Pacific coast

Pacific coast

“Men go forth to wonder at the heights of mountains,
the huge waves of the sea,
the broad flow of the rivers,
the vast compass of the ocean,
the courses of the stars,
and they pass by themselves without wondering.”
— Saint Augustine

What are we passing by?

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Westport, Washington

Westport, Washington

What is summer without at least a few days at a beach?  My husband and I took a day trip from Seattle to Westport, Washington.  The Pacific Coast is about a 3-hour drive from our home in the city.  Hours at the beach and nothing to do but watch the waves and clouds, settle down with a good book, enjoy the parade of families and dogs and surfers frolicking in the water, listen to the rhythmic pounding of the breakers and waves lapping at the shore — quintessential summer.  My husband brought back enough fish for supper.  I brought back a few patches of sunburn (yes, I burn even under cloudy skies) and a few good photos.

I do love our ocean beaches.

A patch of blue

A patch of blue

Bluff overlooking the beach at Westport

Bluff overlooking the beach at Westport

Dune path

Dune path

Seagull

Seagull

You never know what you’ll find washed up on the beach.

Sand dollar

Sand dollar

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Some views from the jetty:

Surfers, Westport, WA

Surfers, Westport, WA

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Yesterday my friend Carol and I escaped the sultry 90+ degree heat in Seattle and sat on the beach at Jetty Island in Everett.  This was an adventure of sorts, since neither of us had ever been there before.  Jetty Island is a manmade jetty, just three minutes by a little passenger ferry across the channel from the Port of Everett.  In the summer, the port runs a free 60-passenger ferry to the island.  Everett residents can make advance reservations to secure a place on the boat, but since we were not able to make reservations, Carol and I arrived early and got seats on the first crossing of the day.

The 2-mile long jetty offers plenty of sandy beach, and yesterday’s mid-day low tide exposed even more sand.  Kids and families in neon-colored bathing suits toted equally colorful shovels and buckets for a day of play on the beach.  Running was the order of the day — kids scampered from place to place — it was rare to see a child walking.  The cool breeze and salty air were refreshing antidotes to the heat of the city.

It’s no wonder that Jetty Island was the winner of the 2013 Red Tricycle Totally Awesome Award for Best Family Escape and Getaway.  Visiting Jetty Island had long been on my Summer To-Do List, and we picked a perfect day to discover this unusual place.

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“August Bank Holiday – a tune on an ice-cream cornet. A slap of sea and a tickle of sand. A fanfare of sunshades opening. A wince and whinny of bathers dancing into deceptive water. A tuck of dresses. A rolling of trousers. A compromise of paddlers. A sunburn of girls and a lark of boys. A silent hullabaloo of balloons. ”
— Dylan Thomas, from Quite Early One Morning

On the beach at Golden Gardens, Seattle

On the beach at Golden Gardens, Seattle

Kids on Rialto Beach, Olympic Peninsula

Kids on Rialto Beach, Olympic Peninsula

Diving platform, Green Lake, Seattle

Diving platform, Green Lake, Seattle

Oh, these summer days.  Dylan Thomas says “The memories of childhood have no order, and no end.”  I love how he describes the August Bank Holidays of his childhood.  How apt and evocative are his poetic words — so full of summer life.  I wish I could write like this!

 

“But most of these far walks have been taken just for the joy of walking in the free air.”
— John Finley, “Traveling Afoot,” from The Joys of Walking, ed. Edwin Valentine

“Increasingly, walking itself became a source of happiness, something to be enjoyed in its own right, bringing an intensity of experience and a sensual awareness of surroundings that grew more addictive by the miles.”
— Nick Hunt, Walking the Woods and the Water

View of downtown Seattle skyline from Alki

View of downtown Seattle skyline from Alki

At this point in my multi-day project of encircling the periphery of Seattle, I no longer questioned why I was walking these segments.  I simply enjoyed the journey.  I was especially looking forward to this day’s walk because I knew I would have Puget Sound in sight almost the entire day.  I was reminded of how beautiful Seattle’s location is, with distant mountains to the west (the Olympics) and to the east (the Cascades) and the gentle waves of Puget Sound lapping its shores.

I started my walk from the Barton Street Pea Patch at the intersection of Barton Street SW and 35th Avenue SW.

Sunflower

Sunflower

Barton Street community garden

Barton Street community garden

I followed Barton Street west and downhill to the sound.  The Fauntleroy ferry was disgorging cars and passengers.  It would have been a lovely day for a ferry ride to Vashon Island, but I stuck with my plan to walk.

Ferry to Vashon Island

Ferry to Vashon Island

Disembarking

Disembarking

I followed Fauntleroy Avenue SW to Lincoln Park, a heavily wooded space with playground, picnic tables, and below the bluff, a beach with paved walking and biking path.  Families, joggers, and dog-watchers enjoyed the beach.

