Archive for the ‘urban hiking’ Category

In Love with Autumn

October 30, 2017

I’ve been taking many walks, marveling at the fall colors and the dazzling sunshine or the morning fog that casts a mood to the day.  I keep thinking to myself this is the best autumn ever, the leaf colors more vibrant than what I’ve seen in the past.  Then, today, I went through autumn photos I have taken this year and from years past.  I have come to the conclusion that every autumn is beautiful even though I want to say this year is the best.

I took the photos below at Green Lake yesterday:

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As I walk around admiring the colors of the season, the special slant of the sun’s rays, and the fresh smell in the air, so particular to this time of year, I can’t help thinking about the coming of the shorter, darker days, the long cold nights and days approaching, and the imminent days of endless rain in Seattle.  And so I cling to the drops of sunshine, the cool air that feels so good on my skin, and the richness of the colors of the leaves.

There’s so much beauty as the trees shed their leaves.  I bring out my fall and winter clothing, pull out my sweaters which, once again, look and feel brand new.  The weight of the fabrics and the coziness of a simple scarf wrapped loosely around my neck give me comfort that no other season’s clothing offers.

Below are other favorite autumn photos I have taken, some recent, some from a few years ago. I have also included two poems found on line that speak to the season.

Even if the first photo below has the electric wire in it, I still like how the trees appear torched by the sun.

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I like the images in this rhyming poem:

Autumn’s Majesty

© Patricia L. Cisco

Sun with his artistic touch,
streaks skies of blue with rosy blush,
trimming Oak and Maple too,
crimson reds with yellow hue.

Birch and Hemlock, purple and gold,
apples, pumpkins bright and bold,
burns by day and cools by night,
cloaking trees in fiery might.

Wispy winds and tumbling leaves,
cypress scents within the breeze,
starry eves and harvest moon,
sets the stage for crickets’ tune.

As spiders spin their tapestry
and crickets sing in symphony,
their final song of destiny,
it’s clear for all the world to see,
Autumn’s vibrant majesty!

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Below: “spider’s tapestry”  I took the next three photos by shooting up at the sun through the spider web.
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Yes, selfies:
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Sing To Me, Autumn

© Patricia L. Cisco

Sing to me, Autumn, with the rustle of your leaves.
Breathe on me your spicy scents that flow within your breeze.

Dance with me, Autumn, your waltz that bends the boughs of trees.
Now tell me all the secrets you’ve whispered to the seas.

Sleep with me, Autumn, beneath your starlit skies.
Let your yellow harvest moon shimmer in our eyes.

Kiss me, Autumn, with your enchanting spellbound ways
That changes all you touch into crimson golden days.

Love me, Autumn, and behold this love so true
That I’ll be waiting faithfully each year to be with you.

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Seattle’s Cool Hood

August 5, 2017

Can’t believe that after living in Seattle for 26 years, I finally got around to visiting Georgetown, Seattle’s oldest neighborhood.  I went there one afternoon and evening in July to enjoy and explore this part of the city with a group of friends/yoginis.  Miriam, a long time resident of the neighborhood and lover of history and neighborhood lore, showed us around.  She did a great job of bringing the past to life, of showing us how resilient a neighborhood can be, and showing us how vibrant the neighborhood is today.

Our walking tour with Miriam coincided with the annual Georgetown Garden Walk, which is always held the second Sunday in July.  Mark your calendars now for next year’s garden walk.  Or better, yet, perhaps Miriam will begin taking groups on private tours, like she did for us.  She is remarkable.  Our trip was extraordinarily precious because afterwards we went over to Annette’s house for a great potluck dinner in her back garden. The hydrangea blooms were at their peak and we enjoyed a wonderful evening together.

Annette's hydrangeas in full bloom.

Annette’s hydrangeas in full bloom.

We walked the neighborhood and saw so many gardens, so creative and artistic in nature.  Many of the original houses used to have (and some still do) an extra lot used for gardening.  The land was rich and attracted farmers long ago.  The streets were formed by following the original flow of the Duwamish River, whose course used to curve throughout the neighborhood. You can still trace the curved streets of Georgetown in S Front Street, S Fidalgo Street, and S River Street.

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I mentioned above that you can trace the old course of the Duwamish River by following the curvy roads.  In 1913, work began on straightening the river! The idea was that a straighter, deeper river would make it easier for ships to navigate the area.  The city planners envisioned more industry on the reclaimed area and they wanted to control the flooding often experienced by the meandering and curved Duwamish. You can read more about the straightening of the Duwamish on this link.

