Ghost Mountain, Beach Rocks, and Puppy

I have some lovely scenes from Magnuson Park for ye, my darlings. Funny, because I almost didn’t.

Having spent the night dreaming I was released naked from a Middle Eastern prison and had to find adequate clothes to avoid sunburn*, and also being woken up what seemed like every few minutes by a cold cat looking for warms, then deciding she was warm enough and waking me again as she buggered off, I was exhausted. It was all I could do to stagger out of bed and fling myself into the chair on the patio in the sunshine. This is where I was when a certified miracle happened. [Read more…]

Our Mount St. Helens Epic Adventure: The End of a Quest!

Suzanne and I went up to Mount St. Helens yesterday on a rather spur-of-the-moment whim. The weather wasn’t as clear as we’d have liked, but the clouds stayed just high enough to make things interesting without obscuring the vital bits, so that was a little bit of all right. And at the end of the day, we had a most spectacular moment of success, one that brought a years-long quest to a close. Come join me for a whirlwind overview before I go pass out!

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Epic Cheesy Horse! Plus: What Ground Combat REALLY Looks Like

We made it to the Snohomish Pumpkin Hurl and Medieval Faire! Alas, we didn’t have a chance to see Trebuchet, but we saw him launch his trebuchets, so that was something. Starspider and I were waiting for her funnel cake and missed the black powder cannon, but others in our party made it. We got kettle corn and the beef jerky I’ve been waiting for all year. Starspider let me nibble on her venison jerky, which was my first deer ever, and delicious, even though it’s like chowing down on Bambi’s mom. We saw the jousting, and I got to hang out with Paladin, who is one of my favorite horses, so that was most excellent. I will have pumpkin hurling awesomeness and some jousting excitement, despite my camera suddenly becoming old and crotchety and having trouble focusing, and being at a not-so-great angle. I managed to shoot lots of video and some really good still photos. Some of it has Mount Baker as the backdrop, which looks really amazeballs. You will love it.

But first, people, I have to post this epic photo of Eowyn and Sir Cedric. I think we have achieved peak cheesy-horse. [Read more…]

The Beauty of the Storm

I meant to have the next chapter of Escape done, my darlings, but I got busy cleaning and didn’t stop until it was time to meet up with Funny Diva. And once I got groceries, got home, and finished making the bed and packing book orders, my body decided it needed a hot soak before my muscles ganged up and murdered me. Then my computer was being an asshole. So what you’re going to get today are really pretty photos taken from the Burke-Gilman trail while storm clouds built. You are also going to get an awesome video with a bathing seagull, a seaplane, and a kayak.

Right, then. So you can actually walk from the Town Center in Lake Forest Park all the way down past Log Boom Park and over to Pagliacci Pizza, which is just what we did. It’s quite a haul for someone who’s been rather sedentary up until a furious cleaning spree, and it was raining intermittently, but it was worth it. Here’s a glimpse of Lake Washington from between trees as we got to Log Boom Park:

Image shows Lake Washington framed on the sides and bottom by dark trees. It is near sunset, but the sky is still very blue, except for some fluffy white and dark gray storm clouds piling up. The water is a lovely mottle of gray and blue.

Lake Washington and storm clouds.

When we reached the docks, we were extremely fortunate to get there just as a heron was flying past.

Image shows Lake Washington looking south. Storm clouds loom from onshore, reflected in the water. There is a gorgeous streak of blue down the center. A heron is flying to the right.

Heron on the wing over the water.

How fabulous is that, with all those subtle colors? I’m astonished the shot came out. I’d just started turning the camera on, and it wasn’t yet fully booted when I spotted the heron, aimed, and fired. It didn’t even have a real chance to focus. Yet it turned out wonderfully.

Here is a crop of the heron:

Image shows the heron winging low over the water, in the cloud shadow.

Heron on the wing.

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing great blue herons.

As we reached the end of the dock, we spotted the rotting piles of the old pier. The colors were lovely.

In the distance, piles of an old pier stand out of the water in parallel lines. They seem to point at the storm clouds rising over the lake. The reflected clouds and the blend of dark and lighter blues in the water make it an almost brooding atmosphere.

