I see more signs of people along the river downstream from Flaming Geyser State Park. The river runs through backyards and farmers’ fields, and a few people wave when they see me swimming. I stop to talk with one group sitting in chairs on a gravel bar, they’re surprised to hear my Swim Duwamish story.
Most of the people that I talk to along the river know their favorite places well, but they don’t know areas further upstream or downstream. A fisherman and a swimmer that I met both said they come to the river a lot, but only near where they live. They don’t feel connected to the mountain headwaters and they really don’t feel connected to the polluted and developed Lower Duwamish.
There are some fantastic areas along Green Valley Road where King County has acquired land for the Green River Natural Area. Metzler Park has about 20 parking spaces and is a short walk from a beautiful swimming hole. There are huge “gallery” cottonwoods and maples along the river that look to be at least 100 feet tall. I didn’t know such a place existed in this small agricultural valley. It’s one of the rare easy access points in this part of the river.
It’s a change to be out of the fast water, bedrock, and boulders of the areas upstream. I know the river changes here, and I expect to see more habitat damage caused by people. Yet I’ve gotten so attached to the river that I’m not eager for such sights. There is good and bad ahead, and I’m in this swim to see everything. I’m all in.