Today the Duwamish is a straight river.  Perhaps that is what makes Oxbow Park so special.  Oxbow Park sits in the heart of Georgetown.  “Oxbow” refers to a U-shaped bend in the course of a river.  Right where the park sits was an oxbow of the Duwamish.  The park is also known for its Hat ‘n’ Boots.  The two photos below were taken by MJ.  The boots and hat were originally part of a 1953 Western-themed gas station, located in Georgetown.  The light blue boot was a ladies’ restroom and the darker blue was a men’s restroom. The hat was the office, where you’d go in and pay for your gas.  The gas station was wildly popular and became the busiest gas station in the state of Washington.  When Interstate-5 was built in the 60s, it cut right across Georgetown and diverted traffic away from the gas station.  The gas station could not sustain itself and went out of business.  The hat and boots were eventually moved to Oxbow Park.

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I found this information about Oxbow Park.  I love the bit about Elvis visiting the original gas station in 1962:

Oxbow Park is located in the heart of historic Georgetown. In 1953, Seattle artist Lewis Nasmyth was hired to “rustle up” a design for a western-style gas station in Georgetown. Featuring a 44-ft. wide cowboy hat and 22-ft. high boots, the Hat n’ Boots opened the next year to a stampede of customers. In fact, for a time it was the biggest selling station in the state. Legend has it even Elvis dropped by when he was in town during the World’s Fair in ’62. But in the early 60’s, a brand new interstate, I-5, cut a swath through the neighborhood and started diverting traffic away from the station. By the late 80’s it pretty much looked like trail’s end for the Hat n’ Boots. That’s when some Georgetown residents saddled up to rescue the soul of their community. “The Hat n’ Boots is as important to Georgetown as the Golden Gate Bridge is to San Francisco,” says Allan Phillips, former director of the Georgetown Community Council. “If the Hat n’ Boots were ever to be gone from Georgetown, it would be like losing our soul.”

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Georgetown is replete with murals (see above), saloons, bars, breweries (the original Rainier Brewery, built in 1882 and once the sixth largest brewery in the world), coffee houses, bakeries, restaurants, Fran’s Chocolates (retail, production, and viewing tours all right in Georgetown) and a haunted castle!

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Well, the Georgetown “castle” is actually a Victorian-style house, deemed a castle when it was built in 1903.  Eventually, the house fell into disrepair and was recently completely renovated.  It is beautiful!  Miriam told us some juicy stories about the original residents of the castle.  I have included some information I found on line about the “castle”.  It is said to be haunted and is part of the Georgetown Haunted House Tour.  The tour might be a fun one to do around Halloween.

The Georgetown “Castle” is located in an old industrial, red light district of Seattle, WA. A large 3 story, turn of the century, Victorian style home, was reportedly built in 1903 by Peter Gessner, who was a gambler and blackjack dealer at the famous Central Tavern in Seattle’s Pioneer Square District. More…Having trouble with the local authorities for running “questionable” gambling and prostitution activities, he decided to move his operations farther out of town, to avoid too much unwanted attention, turning the home into an infamous brothel and gambling parlor. He died a gruesome death one year later, committing suicide in the house by drinking carbolic acid.

The home was then purchased around 1912 by Dr. Willis H. Corson who was a former superintendent and head coroner of the King County Hospital, located close by. This hospital and it’s grounds, which at the time surrounded the house, served as the county poor house and tent city for tuberculosis patients, as well as a crematorium that was used to burn the bodies.

Having heard stories about the infamous Georgetown Castle, yet never actually seeing it, I was surprise to find that it was nothing close to a castle. Just a large 3 story Victorian that sat just off the street in a somewhat run down residential neighborhood of south Seattle The view of the house was skewed by trees and unkempt vegetation. The only thing you could see from the street was the large dark tower looming from out of the trees. In a poor state of disrepair, the house was covered with nearly a century’s worth of peeling and cracked pink paint and loose siding. Beyond a short, rusty, chain link fence, the front porch leaned slightly to one side. Our first gut impressions were that this place is totally haunted.

full article on Ghost Hunt

And the grand finale was the potluck dinner at Annette’s house. It was a pretty magical evening. The day had been hot and the evening was comfortably cool, the food absolutely delicious, the company and conversation lively, the setting so comfortable and beautiful.

