Sunday, October 17, 2010

Memorial Field

I suspect I've watched more high school football in the last few weeks than I've watched in my entire life. It's quite the contrast to all those years of scholastic chess tournaments!

Seattle high schools play most of their home games here at Seattle Center's Memorial Field. The Space Needle sort of stands guard, creating an impressive backdrop to what are usually fairly empty stands (these urban schools have neither the budget nor the fan base of their suburban rivals).

The pictures come from at least two different games. D has been getting some playing time, which is neat for him, though maybe not so much for his mother. Garfield is doing better than we hear they have in the past. This year they beat both Roosevelt and Ballard!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


It was a bleak day in Tacoma, with gray weather alternating with drizzle all day long. When visibility and contrast are low, the scenery tends to be in the details.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Camano Island

Michele I spent September 11th on Camano Island. I had been asked to speak about the Island's shorelines and sea level rise at the Camano Honors Earth event (sponsored by CARE). It turned out to be a fun convergence of people we both knew in our own fairly different worlds.

The event was held at Karla Matzke's Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park. We loved Debbi Rhodes' neat sculptures chosen for the new Camano bridge. Trees from one direction, they transform into animals (heron, eagle, orca, salmon) in the other. I wonder how they will choose to orient them when they install them at each end of the bridge.

Barbara de Pirro's installations were incredible. It seems like there's lots of art being made out of recycled objects, but she's managed to use everyday castoffs to create something truly organic and beautiful. It has the same compelling relationship to the natural landscape as Andy Goldsworthy's work, but with a neat twist. I'll have to look for more of her projects.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


After Campobello, I headed south. I hiked out to the sea cliffs at Cutler, had a haddock sandwich and blueberry cream pie at Helen's in Machias, checked out Roques Bluff and Jasper Beach (pictures at Gravel Beach), and raced south, making it to Bailey Island by 8 or so for a late dinner (lobster, of course) at Cook's.

I stayed in Brunswick, had breakfast at the Little Dog on Maine Street, and wandered around the old house one more time, before heading off for Freeport and the Portland Airport. L.L. Bean isn't as over the top as Cabela's, but it certainly is a long, long way from the old days of climbing the long flight of stairs up to the old showroom above the factory. Before the Ben and Jerry's, the Starbucks, and all the high end clothing outlets.

As usual, I've got a whole bunch of coastal and beach-related posts from this trip over on my Gravel Beach site (or I will shortly).

Monday, August 30, 2010


Campobello Island is connected to Lubec by a bridge and separated by an international border. This Canadian Island has a long history, but in the first half of the 20th century, it was a summer getaway for wealthy families from big eastern cities (wealthy enough to be able to spend the entire summer in modest 20-room cottages). But it's also a fishing community and the site of the spectacular East Quoddy Lighthouse (which would have been better visited late in the day with western light, not in the glare of the morning sun).

I hadn't planned on visiting the Roosevelt Cottage, but pulled into the Visitor's Center, watched the movie, and wandered around the grounds. I found it surprisingly moving - this is where FDR grew up, learned to sail and enjoy the outdoors, and where one summer, as a young attorney and father, was stricken down with polio.

The broad, sweeping beach at Herring Cove was wonderful - I would love to come back and wander for longer.


Lubec is a little fishing town located inside the entrance to Passamaquoddy Bay. Like everything else in this part of Maine, jobs and money are scarce, but the town looks like it's having a little renaissance. It would be a nice summer place if it weren't so darned far from everything. But it sure must be desolate in the winter.

West Quoddy Head

I arrived at Cohill's Inn in Lubec fairly late, had a beer with the proprietor, and set the alarm for 5AM.

It takes only 15 minutes or so to drive out to West Quoddy Head so I still had 20-25 minutes before the sun came up. I parked, then walked down to the red and white striped lighthouse which looks eastward over the Bay of Fundy and Grand Manan Island.

This is the easternmost point in the United States. In summer months, it is the country's earliest sunrise. In the winter, when the sun rises farther south, the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia has this honor.

I explored the point in the pre-dawn light, watching lobster boats head out to check traps. A couple other guys were also waiting - sunrise at West Quoddy was their first stop on a fall road trip that was to include all 50 states. And then a six pack of very loud men showed up - I think they appreciated the sunrise, but I would have appreciated it more if they had they shut up!

The sun rose right on time and was perfect. It would be neat to race off to Portland, jump on a plane, fly to Seattle and Port Angeles, drive to Ozette, and hike out to Cape Alava for the sunset. I wonder if that can actually be done. If so, I suspect someone has done it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I grew up in Maine, but despite having visited lots of National Parks, I'm not sure when, if ever, I had been to this one in my home state. I'd been on Mount Desert Island - the end of a sailing trip with relatives in grade school - but I don't know if I saw much of the island beyond Northeast (or was it Southwest?) Harbor.

I've wanted to come here for ages, for sake of completeness, but also as an essential stop on my quest for new and interesting beaches. I spent the morning on the Precipice Trail, and then followed the Loop Road to Sand Beach, Monument Cove, Little Hunter's Beach, and then over to Seawall Beach. After a lobster roll at the Seawall Drive-In and ice cream in Southwest Harbor, I raced around to Schoodic Point, getting there just before sunset.

Champlain Mountain

My goal was to hit the road early so I could visit the main Acadia sites before the Sunday crowd got too bad. And be headed for Schoodic Point and Lubec by early afternoon.

I was at the visitor center at 8AM and the plan was looking good. But the Loop Road is one way and I felt if I passed anything by, I wasn't likely to get back. The Precipice Trail wasn't on my list, but it sounded pretty cool, I figured I needed some exercise, and even though the sign suggested three hours for the round trip, I figured I could somehow still fit everything into the day.

I did it in about two hours, with 20 minutes on top to enjoy the spectacular views of Frenchman's Bay, Cadillac Mountain, and the Atlantic. The trail climbs the cliffs and ledges, aided by steel ladders and railings, which preserve the exposure, but limit the risks. I think D would have liked this!

My little side trip meant that I spent the next few hours in the worst of the heat and the tourist crowd and meant that I wouldn't get to Lubec until late evening. It also meant that I ended up bagging the drive up Cadillac Mountain, but this trail was far more interesting than the auto road.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Bucksport was my base for two nights. My room had a view across the water of Fort Knox (not the one in Kentucky where the gold is stored) and the bridges (old and new).

The Penobscot River runs into the northern end of Penobscot Bay in a maze of islands and waterways, so I'm not sure whether to call this the river or a bay. I guess it's both.

The old bridge has been upgraded in the last few years with a new one - similar in concept but very different in design. The old one remains, but is fenced off - I wonder if the plan is to remove it, refurbish it for bikes and pedestrians, or let it gradually fall into the river? The new one was spectacular - especially at night. I didn't have time to go up to the observation deck on the top of the 400' west tower, but would have liked to.


Saturday's wedding overlooked the shore, somewhere among the tentacles of the north end of Penobscot Bay. The weather was perfect, the tide was high, the bugs were scarce.

Everyone knows that Maine and Wyoming are at opposite ends of the earth, so at first glance it seemed a strange place for a couple from Laramie to celebrate their marriage, but both have strong family roots here. And there will be another party on the slopes of the Snowy Range later in September.