Chambers Bay brings to mind the US Open Golf Tournament – at least to us locally – which was played there in 2015. I’m not much of a golfer but my husband is so we watched the TV coverage of the event. I remember at the time some of the golfers complained about the course; that it was bumpy, and didn’t have the smooth variety of grass they were accustomed to. (One said it was like playing on broccoli.) I thought it was rather strange-looking myself at the time and not representative of the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, nor similar to the greens I’d seen at other courses. Even so, we finally visited Chambers Bay last weekend when we were looking for someplace new to walk and surprisingly, we loved it!
In addition to the golf course at Chambers Bay, there’s also a park with wide paved trails that wind around the course, through patches of woods and along the saltwater shoreline, with wonderful views of the mountains and Puget Sound. There are also wide open spaces and towering old structures – relics from another era when the area was a sand and gravel quarry. According to the Washington Post, “For 100 years starting in 1902, sand and gravel — formed by the outwashes of prehistoric rivers flowing out of Ice Age glaciers — was loaded onto barges in Puget Sound or onto hopper rail cars on the shore and sent all over the Pacific Northwest for construction projects.” In 2002 the abandoned quarry became a highly regarded public golf course, and was awarded the US Open.
We traveled the 45 minutes south to University Place near Tacoma under sunshine and clear skies. Though a bit chilly, it was a perfect day for a walk. There are a couple of different paths you can take in the park depending on how much of a hill climb you want. We decided to take the Loop Trail which included the hills, but was still an easy walk of 3.25 miles. We started at the top overlooking the course and found the golden colors striking against the deep blue of Puget Sound. Not the typical dark green grass you expect on a golf course, but apparently easier to maintain. We headed down and around the golf course and through the woods toward the shoreline.
We stopped near the bottom to watch the golfers, and also to watch out for ourselves, their high-flying golf balls overhead, just as the sign warned.
As we reached the bottom we realized what the structure was that we’d seen from the top: an overpass to the beach, crossing over the railroad tracks. We didn’t descend the steps to the beach like many did with their children and dogs. One ‘parent’ carried his scared dog over the bridge and released him to run free on the beach below.
We walked to the end of the overpass where it jutted out over the water, and had nice views of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to the north.
Further up the Trail we came across many interesting structures from the earlier quarry days – like walking through ancient Greece I thought.
We continued on the Loop Trail and back up the hill getting our exercise for the day before heading out to lunch. We’d found another new place to walk and promised ourselves we’d be back.