A mixed bag of both, fun and terrors, on my latest urban hike!
First off, the day turned out great! I wasn’t sure if it would rain that morning, so I postponed my walk until after lunch. It was clearing up by then. 70 degrees, no wind to speak of. Nice.
I walked to Kubota Garden (which I have a tendency to call Kubota Gardens, like there’re more than one. Does anyone else in Seattle call it that? It seems to me that yes, we mostly call it Kubota Gardens…) on the Chief Sealth Trail.
If you’d like to do this walk, start at the Rainier Beach light rail station. Head on Henderson towards Rainier Beach, until you come to the Chief Sealth Trail (otherwise known as the Power Line Trail). Take a right and head up the hill. The signs here show a bicycle, like anyone in their right mind would want to bike up that hill! (If you’re on a bike, do yourself a favor and bike on Renton Ave. There is a bike lane there and the grade is much more sane, so you won’t die trying to get up the hill. You’ll be at Kubota in no time at all.)
I walked up the hill and enjoyed the trail, despite an encounter with a crazy woman. This was my first terror of the day. I was just walking down this one side street connecting the trail and all of a sudden I heard:
“Hey! Why did you squirt at me?!”
I looked around, saw no one, and realized the question was directed at me.
“Why would you do that? I could have lung cancer now! You can’t squirt at me like that? Do you have a daughter?! Do you have a mother?!”
I should have said, “not with me, but I do have pepper spray.” Unfortunately, I didn’t have pepper spray, which is something I ordered from Amazon as soon as I got home. You can never be too careful. Apparently, walking around the city by myself won’t always be full of bunnies and rainbows.
(For the record, even if I did have pepper spray, I would not have engaged in a confrontation with a crazy, drugged out person. Best thing to do in this kind of situation is to keep on walking and ignore them.)
That was a disorienting and upsetting occurrence… This woman was in a red Fiat, practically brand new, which is a really cute car. I’m always amazed at tweakers being able to make car payments. But then it occurred to me that maybe it wasn’t her car at all! So, if you had your red Fiat broken into, somewhere off the Chief Sealth trail, I can give you a vague description of the woman in question. She was anywhere between 22 and 55 years old (it’s hard to tell with drug addicts), white, spoke English with no detectable accent, long greasy hair. Prone to hallucinations about being squirted at.
Anyways, that wasn’t fun. But I kept walking.
I got to the Kubota Gardens and it was very nice. It’s a Japanese style garden, originally designed and built in the 1930’s by a Japanese-American, Fujitaro Kubota. I love it, because unlike the Japanese Gardens at the Arboretum, it’s completely free to get in. It’s run by a non-profit organization, the Kubota Garden Foundation. They’re always improving the garden and they provide free guided tours. You can call them at 206.725.5060 if you’d like a free tour. Personally, I can’t go on tours, because I get extremely antsy. I usually can’t help myself and I walk away from them.
You can also make donations to the Kubota Garden Foundation. Their address is:
10915 51st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98178-2160
This place is one where you can get easily lost in. There are lots of paths and little bridges criss crossing streams. Legend has it, it’s also haunted.
This is the haunted bridge, I think. It’s very tranquil and beautiful and I wish I had encountered a ghost at this point, but instead it was time for my second horror of the day. I was looking around and I saw a large animal, which I assumed was a big squirrel and I was about to take a picture of it…
But then I didn’t, because I realized that was no squirrel! It was a giant rat! I suppose that squirrels are also like rats, but with bushy tails. Really, that tail makes all the difference.
I don’t have a picture of that nasty thing, but here’s a consolation prize: a picture of a turtle.
The garden is very nice (even though there are rats there… Apparently, we’re having a rat epidemic in Seattle due to the tunnel drilling downtown. The rats that have occupied the area underneath the city are now resurfacing. Gross…). There are lots of manicured green lawns.
Gazebos and shelters.
And yes, Kubota Garden is suppose to be one of the most haunted places in Washington State. It’s no joke. There is even a Facebook page devoted to the ghosts of Kubota Gardens.
All kinds of little bridges. All haunted.
And signs I wouldn’t be able to read.
- This Walk: 5.2 miles
- Elevation Gain: 406 ft
- YTD “Urban Hiking Miles”: 80.8
- YTD Biking Miles: 602.8
- YTD Hiking Miles: 36.8