Thornton Creek/Thornton Place Walk

by Cheryl Wheeler 

This is a short walking tour of one part of the Thornton Creek natural area. The Thornton Creek Watershed starts in the North Seattle College area and flows downhill to Lake Washington. This walk is just a small part of the watershed area. Our walk starts at the Northgate Community Center where you head east down Northeast 105th Street.

You pass a mural that was painted by the teen program at the community center and then you go into the Beaver Creek Natural Area, turning south at the sign. There are a few very nice plants along the path. One is a spruce tree with new buds that you can eat as a tea or make into ice cream. The next is an evergreen huckleberry bush.

After that you walk along the path some more and you see part of the Thornton Creek and a bridge. One part of the bridge has some very nice skunk cabbage plants so here are pictures of skunk cabbage flowers. You keep walking down the path and you see some salmon berries that are just starting to form little green berries. After that there are some white elderberries. This is a native plant.

You come out of the patch of trees and there’s a sign for the maple leaf P-Patch so we are going to go over there. The Maple Leaf P-Patch community garden is built on a little hill also the patches are terraced into the hill. There are some nice fruit trees in the garden so here are a picture of some fig buds. There is a very nice sage bush and some edible sow thistles that are just a weed but still tasty. The garden has some interesting art made by a local artist in 2006. The last picture of the garden is a thimbleberry plant with the flower buds just coming out.

From the P-Patch we are going west into the Thornton Place development. This art represents the flow of water. In this area we can see there is a huge biofiltration swale with a lot of plants planted to clean the water. One plant here is a red flowering currant. The interpretive signage at the park explains how biofiltration works. Another piece of art in the garden it shows the transition from dirty water to clean water through the bio filtration process. There are nice wide paths to walk along as you go southwest. All of the art in the area is supposed to show the value of cleaning water.

We have walked a loop around the whole Thornton Place area, head north, and are back at the community center.