Sunday, January 26, 2014

Golden Gardens

I'm not sure if I headed for Golden Gardens Friday afternoon more because I desperately needed exercise after a day spent split between the car, meetings in Olympia, and my desk, or simply because I just wanted to watch the sun set over the Sound. Either excuse seemed pretty good.

I walked the beach, trying to make sense of all of the drainage patterns and the swash bars and the gravel bands and the confusing relationship between the beavers and the wetlands at the north end.  Then I jogged my way up the steps to the top of the bluff (my FitBit said 30 floors, which is probably about right) before wandering back down to the car and heading home.

One of the attractions of Golden Gardens is the trains.  And in honor of all the press recently about the expanded role of trains as virtual pipelines for North Dakota crude oil, I took a picture of a some shiny new tank cars rolling past.


We decided to return the way we came, back around the south end of the Olympics via Aberdeen and the I-5 corridor, but first we drove north to Kalaloch for a late lunch.  What a beautiful day!  I ran down to the beach and clambered over the logs to take a few pictures while M hung out and read her book.

It took almost exactly three hours, including a stop at the Aberdeen Starbucks, to get back to Wallingford.

Lake Quinault

We came out here a couple of times when D was much younger, but we figured this was our first trip back in 8-9 years. This was an xmas gift from M and a wonderful one. It's nice to get away form house chores and weekend routines. Of course, M probably hoped it would get us away from football, too, but no such luck. I watched the Seahawks beat the Forty Niners along with 20 other fans in ballroom, while M started the train puzzle in the main fireplace room. The train puzzle kept us around even after we'd checked out on Monday, but we never quite finished it. But we came awfully close.

We were treated to foggy mornings and afternoon clearing. A nice combination for hanging out and not doing too much, which was exactly the idea.


We spent the long weekend on the west side of the Olympics. On Saturday, we swung by Seabrook to check in on J&R and family, who had arrived the day before.  We didn't stay long, but long enough to get a sense of this new community that has spring up almost over night (well, it was only a few years ago that I was last out here and it was almost all forest and the development was just a glimmer in a few peoples' eyes).  This left a lot of grist for debate among a family that includes an architect, a land use attorney, and an environmental geologist! We had plenty of mixed reactions.

(Top photo was taken by JK)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Eagle Landing

I've been wanting to visit Seahurst Park to see how the big beach project was going, but just haven't had the time or the opportunity. But I decided to swing by briefly on the way back from morning meetings in Olympia today.  I knew access would be tricky unless I had a formal visit set up (and my hard hat), since the park is closed for the duration, so I decided to come in from Eagle Landing and hoof it the half mile down the beach to Seahurst (see Gravel Beach).

Normally, Olympia days are bad days for exercise, unless driving 100 miles and stopping for coffee both ways counts.  But this relatively new Burien Park (Eagle Landing) has become a feature of local stair climbing guidebooks - and getting back to the car provided me some much needed lunchtime exercise.

The Eagle is by local carver Galen Willis.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

West Seattle

Predictions of a very high tide drew me to Alki early last Sunday morning.  The tides ended up less than spectacular, but it got me out to the beach early on a chilly morning, which is always a good thing.  The city looked great against the brightening eastern sky.

Volunteer Park

Sometime, a few days after Christmas, M and I wandered over to Capitol Hill to explore Volunteer Park and Elliott Bay Books.

We'd been to the water tower more recently, but I don't think we'd been to the Conservatory in decades. It was a pleasant distraction from the cool December weather outside.


I've sort of fallen behind, what with the holidays and work and house projects. These shots were from a walk down to Gasworks on the day after Christmas.  Gasworks remains one of my favorite views of downtown and just a wonderful reinterpretation of an once very different industrial landscape.

A search of the blog for gasworks would turn up a bunch of past posts, I suspect. This place lends itself to pictures.

Green Lake

This is one of a series of posts from local landmarks that accumulated over the holidays.

Green Lake is close by and a great place to go for some exercise or simply to get away the house. Walking briskly, I can walk around the lake from our house in just under an hour.  Rain or shine, night or day.  The Aquatheater offers some vertical to offset the relentless flat of the loop around the lake.  And will probably be the subject of a post itself sometime in the next few months -- too much history to go unremarked.

The lake is urban - and I think I've read that this the most visited park in Washington - although that counts neighbors like me and a thousand young families with jogging strollers for whom the lake is a routine.  At the same time, the Olmsted legacy creates a natural feel and the City has done a nice job of preserving segments of ecologically intact shoreline. Occasionally, a bald eagle adds some excitement to the dull domesticated lives of the ducks and squirrels.