Swift Creek Playground

Swift Creek is for lovers.

On Saturday, we found ourselves in a slight recreation predicament:  where do you get outside when the weather threatens and when the group spans 7 decades? My father is in town visiting from Tennessee, and his struggle with Alzheimer’s comes with highs and lows. As a family, we have had to make minor adjustments to the everyday routine, and he is doing an exceptional job navigating the hurdles. He maintains a quick wit and light heart, but his legendary motivation behind 2 hour 50 minute marathons has been robbed.  We needed a family-friendly hike, close to town, that would offer something for everyone.

Adding even more to the groups’ dynamics, we were babysitting two energetic boys for the weekend: a two year old and a five year old. So…what trailhead could offer a 2 year-old AND a 70 year-old the opportunity to explore the woods? We loaded the minivan with enough snacks to seemingly survive winter, and headed to Swift Creek.

Record rainfall has left the forest dripping with moisture, and the trail corridor is saturated. On Saturday, a few large puddles remained in the tread and provided the kids with more fun obstacles to navigate. The forest floor was alive with orange, red, and white mushrooms, and fallen giants of the old-growth created nature’s playground for the kids. They climbed, crawled, and explored along the 1/2 mile of flat trail to the Swift Creek Overlook. The 2 year-old was able to walk all the way to the overlook before having to be carried the rest of the way around the family loop.

The color contrast between bright orange larch needles and dark green fir trees made for an amazing backdrop. The entire family loop is 1.3 miles and is the perfect place for youth. We all enjoyed living through the eyes of children and seeing the forest from a different perspective.They overturned stones, crawled on logs, and examined fungi; nature is truly the best classroom.

The rest of the trail system is wet, and muddy spots should be avoided. If you find yourself in a rainstorm and come a cross a clogged drain, a minute of effort with a strong stick can work wonders. A couple more trail crews will be out working before the snow flies, and the last reroute at Spencer will be finished soon. Please report back if you see any adverse conditions, especially as winter storms start creeping down to the valley floor. Thanks for reading!