Category Archives: Parks

Vicious Weasil at the Museum at Longmire, Mt. Rainier

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Dear Daughter, home for her last Thanksgiving Break, needed to visit Mt. Rainier as part of her geology class. OK, fine, I like Mt. Rainier. I pack up my emergency backpack,  extra blankets, water in case we hit bad weather and dear husband and off we went. Luckily there are many pullouts from the street near the mountain and DD got her photos. Not the full glorious mountain, of course, because it was raining and even snowing, but some close ups of rocks that seemed to make her happy. We got as far as Longmire and had lunch and checked out the small museum (the Longmire Museum at Mt. Rainier). I was so busy staring at the vicious face on this little weasel that I didn’t notice his poor prey until I reexamined the photo!

So here are the photos. Beside the Longmire Museum there are two shots of the Mountain taken on clearer days, a photo of the road going through the National Park, the porch at the lodge and the graffiti rocks approaching the park.

BTW, you need to have chains in your vehicle to enter the park after November 1st. It gets dark at about 3 pm in the winter (its all those trees!). There is no cell service on the mountain (at least the part we were at). Here is a link to Longmire.  And Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

A Barn at Fort Steilacoom Park

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Steilacoom Barn

Western State Hospital for the Insane, later shortened to simply Western State, opened in 1871 and soon after included a farm with animals. The farm included several barns and this one, near the entrance to the dog park in what is now Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood, is one of them. The farm workers were patients of the hospital and the farm supplied much of the food for the hospital. The farm closed in 1959.

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I went in the evening and there was a lovely sunset and a flock of geese.

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Marlake at the West Hylebos Wetlands Park

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Dear husband and I wanted to stretch our legs today so we went to the West Hylebos Wetlands Park in Federal Way. Our intent was to walk along the boardwalk path, but we turned right instead of left and ended up at Marlake (that’s what Google Maps says it is called). It is really a beautiful spot and some of the surrounding area must have been an orchard at one point because we found plum, pear and apple trees, as well as grapes and blackberry bushes. The blackberries and plums were delicious!  The lake itself has a dock with a bench on it to contemplate life. Many of the trees leading up to the lake were actually labeled and my favorite was a ginkgo tree. Such lovely leaves. The park really is a perfect place to take a walk.

On an amusing note, the handwritten sign that greats visitors asks us to protect the wetlands and no dogs (I get it), bikes (still get it) or Pokemon (what?!). I’m not sure what damage the not really there Pokemon could do. Perhaps they meant no Pokemon players. But there were a bunch of players and they were all respectful and having a good time with their families. Perhaps the highlight for me was that I won my first gym (it’s a game thing) and let out a yell of victory. An older teen smiled at me and we talk about the game for a while. He even set it up for me so that I could really win the gym since I obviously don’t know what I’m doing. I love that the game gave two very different people a chance to visit and work together. What fun. 🙂

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The Dunes near Pullman

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The Dunes near Pullman, WA is a recreational student hangout and a lot of fun. Dear daughter and I went on a hot day just prior to school’s beginning. It wasn’t at all what I expected. It was about 40 minutes away from the dorms and there was a big, switchback hill involved. To get to the Dunes, which are actually in the small town of Pomeroy, the county seat and the only town in Garfield County. You have to actually cross the Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River. The crossing itself was a surprise. I pulled up to the gate and the uniformed attendant wrote down my license number, then I was allowed to pull all the way up and he asked the nature of our visit (fun!) and if we had firearms (no!). We were told the speed limit on the dam was 15 miles per hour except where it was 5 mph and under no circumstance should we get out of the car or take photos/videos. Well, ok. The crossing itself was more like going through a work site, which I guess it is. The gate on the other side opened automatically. In doing some research, I see this over the dam road was actually closed for six years after 911, so I guess we are lucky to have the option at all. Obviously I have no photos, but here is a link to the Wikipedia entry. Here is the link from the US Army Corps of Engineers.

If you go to visit, be aware that the dam closes at 5 and then you have to go the long way home. And good luck with that since your phone won’t have reception!

So, back to the Dunes. There is a decent parking lot, a walk through the hilly sand (wear shoes the sand gets hot!) and then a large beach area which was fairly full. There were some enthusiastic college students playing and having a time and while I didn’t see drinking or drunkenness, I won’t have been surprised. But really, not a concern. The way the river flows in that area, one can walk out to almost 1/2 way across and be up to one’s waist. See those rocks in the top photo? They are people! And then there is an obvious drop. As much as I’d like to have actually gone swimming, I just wasn’t too sure about the drop. Nobody else crossed the line and I was worried about the current. Next time I’ll bring a floaty though, that looked like fun.