Carol's dessert....

Carol’s dessert….

devoured!

devoured!

Autumn 秋

October 6, 2016

Autumn

Can’t believe this is our backyard!  Our condo sits looking at this beautiful park.  Rick and I still take a deep breath in every time we open the door to our condo and say, “God, I can’t believe we live here!”

Photos from this evening’s walk around Green Lake.

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Green in the Heart of the City

May 22, 2016

I never tire of walking around Green Lake. The light differs every time I am there and last Monday, as I walked the 2.8 mile trail, the lake looked greener than ever.

With the light different every single day, who can ever tire of walking around Green Lake?

With the light different every single day, who can ever tire of walking around Green Lake?

Wild Yellow Iris in Full Bloom I have been watching these irises come up year after year and they are always pleasing to the eye!

Wild Yellow Iris in Full Bloom I have been watching these irises come up year after year and they are always pleasing to the eye!

Green Lake was named in 1855 by David Phillips, who was probably struck by the lake’s dark green color.  Even back in 1855, when the lake had plenty of surface inflow and outflow from the now dried up Ravenna Creek, the lake’s natural state was prone to algae blooms.

The Duwamish had a name for the lake: dxWTLusH.  It’s a Lushootseed word and no one knows what it means.  My guess would be the Lushootseed name might have something to do with “green” or maybe it is a native word for “yellow iris”.  I found the word on line and really would like to hear it pronounced.  I can’t even begin to imagine what it sounds like.

Green Lake used to drain into Lake Washington via the Ravenna Creek.  After the water level was lowered by 7 feet and park lands created, the Ravenna Creek dried up.  In fact, lovely Ravenna Boulevard and its grassy median sit on top of the old creek bed. (A link for old survey maps and Green Lake Watershed is at the end of this blog).

Clean Lines of Lake and Dock

Clean Lines of Lake and Dock

Lost Shoes

Lost Shoes on Bench

Mamma Goose and her babies

Mamma Goose, her babies, and blossom-littered grass

Lake, Iris, and Reed Grass

Lake, Iris, and Reed Grass (straight reeds go curly in disturbed water reflection)

Green Lake Trees

Green Lake Trees

Old Survey Maps and Green Lake Watershed: VIEW

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West Seattle Urban Hike

April 18, 2014

Spring is in full bloom in Seattle. Last Friday, I went on a 10 km urban walk with Rick, Don, Jack, and Annie-the-terrier.  We met at Don and Simone’s where we lingered as we admired their garden and their urban chickens. Simone has the greenest thumb of anyone I know and her garden is graced with the most beautiful tulips.

I have put this 3 minute slideshow together, so you can delight in the colors of spring and get a feel for our 10 km walk in West Seattle.  Turn up your speakers and enjoy!

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Seattle Saunter around Lake Union

March 1, 2014

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Perhaps our pace was quicker than a saunter, but “Seattle Saunter around Lake Union”, the title of this post, sure does have a good ring to it.   Rick, Jack, Don, Simone, sweet Annie-the-terrier, and I went on a 9 mile walk around Lake Union today.  It was the first time the three guys reunited since last October’s trek in the Himalayas.

It must be in the 50s today and feels like spring.  I have to keep reminding myself that the cold weather is coming back and we still might see some snow before Old Man Winter says goodbye for the season.  It was wonderful to feel the warmth of the sun on my face and to admire bridges, houseboats, and the many pocket parks along Lake Union. For those of you living in Seattle, I hope you got to go out and bask in this oddly warm and sunny February day!

Enjoy the photos below:

Bridge and Houseboats

Bridge and Houseboats

Colorful Reflections

Color and Reflections

Old Remnants of Train Tracks along Lake Union

Old Remnants of Train Tracks along Lake Union

Himalayan Adventurers' Reunion:  Jack, Don, and Rick, plus Annie

Himalayan Adventurers’ Reunion: Jack, Don, and Rick, plus Annie

Seattle MOHAI, Museum of History and Industry:  new location on Lake Union. Industry.

The MOHAI, Museum of History and Industry: new location on Lake Union.

Himalayan adventurists, plus Simone, Annie, and Fran

Himalayan adventurists, plus Simone, Annie, and Fran

Taking a rest at one of the pocket parks on Lake Union.

Taking a rest at one of the pocket parks on Lake Union.

bare branches form a screen and interesting view

bare branches form a screen and interesting view


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