Overview : This is a great hike for you to take the kids on. The trail is short and has almost no elevation change to it. It also provides a... more »
This is a great hike for you to take the kids on. The trail is short and has almost no elevation change to it. It also provides a... more » little education on how the forest and its animals work together to form an ecosystem.
You will follow Field Mouse, who is the lead character, while he takes his first hike into the forest. Along the way he will encounter several of the forest inhabitants who educate him on their jobs in the forest. As you follow along on his journey you will meet a crow, bugs, tree frog, woodpecker, beaver, and a squirrel. Each one of them will explain their role in the forest.
The story of Field Mouse would make a great short story for young kids at home as well. Included in the photos, I copied the information from the stories down. With this guide you will be able to read the story of Field Mouse and his journey any time you wish. less «
The park is located just south of Issaquah. From I-90 East, take exit 17. Head south on Front Street, which turns into... more » Issaquah-Hobart Road. Drive 4.5 miles, and then turn right onto S.E. May Valley Road. Drive 1.5 miles, and turn right into the park. There will be a large sign for the Squak Mountain State Park at the entrance.
Summer: 6:30 a.m. to dusk
Winter: 8 a.m. to dusk
The park is open year round for day use.
-There are restrooms within the park located in the
-No water is on the trail or in the parking area, bring
your own water. less «
This is the start to the Pretzel Tree Trail. From here follow the trail to learn about the forest and some of the creatures in it. There are several information markers along the trail, explaining the role of certain animals.
The Field Mouse stood at the edge of the forest.
"I have never been in the forest before", thought the Field Mouse. "It is very dark and different it is full of unfamiliar shadows. The field where I live is open and bright. Should I go in? Who lives there? What is this place? Hello? Is anyone there? Hellooo"?
"Caw! Caw!... More Caw!" came a voice from the forest.
Surprised by the sound the Field Mouse wondered. "What can be making that strange noise?"
Seeing a narrow path leading into the forest, the Field Mouse decided to follow the sound, unsure, of what he would find.
"Caw! Caw!" said the big black bird as he looked up from his chores.
"Welcome visitor, to the Pretzel Tree Trail"
"Hello, I am the Field Mouse," responded the newcomer. "What is that you are doing?"
The bird lifted his head to one side as if to better see the visitor. "I am cleaning up the forest. I ... Morepick up what other animals leave behind. That is the business of the Crow," replied the bird as he lowered his head so that his big beak was very close to the nose of the Field Mouse. "I have to remind some visitors of their forest manners.
"What can I do to make sure I have good manners?" asked the Field Mouse.
"First, all that you bring into the forest must go out with you," answered the Crow.
"Next, that which belongs in the forest must remain here.
And last, do not wander off the trail."
Satisfied, the Crow flew up and disappeared into the treetops. "Caw! Caw!
"What is a Pretzel Tree? Wondered the Field Mouse as he continued down the trail.
"Work! Move it? Termites over here? Pill Pugs over there!
The Field Mouse looked over at a tree stump and saw many insects of different shapes and sizes. They were all very busy and quickly working on and around the stump.
"How do you do? I am the Field Mouse. I am on a journey to see the Pretzel tree," the Field Mouse addressed... More the bug with the hard hat and the pick.
The tiny creature jumped from the stump and answered. "A Field Mouse on a journey! I am much too busy for such things! I am in charge of a decomposition crew! The tiny creature had to shout to be heard above the din behind him. "Our business is to take apart this giant stump and turn it into soil. A great tree will grow again from the soil." He raised his spinney arms up over his head to show the Field Mouse how the tree would grow. "We are much too busy to visit with you! We have lots of work to do" barked the Beetle.
So the field Mouse continued down the Pretzel Tree Trail.
"Wow, this is an interesting part of the forest.
These trees look different I wonder what kind they are," the Field Mouse thought aloud.
"These trees are Big-Leaf Maples" croaked a voice from above.
"Who's there?" asked the Field Mouse.
"I am the Treefrog, I know all about the trees in the forest. It's my... More business to know. I am an indicator of the health of the forest. I know when the water is clean and the air is fresh. I am among the first to know if there are enough insets to eat and shelter to protect the creatures of the forest. A healthy forest has a lot of treefrogs."
"So you must know where the Pretzel Tree is?" asked the Field Mouse.
"Of course I know where the Pretzel tree is! It is down the trail".
The Treefrog pointed with his toe.
The Field Mouse continued in that direction.
Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap.
The Field Mouse looked in the direction of the tap, tap, tapping sound. In the forest, clearing he saw a red headed bird perched on the side of a dead tree.
"Who are you?" asked the Field Mouse.
"I am the Pileated Woodpecker. I provide habitat. As I forage for food, I create places for ... Moreother animals to live. That is the Woodpecker's business," rattled the Woodpecker.
Looking at the old snag, the concerned Field Mouse asked, "That's not the pretzel Tree is it?"
"Oh, no, the Pretzel Tree is a little further down the trail."
The Pileated Woodpecker pointed in the direction with his pointed beak and the Field Mouse continued down the trail.
The Field Mouse suddenly notice a brown furry creature, it was carrying ferns and moving towards a small opening in the ground.
"How do you do? I am the Field Mouse."
"I do very well, thank you," answered the brown furry creature. "I am the Mountain Beaver, I don't often see forest visitors. I spend most of my time... More underground where I live. I come up to gather ferns and then I take them back underground. The ferns provide vitamins for the soil. The tunnels I dig for my home help the rain water reach the roots of the trees and other plants and provide air so that the forest roots can breathe. I am the forest gardener and I help the forest to grow. That is the business of the Mountain Beaver.
"I am looking for the Pretzel Tree that grows in your forest," said the Field Mouse.
"Turn around and look up to find the Pretzel Tree," the Mountain Beaver answered. He disappeared into the hole.
The Field Mouse walked down the trail until he came upon an animal with large bushy tail that was busy digging a hole at the foot of a big tree.
"Hello, I am the Field Mouse, I have seen the Pretzel Tree and now I am going home." The Field Mouse sat down on a nearby log to rest. "The forest is a very busy place."
"Yes... More the forest is a busy business. I am the Douglas Squirrel and am digging holes to plant Douglas-fir cones. Some of them I will eat later, those I miss will grow into trees. That way there will always be trees here. That is the business of the Douglas Squirrel. The Squirrel went back to digging his hole and the Field Mouse left him to his work.
The Field Mouse was nearing the end of the trail, it was time to return to his home in the field.
"Caw! Caw! Caw! He heard the Crow in the distance reminding him of his manners. He checked his pockets to make sure he didn't take anything that belongs to the forest and that he did not leave anything he brought to the forest.
The Field Mouse... More thought about his journey and the Pretzel Tree Trail. "I have learned that the forest is much more than trees. It is a community of many different plans and animals. And by each one working together, they make a home for themselves. I will return again someday to visit with my forest friends." The Field Mouse walked sown the trail and out of the forest.