As we walked past the industrial buildings, we spotted a cloud raining into the sky, but the rain evaporated before reaching the ground.

Image shows a white storm cloud in the background, and a small, dark-gray raincloud in the foreground. The small cloud has dark streaks of rain coming down from it, but they have faded out long before it could reach the ground.

Raining on high.

And then there was a crow that looked like it was trying to out-fly a roiling, boiling steam eruption, but it was actually just lazily flapping towards where it roosts for the night. There were a great many crows all doing the same.

Image shows a crow flying almost off-image to the left. Above and behind it is a huge thunder head looming towards it.

Fly for your lives!

(Speaking of crows, I spotted one playing lifeguard at Juanita Beach just a couple days ago. So adorbs!)

Image shows a crow perched on top of an empty lifeguard chair, staring off to the left as if looking for distressed swimmers. The lake is in the background, with dark storm clouds piled overhead.


Funny Diva and I crossed the road and had ourselves some pizza at Pagliacci before heading back. While we were inside, it poured rain. It had stopped by the time we got out. Our luck was very much in, and it was a delightful time, made even more delightful by this seaplane landing while we were at Log Boom Park. How often do you get a chance to film a seaplane, a kayak, and a bathing seagull all at once?

First time for me. Loved it. And I deliberately made the title sound like the set-up to a silly joke, so you lot can have at in the comments if you think of good jokes to tell. I’m going to go finish Chapter 4 of In the Path of Destruction and pass right out. Oy.

Seahurst with Silver Fox, Plus Cryptopod: Why Did the Green Bug Cross the Road?

It’s been a busy social week for this introvert! On Wednesday, I drove down to pick Silver Fox up from the airport and take her to Seahurst Park on her layover. Since I-5 has basically been a parking lot between my new place and downtown Seattle, I took Highway 99. This meant I had to go through the Viaduct. I always white-knuckle it through there, begging the Cascadia subduction zone not to rip right then, please. Then I took a wrong turn and ended up on I-5 anyway, which was okay because it was below the jam. Then I took a wrong turn out of the cell phone waiting lot at the airport and had to drive around trying to find a way back to the terminal. It was a comedy of errors, but I did at last manage to collect Silver Fox, and we found our way to Seahurst without incident.

It’s a lovely park with lots of beachfront. [Read more…]

Discovery Park with Funny Diva and an Accommodating Dragonfly

Come join us for my first hike post-B! I took lots of pictures for you.

I haven’t got out much recently, not simply because I indulged in some moping after breaking up with B, but because the weather has been kind of ick. Inordinately large portions of the West have been on fire, and while we’re not burning much immediately in and around Seattle, we kept getting smoke. Damn it, I moved from Flagstaff so I wouldn’t have to smell forests burning every summer, but here we are again. We had a downpour a few days ago that cleared the air nicely, though, so Funny Diva and I went for a Discovery Park adventure.

A seascape! Puget Sound is deep blue in the background, and you can just see an island on the horizon. In the foreground is North Beach, a sandy stretch, with a cheerful spring-green umbrella and a couple of lounge chairs. A little girl sits behind them, playing in the sand.

Beach Scene

The visitor’s center was full up, so we went on down to the north parking lot and traipsed from there. The rain left the trails pleasantly damp and the plants very green and happy. We had lots of sunshine, but also plenty of shade and cool breezes on the way down. When we hit North Beach, it looked like a true beach scene, complete with umbrella.

We had a very patient butterfly, too, who will appear in a future Cryptopod post. I actually had two little orange ones land on me briefly, which was magic. I love those moments.

Image is looking over the Sound toward the south. In the foreground is the top of a driftwood teepee. There is a lot of deep blue water, and then one of the distant bluffs and bits of Seattle. In the background, Mount Rainier looms above a low blanket of white clouds.

Mount Rainier is a majestic backdrop.

Mount Rainier was out in force. Beauty!

By the time we’d reached South Beach, we’d had about enough of sunshine, but we trooped onward. A visit to Discovery Park is not complete without visiting South Bluff.

Image shows South Bluff from South Beach, a tall bluff that is eroding away. It curves from the left toward the right. Mount Rainier is visible beyond the more distant bluff at the right.

