Urban Hiking: West Seattle

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Our Seattle weather over the weekend was beautiful, dry, and sunny. Ben and I decided to go on an “urban hike” around our neighborhood, West Seattle. We packed lunches and water and had a general itinerary in mind for our day: a 7-mile walk, mostly along the water. I had walked around many of the places we visited on our urban hike before, but never in one loop. The thoughtful pace of a very long walk like this had me noticing flowers, houses, signs, tiny parks and public spaces, restaurants, and shops that I’ve never spotted before.

We started out at the Alaska Junction, walked to Me-Kwa-Mooks Park on Beach Drive, and continued to walk along Beach Drive to Alki Beach Park, where we stopped to eat the sandwiches we’d packed and use the public bathrooms. Next we walked up to the Admiral Junction and grabbed coffee at Freshy’s, a place I’ve noticed before in that area and have been meaning to try for awhile. We continued our loop by walking down California Ave. and back to the Alaska Junction, which is near our house.

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If you want to give a West Seattle Urban Hike a try and don’t live in West Seattle, I’d suggest taking the Water Taxi from downtown Seattle and begin your walk at Seacrest Park, where you get off the Water Taxi. Walk along Harbor Ave., which will become Alki Ave. Continue along the Alki Trail, and you’ll get to the Alki Lighthouse. Seacrest Park to the Alki Lighthouse is 2.7 miles and will take about an hour to walk. Now begin walking along Beach Drive to Me-Kwa-Mooks Park, which is 1.2 miles and will take about 30 minutes. You can then walk from Me-Kwa-Mooks Park to the Alaska Junction, which is about 1.3 miles and again should take about 30 minutes. (Be prepared to go uphill for this section of your walk.) At this point you’ve earned some food. Stop at Bakery Nouveau for a pastry and coffee or Coastline Burgers (4444 California Ave. SW) for burger and shake.

If you’re following the itinerary above you’ll have walked over 5 miles. If you’ve had enough, catch the free Water Taxi shuttle that will take you from the Alaska Junction back to Seacrest Park. If you want to do more walking, going from the Alaska Junction back to the Water Taxi dock at Seacrest Park will add another 2 miles to your trip.

Let’s recap that loop:

  • Seacrest Park – Alki Lighthouse
  • Alki Lighthouse – Me-Kwa-Mooks Park
  • Me-Kwa-Mooks Park – Alaska Junction
  • Alaksa Junction – Seacrest Park (by foot or shuttle)

If you don’t want to do the Water Taxi both ways, hop on the C line bus at the Alaska Junction and you’ll be back downtown in 20 minutes.

Check the times for the Water Taxi and shuttle here.

I’d love to know if you give this a try, or if you have an Urban Hike in Seattle I should try next!

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Above and Beyond: Balancing The Rush of Life with Nature’s Quiet

Hike to Annette Lake, Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State

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Above the tree line and beyond the cell signal.

It’s a place you work to find. You arrive sweaty, out-of-breath, and full of wonder. You can close your eyes and listen to the quiet. It’s a good place to be.

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Last weekend we hiked to Annette Lake with Kai. As we got closer to the lake and climbed higher on the trail we found ourselves stepping through snow and sliding around a little bit at times, but we trudged on and made it to the beautiful, serene lake with light snow falling around us.

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I love taking time to do a weekend hike. As we hike, each step takes us further away from the crowds of the city, our offices and computers, and the buzz of being plugged in to email and social media.

Looking up at the trees as you walk along, or at the mountains that loom above you, you feel a connection with everything that surrounds you in that moment, and a disconnection from the routine rush that life can be–so often the rush we create for ourselves.

I come home from a hike refreshed, and more motivated to go above and beyond the rush of life: to seek the quiet places.

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this most amazing day

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i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e.e. cummings

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I drove up to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival on Friday, and though it was gray and rainy and windy when I visited the tulips, today the sun is shining and at the moment we do have a “blue true dream of sky,” and these colorful photos seem like just the right thing to share. May your Easter be filled with joy and color and light!

