Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Lincon Park

We spent a few hours on a sunny Sunday walking around West Seattle. After exploring the Dragonfly on lower Longfellow Creek, we drove down towards Fauntleroy and Lincoln Park. We parked high on the hill and then walked down through Solstice Park and then through the north end of Lincoln Park all the way to the beach.

The north beach was in the shade but the south beach was sunny -- and crowded, at least for the last day of winter. But then we had to pay the price for our long walk down the hill -- it seemed like an awful long way back up the Thistle Stairs to California Avenue SW.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Longfellow Creek

Longfellow Creek drains the eastern portions of West Seattle. The western side drains straight to the Sound, while Longfellow flows to the tide flats below Pigeon Point, or it once did, since now it must follow a pretty tortuous path out to the Duwamish. But upstream the neighborhoods have been hard at work restoring the creek and building trails and parks.

The Dragonfly Pavillion is a wonderful piece of public art - a metal sculpture perched over a larger concrete rimmed garden also shaped like a dragonfly. And it looks down over the valley of the creek - the section between the West Seattle Golf Course and the Nucor Steel Plant. But you'd never know, walking along the trail and across the Salmon Bone Bridge among the trees.

Both the dragonfly and the bridge are by Lorna Jordan.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Seattle Waterfront

The upgrade of Seattle's waterfront is well underway. The seawall construction has been working its way north - it's now complete from the south end north past the aquarium and the activity is centered on Piers 62/63. This is one of my favorite spots in Seattle - sort of a big open deck looking out on the Sound and the Olympics - although it was completely closed off for the construction and one of these pictures shows it. I think they're planning to capitalize on this space when the larger waterfront project happens in a few years.

South of the aquarium, the viaduct still dominates the waterfront, but Bertha will emerge later this spring (we hope) near Seattle Center, and once the new tunnel is done, the viaduct will be history. That will set the stage for the re-imagined waterfront. There will still be a major boulevard, but I think folks will be amazed how much nicer the area will be with the concrete edifice removed.

There's already some neat work going on to open up the side of the Market that faces the water - and a lot more stuff to come. Although I suppose it will still be many years.

Sculpture Park

It's been a gray winter - grayer and damper than usual. But the first Saturday of March was nice and after my first cup of coffee, I headed down to the waterfront. I hadn't visited the Sculpture Park in a long time and it was a great reminder of what a neat space it is.

After a long walk along the waterfront itself (next post), I walked up through the Pike Place Market and back on 1st Avenue. My second cup of coffee of the day was at Drip City, where I had parked my car. I was home by noon.

Thornton Creek

Another post from that gray Saturday at the end of February.

Much of northeast Seattle used to drain through Thornton Creek. Much of it still does, though Seattle's stormwater system probably takes a bulk of the flow. The creek, which has two main branches and a couple of much smaller tributaries, winds through neighborhoods, small parks, and backyards on its way from its headwaters west of I-5 down to Lake Washington at Matthews Beach.

Sometime I'll explore it a little more systematically, but so far my visits have been pretty scattered. I think I'm getting to know the access points pretty well, but I keep discovering new things.

These pictures include the underside of the 15th Avenue bridge - just east of Northgate - and the recently restored Kingfisher Natural Area just above Lake City Way. These are all on the south branch of Thornton Creek.

Howarth Park

This last Saturday in February was supposed to be nice - gray, but no rain. From the coffee shop, it looked okay to the north. But it was snowing by the time I hit the convergence zone between Lynnwood and Everett.

Howarth Park is on the shore just south of Everett. A overpass gets you across the railroad tracks and down to the beach, where a lot of work was done last year (and one of the reasons I wanted to check it out today).

I had the beach almost to myself - not surprising given the conditions. A long unit coal train worked its way north, one leg in a trip that probably began in the Powder River Basin and will end somewhere on the western side of the Pacific. I think this stuff is loaded on ships up in Vancouver, either at Roberts Bank or on Burrard Inlet.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

False Creek

We remember False Creek from Expo back in 1986. Since then, much of the surrounding area has been transformed, although a few big vacant parcels still remain. Creekside is the new development that began with the 2010 Olympic Village, at the southeast corner of the now-tamed estuary.

I like the shoreline along here and have mentioned it elsewhere, but the development itself left us uninspired -- and listening to the spiel at the Presentation Center didn't change that. Not that we we had any real interest to start with.

False Creek: October 2011
Vancouver: August 2010
And on Gravel Beach:
Creekside: October 2011

There's an Earnest Ice Cream on 2nd, which was good in a Molly Moon's sort of way. Interesting flavors and good ingredients, but expensive. Based on limited experience, I would suggest that the best ice cream in Vancouver is still gelato (several options), but probably important to keep checking out more places!

West Vancouver

West Vancouver stretches along the shore west of the Lion's Gate Bridge and the Capilano River. It also creeps up the mountainside from the water, eventually stopping against a wall of forest. The main highway - the one that goes up to Horseshoe Bay, Howe Sound, and Whistler - contours the hillside and bypasses the community. Marine Drive, on the other hand, winds closer to the shoreline, from the bridge, past the mall, through the business districts of Ambleside and Dundarave, then on through wealthy shoreside neighborhoods and Lighthouse Park.

We drove out to Dundarave, where we walked down to the beach and around the neighborhood, then headed west so I could check out Stearman Beach. Then it was back to Stanley Park and the city.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Stanley Park

We stayed at the Metropolitan, just like last year. Despite the last minute decision to go, we found a good rate for Saturday and Sunday night. And, of course, it's Canadian money, so it goes a bit farther.

Not surprisingly, food sort of narrated our trip. Four Winds Brewery in Delta, with friends, for lunch on Saturday. Scoozie's for dinner. And the Canada Line to Yaletown so I could try liquid nitrogen-enabled instant ice cream (overrated). Then Cafe Medina the next morning. Earnest Ice Cream later. Maenam in Kitsilano for dinner. And then Forage on Robson on Monday morning. Coffee at 49th Parallel and Donuts at Cartem's on Main Street on the way out of town.

Most of our exploration was on Sunday. It was too chilly to ride bikes (at least for us) in Stanley Park, although the weather was nice (especially compared to the rain we got on this trip last year). We drove around the park - with a detour across the Lion's Gate to West Vancouver in the middle - stopping here and there to walk. When I lingered too long at the beach, M retreated to her book.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Whatcom County

Some days at work are just beautiful. Four of us spent a very cold Tuesday visiting several sites north of Bellingham. The wind was bringing bitter air down the Fraser Valley, which pretty much just aims at northern Whatcom County (just as the river itself did, back during the waning stages of the last ice age). It wasn't North Dakota cold, or Sugarloaf cold, but definitely chilly by western Washington standards.

The first shot is across the north end of Bellingham Bay, most are from Cherry Point, and the last is from the tip of Semiahmoo Spit, a long stone's throw from Canada.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Green Lake

It's been a cold week, at least by Seattle standards. And several days of weather in the 20s is all it takes for the lakes to begin to respond. It's been a while since I've seen Green Lake with this much ice on it (although I still recall the whole lake safely frozen over in 1983 and/or 1984, when I first arrived in this neighborhood).

The ice was pretty thick here at the south end so it probably wasn't too crazy for folks to be walking on it. At least those who had some idea of what to they were doing. But some of the people checking it out were treating it the way that some people tromp around in the snow for the first time. I'm not sure they had any clue of the consequences of getting it wrong!