“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

 

 

 

January morning at Green Lake

January morning at Green Lake

“How glorious the perfect stillness and peace of the winter landscape.”
—  Henry David Thoreau, from Winter:  The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 8, December 31, 1854

Path through the frosty grass, Green Lake

Path through the frosty grass, Green Lake

“We must go out and re-ally ourselves to Nature every day.  We must make root, send out some little fibre at least, even every winter day. . . . Staying in the house breeds a sort of insanity always.”
—  Henry David Thoreau, from Winter:  The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 8, December 29, 1856

I took Thoreau’s advice and walked around Green Lake on this frosty January morning.  It was crisp and clear.  I saw three great blue herons, a bald eagle perched in a tree, honking Canada geese, foraging ducks, and other Seattleites out to enjoy the fresh air.

Joggers at Green Lake

Joggers at Green Lake

Fishing from the dock, bundled up, enjoying the natural world

Fishing from the dock, bundled up, enjoying the natural world

One of three great blue herons (notice the frosty back feathers)

One of three great blue herons (notice the frosty back feathers)

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Still Winter

February 8, 2013

“February, when the days of winter seem endless and no amount of wistful recollecting can bring back any air of summer.”
— Shirley Jackson, Raising Demons

Foggy, gray morning at Green Lake

Foggy, gray morning at Green Lake

Lamplight -- beacons in the gray

Lamplight — beacons in the gray

Gray pierced by a car headlight

Gray pierced by a car headlight

Jogging in the fog

Jogging in the fog

Twin echoes, tree silhouettes

Twin echoes, tree silhouettes

The color of our Seattle winters is gray, gray, and more gray.  I long for sunshine.

Seattle winters teach endurance.  Not a bad lesson.  The challenge is to keep from sinking into melancholy and to find moments of brightness to cheer the soul.

 

 

 

 

 

Dawn at Green Lake with dock

Dawn at Green Lake with dock

The Everyday
by Ursula Le Guin, from Finding My Elegy

First light.  The arc of the old moon was rising
in a windy dawn that quickly grew behind it.
Silver-bright at first, it dimmed and thinned
’till it was lost in a vast radiance.

What happens everyday is what’s surprising.
The treasure’s never where I look to find it
but where I simply look — the sky, the wind,
sunrise, a silver arc, the moment’s chance.

Dawn with picnic table

Dawn with picnic table

The vast radiance of a winter sunrise

The vast radiance of a winter sunrise

Sunrise with blurred jogger

Sunrise with blurred jogger

 

 

 

 

Here are some photos from a foggy December morning at Green Lake.  The obscured details make the images into silhouettes.

A pair of benches

Dog walker in the fog

Walking the dog on a foggy morning at Green Lake

Jogger on the lake path

Roosting crows

Frosty dock

Late sunrise in the fog