Kakiat Park- A Glimpse of Home

As the water from the creek comes rushing in to meet me, I am swept away and brought back to the memories of my youth. I flash back to early-morning Sunday hikes on the winding trails, the burning sensation in my nose from the cold, the chirping of birds echoing through my mind, and genuinely enjoying the feeling of the earth at my feet. And now here I stand at the edge of a creek where all I can hear is the rushing of water on a chilly November evening. Signs of anthropogenic activity are evident now, two picnic tables are within sight, a brand new bridge that goes rises right over the creek was constructed only a couple years ago. Nearly all the trees are without leaves, and the sound of speeding cars from nearby route 202 floods my ears, but I try to focus on the water and its calming sensation. It flows aggressively on one stretch and calms as it flows downstream. I see a squirrel travel up the trunk of a tree to my left, pausing for a moment, and then continuing to explore. There is something beautiful in the way that the natural world interacts with the organisms present in it. It induced a greater sense of belonging in me and left me feeling grateful for the place I lived in. (style: Leopold)

Although in two very different locations, the sites are very similar (and different) in a variety of ways. Instead of hearing the frequent sound of bird calls in Centennial Woods, the sound of rushing cars along route 202 seem to be more evident in my site at home. The presence of squirrels scavenging for food is evident in both sites, but there seems to be, generally, more presence of wildlife in Centennial woods. Anthropogenic factors could be a reason for this. Kakiat Park is for the public, a very popular area for people to walk their dogs, hike, have group or family gatherings, or to fish. It’s a versatile and well-respected area. But because of an increase in popularity over the years, more picnic tables and a brand new bridge was constructed for the park. And while this increase in popularity is a positive thing, the introduction of these anthropogenic features may affect the ecology of the place when the features were put in place. Both sites change through the seasons in very similar ways. In many ways, Kakiat Park reminds me of Centennial Woods. Growing up right next to the park, I had access to the trails and creek daily. The creek actually flows behind my house and trails are within walking distance. So even in my younger years I was able to observe the phenology of Kakiat Trail, and see how it changed throughout different seasons. Both sites have already lost the leaves on the trees. It seems that there is a larger amount of leaves and excess twigs on the ground in centennial woods compared to Kakiat Park. It also seems that Kakiat Park is a much more open area and some of the trails are generally more cleared, as compared to Centennial Woods where there is much more leaves on the ground and the feeling of wet or loose soils beneath your feet. (style: Holland).