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Meadowdale County Park - February 2008

By Dan Paquette

From the parking lot (elevation ~450 feet) follow the only trail as it winds its way 1.25 miles down to the beach. The picnic tables along side the trail are recessed into the vegetation. Note the presence of some cherry wood, probably Prunus emarginata (Pojar: p. 48) with its numerous horizontally oriented lenticels.

Down into the ravine we pass spindly hemlocks and ten foot red huckleberry shrubs situated under the tooth picks of Douglas firs. The green sails on the lean, tall, masted Douglas Firs become exceedingly noisy, angry, unsettled with strong wind gusts. Many of the big leaf maples mimic the tall, sleek reach of the Douglas Firs. At the bottom of a number of stairs and end of a switchback, look at the bark of the Acer macrophyllum (Big Leaf Maple). There are perhaps a dozen moss species. There’s one at about 6 feet which is a small patch of darker green, just to the left of a gully in the bark, the moss clearly showing a series of flat, frond-like layers. Close inspection will show oblong leaves with a wavy appearance and small flagellate leaf branches. This is Metaneckera menziesii (p. 464). Note the striking differences in the Pojar photo and this atypical clump.

Further down, we encounter a detour where the creek, encouraged by developers and the increase in impermeable surfaces have eroded away the trail –just as neighbors in the area had predicted to city council. We also pass by a number of fluted cedar trunks with young hemlock on top as if they were birthday candles. After the trail flattens out with a very gradual decline to the Sound,, there are large areas of alder, salmonberry, piggy-back plant habitat. Along the trail grow a small loose colony of Sambucus racemosa (Red Elderberry, p. 70) idealized branches in broad brush strokes, nodes where the brush hesitates, changes direction; where the rubber tip presses at the base of the tooth.

As we get nearer to the beach, more colonies of the filamentous green algae, Trentapohlia can be seen growing on the main stems of Alnus rubra (Red Alder, p. 44). The coloring of the algae is actually more of a tan. The coloring is due to Bcarotene in the filaments. At 60 power under a dissecting microscope, it looks a little like the stringy portion in the middle of a squash. The trail forks just before the beach. Restrooms and rangers are available on the left fork. The beach is to the right.

To reach Meadowdale County Park, take I-5 to the 164th street exit in South Snohomish County. Drive 164th Street westward. When you are within 2 ¼ miles of the Sound, you'll climb to over 600 feet, then curve down a hill; the road becomes 168th Street and then you cross Aurora Avenue. A few blocks later, turn right onto 52nd Avenue, then a left onto 160th Street, a right onto 56th Avenue, and a left onto 156th Street which dead ends at the parking lot.

Updated: July 3, 2016
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