A very Mullineaux photo.

I got a very Donal Mullineaux photo out of this trip. He’s one of the USGS geologists who worked on Mount St. Helens during the May 1980 eruption, so I have a particular fondness for him. Longtime readers will recall how I screamed with delight when I learned he’d done a lot of work at South Bluff, using it as the type section for both the Esperance Sand and the Lawton Clay. And, of course, he and Dwight Crandall did quite a bit of work at Mount Rainier as well, so this photo with both the bluff and the mountain in it is dedicated to him. Thanks for the geology, Dr. Mullineaux!

Image is the distant bluff with Mount Rainier almost hidden behind it.

Shy Mount Rainier

As you walk closer to South Bluff, Mount Rainier begins to vanish behind the next bluff down. I love this photo where it almost looks like it’s hiding.

Image shows several silvery-gray drift logs on the berm, with many green bushes behind them. One log is shaped like a bell curve and has a wee hole in the middle of the curve.

Delightful Driftwood

This bit of driftwood pleased Dana. I love how it’s shaped like one of those old-fashioned mantle clocks, and how it’s got the round hole in its curve.

After patting the Olympia non-glacial stage floodplain sediments, and pointing out a wee slide of the Lawton Clay to Funny Diva, we about-faced and headed back.


Image is looking up South Beach toward the Lighthouse. There's a sailboat with a red sail beached on the point. The Olympic Mountains are hazy but visible in the distance.

Red sailboat, white lighthouse.

That red sailboat is such a brilliant little gem on the beach, innit? And I’ve always loved that lighthouse.

For them as likes boats, I got a photo with three kinds for ye:

Image shows a cruise ship with a sailboat and a speedboat in front of it. The Olympic Mountains are a shadowy presence in the background.

Tres boats.

We took the Hidden Valley trail back up: it’s shady and not so steep. Then we went asploring in places I’d never been. We saw a sign for reflecting pools and a serpent mound by the Daybreak Cultural Center and couldn’t resist. On the way, I saw this poor tree that has been providing food for caterpillars or some such arthropods, and couldn’t resist a photo of its leaves against the sky.

Image shows a couple of thin branches with oval leaves against blue sky. The leaves are pierced with hundreds of holes, making them look lacey.

It’s like the bugs are making lace.

I’ve not actually been down by the mound and pools in all my visits to the park. People, it is worth it. You can see a duck trying to be a stork in a reflecting pool (which isn’t reflecting due to all the duckweed):

Image shows a female mallard standing on a piece of wood in the pond. She's on one foot. There is a lot of duckweed turning the water green, and a long-leafed plant at the left.

Unipod. She actually has two feet, she’s just hiding one.

And while you’re watching a duck, a huge dragonfly may hover in many places right in front of you, as if it’s going, “Can you see me now? What about now?”

Image shows the dragonfly hovering over the duckweed-coated water and a board. It's one of the black and blue ones with a little bit of green behind its eyes.

Those eyes, though.

You don’t want to know how many photos I shot trying to get that one great one. Fortunately, Funny Diva is infinitely patient with me, and found herself a shady spot to enjoy whilst I snapped away. I highly recommend hikes with her, people. She is, indeed, funny, and one of the sweetest people I know. She’s also a social justice warrior par excellence. And she knows all the good places to go in Seattle, as you will see.

We finally found a pool that reflects, where it was either too shady for duckweed or the stuff had been washed out by the rain:

Image shows a shaded pool surrounded by trees. The trees are reflected within the dark water.


Hiking accomplished, we went in search of food. Funny Diva recommended Scooter’s, and so we had burger deliciousness, complete with some of the best fries ever. Then we tried to go to Golden Gardens, but everybody else in the Seattle Metro area was already there, and we couldn’t find a parking space, so we went up to Wallingford and had gelato at the Fainting Goat Gelato instead.

Image is the sign for the Fainting Goat, which is like an old tavern sign. It is a bar with a goat cut-out hanging from it upside-down, and the words Fainting Goat inscribed.

How cute is this sign?

