Something big happened as I swam through schools of salmon yet again. I passed the tiny remnant of the Black River in Tukwila and entered the Duwamish River. Swim Duwamish now enters the Duwamish after months spent swimming the river’s headwaters in the Green River!
There is no plaque or other identifier for the start of the Duwamish River. Casually, I swam past the place where the Black River (and the flow of the Cedar River) used to enter the Duwamish. Now it’s a minor tributary, although its small contribution of water is brown and opaque and it muddies up the River. The Green River above this point was murky but I could still see the salmon. Entering the Duwamish, I can barely see my GoPro on the end of it’s 4 foot selfie stick. I don’t think I’ll be seeing as many salmon in the Duwamish.
The Black River was once an important place. Before it was eliminated by the lowering of Lake Washington in 1916 (with the construction of the ship canal leading to Puget Sound), the Black River was used and highly valued by local Tribes. Now it’s a small muddy inlet that feeds stormwater into the Duwamish. What little visibility I had upstream of the Black River remnant was noticeably reduced by this muddy inflow.
The Duwamish begins in Starfire Soccer Complex, the home of the Seattle Sounders soccer team. The river is hidden behind steep levees to stop flooding, so you can’t see the river from the soccer fields, and you can’t see the soccer fields from the river. This disconnect makes it harder to love the river, and harder to care about the river. I wonder how many people go to the soccer fields and don’t know there’s a river nearby?
I saw quite a few fishermen, some with quite a few pink salmon.