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Jul 01 2009

Summer’s For Playing Outside

I’ve decided to take this summer (mostly) off. I barely caught a glimpse of sunshine last year – too busy between the blog and regular writing to get me arse outside. Not this year. The season’s too short for that shit. I’ll lock myself away in happy hermittude this winter, when I have longer nights to write in anyway.

So today, I escaped to Ravenna Park, which is one of my favorite Seattle city parks ever. It’s fairly large as such things go, set deep in a ravine in the U-District, with a stream running through it.


Looks peaceful, doesn’t it just? And look, it’s got side-streams with waterfalls and everything:


There’s a pond with goldfish, too:


Then, as you come back down the trail, you can cross the stream at my utterly favorite part, where there’s a bridge and an enormous boulder:


To prove to you how much I love this boulder, I’ll show you a picture of me sitting upon it two years ago:


It’s my Zen boulder. It’s a good old friend.

Since Ravenna doesn’t take long to hike, we decided to head down to the Washington Park Arboretum after a refueling stop at Johnny Rocket’s. It was because I’d seen these guys blooming on our way over the 520 bridge, and I knew just the place to see ‘em up close:


The Arboretum maintains a trail that crosses the western tip of Lake Washington, crossing a few of the islands, and ending up at the ship canal. It’s a gorgeous, easy walk. You get to stroll on top of the water for a little bit there, and on a clear day, you can even see the Cascades waaay in the distance:


Those aren’t clouds atop the treeline – that’s snowcapped peaks, that is.

The islands are so low that your feet squelch on the path, and there’s standing water full of itty bitty sprouting plants to both sides, turning the spaces between the tree trunks a glorious green:

Then you get to the Ship Canal, where you can watch the boats go by and read the silly things UW students paint on the canal walls, or turn around and gaze across the lake at the mountains. It’s hard to choose:


If you walk alongside the Canal, you get to pass right under the drawbridge on Montlake Blvd.


In fact, you can look up and watch the cars passing overhead:


Yup, you can see the cars through the roadway. Freaky-neat, eh?

If you prefer, though, you can hurry through that bit and just go look at Montlake through a tree bough:

And then, if you’re reaaalllly lucky, you might catch sight of a blue heron fishing on your way back:


He’s in the tall grass almost dead-center there. And if you think he’s hard to spot in this one, ask to see the ones I took where he’s standing straight up, all tall and thin, instead of hunched over getting ready to fish.

Lotta miles of walking we did, all out in the bright warm sun. And then we stuffed ourselves into a refrigerated theater to watch Star Trek. I wasn’t even disappointed there wasn’t much story to it, because the action sorta sketched a story out. The most amusing thing is the use of tired old comic book conventions to restart continuity. I probably should’ve been upset, but it made me giggle. So did Spock Prime.

If you haven’t seen the movie, do it before you miss the chance to see it on the big screen. And if you’ve never seen Lake Washington and Ravenna Park, well, you know how to get hold of me, and I do have room for a guest or two. But you’d best hurry. Summer doesn’t last long.

Carpe aestas while you’ve got the chance…