The Ginkgo Trees of DuPont

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A few weeks ago, I went on a photo walk in DuPont and noticed these Gingko trees. Somebody in the group mentioned that the leaves turn a lovely yellow. I can see that beginning, but our unseasonably warm weather must be keeping them green a little longer than normal. They are lovely anyway. I don’t know the name of the little park like area next to the history museum, but that’s where the trees are. I discovered on the internet that the tree is considered a living fossil and that the fruit smells bad. The species of tree was once widespread, but eventually ended up primarily in China. Fossils going back 270 million years have been found.

The Rose Garden at Point Defiance

IMG_1723I was trying to squeeze the last little bit of summer in today and thought to take the five mile loop through Point Defiance Park. On my way in I noticed the amazing display in the rose garden. So I looked around, parked and took a stroll. It is mostly roses, of course, but there were a fair number of dahlias in bloom and other plants as well.

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A Especially Lovely Day at Enatai Beach Park

14986119982_4f32d91867_kI went off today with dear husband to find the the Village of Beaux Arts because its such a cool name. The village has about 300 people and no commercial buildings. Since I’d rather not take photos of people’s houses, I only snapped the sign and then drove out of the tiny village to discover the lovely Enatai Beach Park, which is located in Bellevue. What a great park. It has a beach with people sunning (I was in a jacket!) and fishing off the dock. There were kayaks available to rent also. There was a lifeguard (also in a jacket) who told me that while there were no people swimming today, there often are when it gets warm. The park is practically under the I-90 Bridge, but I didn’t notice any traffic noise.

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Bridge of Locks, University Place

IMG_1269A quick survey of my Facebook friends let me know that there are four Tacoma area bridges/overpasses that are being used as Bridge of Locks. On Sunday, which had glorious weather, I went to Bridge to the Beach that crosses the railroad tracks at Chambers Bay Regional Park in University Place. I hadn’t realized that I could drive down to the bottom of the park and I also didn’t know there was a bridge to the beach. What an amazing park it has turned into! There were families and couples with plenty of dogs. There were huge kites and picnics and music. Really it was splendid. I was there in August 2011 and it has significantly updated since then!

A short stroll took me to the modern bridge and at first I only saw a lock or two, but then there was a little cluster of them and at the end of the elevated pathway there were a number of them. Unlike many of the other Bridge of Locks, the arrangement of the Bridge to the Beach is such that each locks does not have its own little area, but instead can slide back and forth. This was a pretty exciting discovery for the four year old next to me!

Bridges of Locks are relatively new on a wide spread basis. The tradition is that those in love put their name on a lock then attach it to the bridge and throw the key away to symbolize their unfailing devotion.  This is a worldwide phenomena, as can be seen here.

The Bridges of Locks have not all been well received, with the weight of all those locks pulling down and damaging several structures. In University Place, there are no plans to remove the locks. Pierce County spokesman Hunter George said “We’re not encouraging it or discouraging it (the hanging of the locks). But we do think there are better ways. If people really want to demonstrate their commitment to each other, we’d love to see them get married at Chambers Bay. We have great rates. Or get a tattoo. Or both.”

Oh, and there is a picture of an osprey, just because they are such cool birds! Their wing span can be almost 6′ across, though I don’t know about the one on the nest.

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Stonehenge

IMG_2549Stonehenge had also been on my bucket list and I was so pleased to hear this world heritage site was part of this year’s tour. It was a little more of a production than I expected with the parking area being some distance from the site. But the folks that run it do provide transportation.

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument that originated between 2000 and 3000 BC and because of the age of the monument, there is a great deal of mystery. I did learn that:

  • It is a burial site
  • The Druids would hold ceremonies here
  • For the most part, the public is no longer aloud to walk up to the stones
  • That over the years the stones have been straightened when in danger of falling over
  • The visitor’s center opened in December 2013 and I could have happily spent more time there
  • According to some myths, the stone were healing rocks

Here is a short BBC video on this history of Stonehenge and here is the official visitors webpage.

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Disneyland, Paris

DISNEYDisneyland Paris is actually in the town of Marne-la-Vallée, about 20 miles east of Paris. It is Europe’s most visited attraction. Since I had never been to any of the Disney locations, I found this to be the best one ;)  The complex opened in 1992 to mixed success, though it seems to be just fine now. While there I rode Space Mountain (yes, I did!) and several other, calmer rides. We stuck around for the daily parade, but left well before the nighttime fireworks.

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Saint Martin’s Prairie & the Abby Cemetery

13813889994_65fe2fd1ec_bSaint Martin’s College and Abbey in Lacey has been around since the 1890s. It’s small cemetery is located in a rich stand of woods behind the Monastery and is for members of the abbey, thus the vast majority of the uniformed headstones read Father. The metal gates have two welcoming angels and there is a low stone fence.

The nearby College Regional Storm Facility is like a small, tranquil park with a gravel trail that leads around the full storm water ponds. There were plenty of birds and insects, as well as college students playing Frisbee and riding a bike.



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Kelsey Creek Farm, Bellevue

13340504343_aa9c5da73e_bI’ve been wanting to visit Kelsey Creek Farms Park at 13204 SE 8th in Bellevue for a while, so on Saturday after dropping off dear daughter for her ride back to college I stopped by. There was a birthday party going on and plenty of children in the under five crowd. The 150 acre original site had been a forest and was developed as the Twin Valley Dairy Farm in the 1920s. Despite pressure from real estate developers, in the 1960s 80 acres of the property was sold to the City of Bellevue for use as a park. It receives over 200,000 visits a year. ThePark’s website is here.

The log cabin is the Frasier House, built in 1888 and moved to Kelsey Creek Farms Park in 1974.  It was built by two Norwegian woodsmen and lived in for a short time. Mostly it was used as storage. 

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Dalco Passage

12280410435_512a2bf47b_c(1)While others were watching the Superbowl, I went out to give my new camera a spin. It was kind of eerie being out with almost everyone watching the game. Though there were plenty of police and taxis.  I wandered through Five Mile Drive in Pt. Defiance and took a shot of Dalco Passage, thinking that I would find a fascinating history of Dalco, but no such luck. All I can find is that Dalco Passage is a tidal strait in the Puget Sound, located between the southern end of Vashon Island and Tacoma. Below are a couple of more shots including the sweet beggar of a raccoon (which I didn’t feed). And go Seahawks!

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