Picnic table under the trees, Lincoln Park

Picnic table under the trees, Lincoln Park

 

Beach at Lincoln Park on Puget Sound

Beach at Lincoln Park on Puget Sound

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Exercising with beach rocks

Exercising with beach rocks

The Seattle grunge look -- starting early

The Seattle grunge look — starting early

Seattle is a very literary city.

Seattle is a very literary city.

From Lincoln Park I headed north on Beach Drive where I was separated from the beach by a row of waterfront residences.  As I approached Alki Beach, I discovered a set of 27 constellations embedded the sidewalk, West Seattle’s own “Avenue of the Stars.”
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Beach Drive turned into Alki Avenue.  The point here was the original landing spot of the Denny Party, Seattle’s first white settlers, in 1851.  Later they relocated across the Sound to establish Seattle on the shores of Elliott Bay.  Today the beach is one of the city’s favorite recreation spots, especially on summer days.

Blue bottle house

Blue bottle house

Alki Beach

Alki Beach

Alki has its own miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty, which commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Boy Scouts.

Alki has its own miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty, which commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Boy Scouts.

Picnic on the beach

Picnic on the beach

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Flowered house on Alki Avenue

Flowered house on Alki Avenue

Alki Avenue turned into Harbor Avenue SW and now the views over the water took in the Seattle skyline.

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Recreation and industry on Elliott Bay near downtown Seattle

Recreation and industry on Elliott Bay near downtown Seattle

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The next stretch of my walk took me away from the relaxing beachfront and back into the city’s industrial area.  Pedestrians are prohibited on the West Seattle Bridge, but I had access to a nice bike trail across Harbor Island on an older, lower bridge.  I passed over the Duwamish River, and Mount Rainier gleamed hugely and whitely on the horizon.

Bike path along the lower bridge

Bike path along the lower bridge

Under the West Seattle Bridge

Under the West Seattle Bridge

Duwamish River with Mount Rainier

Duwamish River with Mount Rainier

Duwamish River looking toward downtown Seattle

Duwamish River looking toward downtown Seattle

My final trek was along East Marginal Way South past the shipping docks.  The Starbucks headquarters punctuated the skyline in the SODO (south of Downtown) neighborhood.  I passed an historical marker near 2225 E marginal Way S on the spot of the world’s very first gasoline service station (1907).  Who knew that Seattle played a role in this part of our country’s driving history!

Loading docks and shipyards

Loading docks and shipyards

Starbucks headquarters

Starbucks headquarters

East Marginal Way South

East Marginal Way South

Bike path into downtown Seattle

Bike path into downtown Seattle

Ferry coming into the downtown terminal

Ferry coming into the downtown terminal

I ended my walk at the downtown ferry terminal.

Total walking distance:  about 12 miles

 

 

 

The Sky, the Sky!

August 1, 2013

Waiting for sunset at Golden Gardens

Waiting for sunset at Golden Gardens

The sunset sky over Elliott Bay, Seattle

The sunset sky over Elliott Bay, Seattle

Another rare, cloudless evening watching the sun set over Elliott Bay in Seattle.  We enjoyed a picnic supper at Golden Gardens and then stayed at the beach until the sun went down.  A perfect summer day.

” . . . the vastness of the sky will naturally lead the mind to contemplate infinities; it is wholly apt to associate the sky with expansiveness of the spirit, with joy and freedom and holiness.”
— Anthony Esolen, Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child

 

 

“Listen!  you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.”
— Matthew Arnold, from “Dover Beach”

Sea stack at Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park

Sea stacks at Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park

“The seashore is a most advantageous point from which to comprehend the world.  The waves forever rolling to the land are so far traveled coming home and leaving again.”
— Henry David Thoreau

The next morning, we stopped at two more beaches before completing our road trip to Olympic National Park:  Ruby Beach and Kalaloch Beach.  Ruby Beach was less wild than Rialto Beach, and Kalaloch Beach seemed tamer still.  I loved seeing how different the beach landscapes were from one another.

Ruby Beach in the morning

Ruby Beach in the morning

You could walk for miles.

You could walk for miles.

Sea stacks and tidepools

Sea stacks and tidepools, Ruby Beach

Caves in the cliffs, giant logs

Caves in the cliffs, giant logs

Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach

“To me the sea is a continual miracle:  The fishes that swim — the rocks — the motion of the waves — the ships, with men in them.  What stranger miracles are there?”
— Walt Whitman

The tidepools around the barnacle-covered rocks teemed with anemones and star fish.  The waves carved artistic patterns in the pebble-strewn sand.  So much to see and explore!

Anemones

Anemones

Brilliantly colored star fish

Brilliantly colored star fish

Beach art in the sand

Beach art in the sand

Lovely pattern in the sand

Lovely pattern in the sand

Ruby beach

Ruby Beach

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Piles of driftwood, Kalaloch Beach

Piles of driftwood, Kalaloch Beach

Walking along Kalalocj Beach

Walking along Kalaloch Beach