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Russell Investments Center 17th Floor Park

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Here’s a well-kept secret that I’m gonna blab…the Russell Investments Center in downtown Seattle (1301 2nd Ave–next to the Seattle Art Museum) has a 17th floor park with amazing views that I discovered last week when Ben and I were exploring Seattle with family.

I saw a post about it a few weeks ago from a Seattle-based instagrammer that I follow (thanks @amydwang!) and made a note to check it out. I couldn’t find any information about admission to the 17th floor park directly on the building’s website, but I spotted a few places online that said it’s open to the public, so we walked into the building, got on the elevator, and walked out onto the terrace of the 17th floor. Wow, it was gorgeous!

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The 17th floor is open during building business hours, and though I forgot to check what those were when we visited I imagine that means something like Monday-Friday, 9-5.

Go check it out, and maybe bring a picnic lunch along!

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Fiber Art Show

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Last week I had an art show! I’ve been working on an off for about six months on a new collection of fiber art. Each of the pieces at the show was made starting with a natural material called wool roving. The process of wet felting dates back thousands of years and transforms the roving into finished felt. The fibers of the roving are torn apart and arranged in a crisscross pattern. Then, the roving endures a boiling bath and rough scrub, but it’s all for the best—the fibers interlock and begin to dry and shrink. The felt forms, ready to be made into a beautiful, textured wall hanging. The pieces in this collection have all been inspired by the landscape and colors of the Pacific Northwest, which I’ve been soaking up since we moved here two years ago. This place just seeped into my bones and I tried to bring out what I’ve been seeing with each piece in this show.

I called the show “Art for Breakfast” because I donated a portion of each piece that was sold at the show to Shared Breakfast, a program at First United Methodist Church of Seattle that feeds 300 people every Sunday morning. Thank you to everyone who came to the show. We raised $400 for Shared Breakfast, which will feed 160 people. Your support of two things that are dear to my heart–my artwork and Shared Breakfast–means so much!

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I love having a hands-on creative outlet. So much of my creative work during the work week is centered around the computer and it’s good to make something that requires me to use my hands and touch and feel what I’m creating. I’m looking forward to making more art and having more shows around the city in the future. Stay tuned…

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Dog-Friendly Portland

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Last weekend Ben, Kai and I took a quick overnight trip to Portland, OR. We stayed at a pet-friendly Airbnb and picked activities that we could do with Kai, like breakfast at the Tin Shed & Garden Cafe, walking along the waterfront, and the Portland Saturday Market. Thankfully we had a day of nice sunny warm-ish weather that made sitting at sidewalk tables for lunch and coffee a possibility, which is easier with a dog along. I think Kai had a great time.

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In the afternoon we popped into a few shops along N. Mississippi Ave (sometimes with Kai along, sometimes one us kept him outside). I loved exploring the shops in this neighborhood. I think the neighborhoods in Portland have more personality than downtown.

I can’t forget to mention that I got ice cream at the famous Salt & Straw. I put a lot of thought into my flavor choice while waiting in line, and ended up–after sampling a few–with Cocanu’s Coffee & Craque, which is chocolate, coffee and caramel. I don’t imagine you could pick a bad flavor.

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Here and here are other posts I’ve done about Portland. We’ve managed to do different things almost every time we go and they’ve all been really fun trips.

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Mercer Slough in the Fog

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A few weeks ago on a foggy morning, I stopped at Mercer Slough Nature Park in Bellevue, WA for a walk with Kai. When I pulled off the road on a whim I didn’t expect to step into another world, but the park was a lot bigger than I expected, and the fog made our walk through the park mysterious and beautiful.

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If you want to visit, this blog post has a lot of good scoop about Mercer Slough, and some non-foggy photos.

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On the Way to Pratt Lake

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Ben, Kai and I got some fresh air a few Saturdays ago along the trail to Pratt Lake in the Snoqualmie Pass/North Bend area just a short drive outside of Seattle. It was a misty day so we didn’t even walk the 3 miles to Pratt Lake, but we had a good time wandering along the trail and enjoying the green foggy forest.

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You can read more about this hike here.

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