks’ 99th birthday on March 19
- June 9: National Get Outdoors Day
- Sept. 29: National Public Lands Day
- Nov. 10 – 12: Veterans Day holiday weekend
- Picnic tables are available near the playground. There is no food sold on site.
- Stroller? A baby carrier or jogger stroller is recommended if you want to take the path down to the lake. Little legs will get tired on the way back up.
- No car access to the beach. There are also no lifeguards. This is rugged lake front, not sandy beach terrain.