I ended up with stracciatella because I bloody love the stuff, but they also had a hazelnut and chocolate thing with the word rock in the name, and I had a sample, and that is what I will have next time we go, because IT IS ALL DELICIOUS. I’ll bet you a lot of fundies miss out on it because they think an upside-down goat is satanic, but everything in the shop is divine and everyone should go there.

Then we came home, where Boo showed off her mad fence climbing skillz.

Image shows Boo, a white cat with black patches, sitting on the cedar fence and looking towards the right.

Boo’s on the fence about everything.

I won’t lie: this first real outing, with my own friend and in familiar places, without B, wasn’t complete easy. A lot of things aren’t easy yet. Some people might say that since I miss B ferociously, I should try to make it work with him again. After all, I was the one who broke it off: he didn’t want to. But while I love him and miss him and hope that someday we can hang out and be friends again, I know I made the right choice. We weren’t working. I hate that, but it’s true.

So it’s onward, ho, making new memories in the old places, spending time with high-quality people like Funny Diva, and doing my bit to make this a better world. The fact it has sunshine and gelato  and social justice warriors in it gives me hope.

Well, That Volcano’s Nekkid

Saturday’s excursion to Mount St. Helens with Suzanne was a complete success. Well, it feels like it was even though we didn’t make it to both of the visitor’s centers I wanted to scope out. That ended up not mattering a bit because we had so much fun. Wish you were there!

Image is a selfie of Suzanne, who is flashing a peace sign, and me smiling in front of Mount St. Helens.

Suzanne, moi, et Mount St. Helens.

Suzanne was kind enough to drive, so I got to lookie-Lou the whole way up. We realized when we got close that Mount St. Helens wasn’t just a dirty girl – she was almost completely nude! She only had a few tiny patches of snow clinging to her. We pulled off at the Elk Rock Viewpoint and had a long look. You can see how nekkid she is. Even Mount Adams, lurking over the ridge to the left there, has been stripped of much of its snow cover. This heat wave is srs bidness! [Read more…]

Mount St. Helens is a Dirty Girl!

Friday certainly was challenging. I woke up late, for starters. That didn’t bother me too much – I wouldn’t get as much as I’d like to do done, but surely I could still do lots! I was on the road by just after two. Then I had to turn around because I’d remembered every bag aside from the camera bag. Still, I’d caught that within a few blocks, so no worries! Traffic into downtown Seattle sucked, but it always does. Still no worries.

But traffic remained not just bad, but atrocious, all the way past Olympia. It took me over three hours to do a drive that normally would take me an hour and change. I didn’t get down to Castle Rock until seven. Gah. I’d meant to explore some bits I’d never seen before, but all I had time for was a walk around Silver Lake. Happily, Mount St. Helens was completely visible, so I could get you a volcano! [Read more…]

I Am Abandoning Y’all For My Favorite Volcano. Yes, Again.

Between various things going on both in my personal life and online, my ability to cope with people is nearing absolute zero. Alas, our house is being invaded by a great many people starting tonight. I may stick around for the big par-tay, but I am most definitely cutting out for the rest of the weekend. Already got me reservations at a nice little place on the Lewis River, don’t I just? Already made plans to explore the air-conditioned wonders of the various west-side Mount St. Helens visitors’ centers with Suzanne, haven’t I? Ja, you betcha! [Read more…]

Brain-Teasing Boat

B and I went to Discovery Park a couple of weeks ago. I’ve got so many very delicious photos to share with you! It was brilliantly sunny just about everywhere except for Magnolia, which was fogged in. The entire park was shrouded in mist and mystery.

The boats on the Sound looked eerily awesome. Most of them I could figure out: there was the ferry, with the sunlight shining on it through the mist.

Image shows a ferry sailing over a misty Sound. There's a glint of sunlight from the front that makes it look like it's got a train's headlamp shining.

One of the ferries – probably the Bremerton Ferry – with sunlight glinting off its front windows.

Ferries are dead simple to identify. They’re Janus-faced, looking both forward and backward, because they don’t ever turn around.

There were a few barges hauling freight, and even some sailboats. It’s been a terrifying mild January so far. Even that day, with all the fog, was relatively warm, and the breezes just right.

This boat, though… I can’t figure it out. [Read more…]