By Doug Nelson
Community Center Manager
Summer is almost over, but you don’t have to stop enjoying the outdoors when school starts back up again. We are blessed in the Northwest with summertime weather that often extends into September and October. Cool and pleasant temperatures to begin and end the day allow us to find adventure without the extreme heat of summer. Fall is one of my favorite times to go “adventuring” in the great northwest. Hopefully some of my ideas and tips will encourage you to get out and play!
You don’t have to travel out of Federal Way to experience some of the best mountain bike trails in the South Puget Sound. Dash Point State Park has nearly 10 miles of soft, forested single-track trail. With several entry points for parking, (some free, some fee) trail users can easily access beginning, intermediate and advanced options. Don’t worry if you are brand new to mountain biking; if you encounter a section of trail that looks too difficult just throw your bike on your shoulder or walk it through until it is safe to get going again. You can find a trail map posted at most entry points or along the trail, or if you want a copy of your own pick one up at Phil’s Bike Shop in Twin Lakes. Always remember to wear good protective gear, including a helmet, bring a bottle of water or two, a quick snack in case you get hungry, and a cell phone for emergencies.
To celebrate the beginning of the collegiate and professional football season why not gather family, friends or neighbors for a friendly game of two-hand-touch football? This has become a fall tradition for me and my friends. Pick any given Saturday or Sunday and you are likely to find an empty football field at a school or playground. Keep the rules pretty light, make sure the teams are evenly matched, and let all ages play. Be sure to warm up and stretch out before playing to prevent injuries, aches and pains. Take plenty of water (tension) breaks, and this can be a very exciting and fun activity for everyone.
Camping in the early fall is another great northwest pursuit. You are likely to find the campsites less crowded and easier to reserve than in the summertime. Fewer people means you and your family have easy access to the beaches, hikes, bike trails, and other natural amenities that campsites have to offer. And, as I mentioned earlier, you are likely to experience warm days and cool evenings to make bed-time temperatures more tolerable. Cap off your adventure-filled day with an evening campfire!
Lastly, there are many great charity events during the fall season. Enter a walk, run, or bike ride and you will be motivated to get in shape for the event. Better yet, your entry fee or pledges will help support a good cause. Now if that doesn’t make you feel healthy and well, nothing will! J