A Short Hike Through Schafer State Park
A Meditative Stroll
Those who settled this land were John and Anna Schafer in 1872. Their sons created the Schafer Bros. Logging Company, which was once the largest in the Pacific Northwest. In 1924 the sons donated this site, which was home to Schafer family picnics, to the state of Washington. They continued to use the park for their company picnics up until the 1940s. In 2010, due to the amount of historic structures inside the park, it was added to the Washington Heritage Register and National Register of Historic Places.
Today the 119 acre state park is open to all who wish to explore the wonderful surroundings. Activities include 2 miles of hiking trails, bird watching, horseshoe pits, fire circles, interpretive activities, an amphitheater, and more. 41 campsites are also available during the warmer months.
Hiking Schafer Forest Loop Trail
In typical January fashion, it was raining on the way to the park. As we approached and parked the Jeep, however, the rain ceased and the sun greeted us. We got out and headed toward the quaint bridge to the stone building housing the restrooms. We scouted around the picnic tables and the damaged picnic shelter. After a quick look around, we headed for the loop trail. The trail lead to the bridge that crossed the very swollen Satsop River. Winter rains annually cause the river to overflow its banks and flood the park. The evidence of recent high waters was evident with the surrounding bent vegetation and still soggy ground.
The trail has good signage and leads into trees to the West, soon after leaving the river's edge. A slight incline along a ridge and there you are, surrounded by trees. The well defined trail of mud and a carpet of leaves lead us onward. Ferns and tree limbs heavy with hanging moss are characteristic of this space. Damp with the scents of evergreens and earth, along with the rushing of the nearby river give this place a peaceful feel. The fact that there was no one else on the trail added to the sense of solitude here.
We trekked along quietly, enjoying the chatter of birds and appreciating the scenery. We encountered a fair number of downed trees across the trail. Over, under or around, there was always a way forward. The short mile trail ended back near the river and far too soon.
Hiking always brings us back to center. A walking meditation of sorts. The exertion always leaves us replenished. We gain more than we expend. Though this was a quick little escape into the wilderness, it was soul medicine.
Coordinates: 47.097816, -123.466135
Distance: 1 mile loop
Difficulty: Very easy
Pass Required: Discover Pass
Follow along on our wanderings around the Pacific Northwest.
The only thing better would be being there yourself!
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