So, all in all it was a lovely way to spend a summer day and I got to visit with my daughter. After going back through the gated dam, we got back into town and then went to a movie and then out for ice cream. Really, what more could one want?

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Acton Nature Center

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I suspect I visited the Acton Nature Center when it wasn’t at its best. The weather was that special hot that it gets in Texas in the summer and many of the plants were suffering from a long dry spell. But it was still great! The Acton Nature Center is located at 6900 Smoky Hill Ct., Granbury, TX 76049 and has been around for more than a decade. Because of the heat, I didn’t explore the entire center, but I did venture to the butterfly gardens which was lovely. There were a couple of butterflies and a huge lizard, as well as an air conditioned structure used to view birds (that day it was cardinals and hummingbirds).

The volunteer was very welcoming and informative and suggested walking the loop down near the pond, which was wooded and a tad cooler. Sadly the pond wasn’t there! I’m sure it will be back after some rain.

I’d love to go visit in the Spring when the wildflowers are blooming and it is cooler. The volunteers that have created this center should be very proud of their efforts.

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Cabrillo Amarillo

 

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The brightly colored Cabrillo Amarillo by Paul Kuniholm Pauper is part of the Percival Landing Plinth Project, an initiative involving 15 pieces of art. The public is invited to visit Percival Landing, view all of the pieces and then vote for their favorite. The winning art piece is then purchased by the City of Olympia and the are available for sale.  More information about the project can be found here and more information about the artist is here.

There was a famous aquarium at Salter’s Point

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Dear daughter, her dear friend and I were looking for relieve from the heat on June 5 and we decided on a beach. Dear daughter suggested that beach where one goes on a footbridge over the railroad station. So after my online community and I figured out where that was, Salter’s Point at 91 Champion St. in Steilacoom, off we went. The footbridge is now a steep metal affair with gates on both sides of the stairs. It was constructed in 2014 after the prior wooden bridge was damaged and closed. About 60 trains a day pass along the tracks.

I was expecting to find some natural beauty, relief from the heat and perhaps a couple of small crabs. And indeed I found all that, but I also found an interesting history.

The covered picnic area built in 1939 as part of the Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA). Per Wikipedia the WPA “was the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of unemployed people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. In a much smaller but more famous project, Federal Project Number One, the WPA employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects.”

The remains of a marina and store is located at the southerly end of the park. The property was destroyed by fire in 2009. The fire commanded the attention of three fireboats and more than 50 firefighters from eight fire departments. In 1987 there was a homicide at the store (Wang’s Maritime Marina); two teens killed the store’s owner. In close proximity to the marina ruins was the Soundview Inn and Boathouse, which was a boardinghouse with family style meals. They also had boat rentals.

The site of the Deep Sea Aquarium is also located at Salter’s Point. It was constructed by Ed Bair, brother of Bair (Bair Drugstore). The aquarium featured an extensive collection of sea life including a seal that lived under the porch where it could swim depending on the tide. The aquarium was promoted all over the western states, but closed in the 1930s.

Here are some interesting articles about the location.

A first person account about the aquarium 

“The evolution of Saltar’s Point,” Steilacoom Historical Museum Quarterly, XIV (Summer, 1985) p. l, 3-6.

City of Steilacoom Park Info

Fire destroys Steilacoom Marina and Store

 

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The World’s Longest Floating Boardwalk

The World's Longest Floating BoardwalkThe World’s Longest Floating Boardwalk is located in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. It was completed in 1985 and extends 3,300 feet including a bridge with a spectacular view of the lake on this unusually warm spring day. There were a handful of love locks on the bridge itself. Along our walk dear daughter made a ladybug friend.

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Our visit to Coeur d’Alene also included a stroll through downtown with associated shopping and snacks. My favorite piece of art was the huge dandelion sculpture.

The World's Longest Floating Boardwalk

 

The World's Longest Floating BoardwalkA lock on The World's Longest Floating Boardwalk

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Washtucna, WA

I drove to Pullman today and along the way I stopped in the town of Washtucna in Adams County. The town has a population of about 200 people. I picked Washtucna because I heard it had a good birding park known as Bassett Park after the first mayor. It was some nice little park with a small creek running through it and one of the local residents came and chatted with me for a while. And then as I was leaving the town I found their original sheriff’s office/jail which consisted of a very small wooden building with two jail cells and a front area for the sheriff. There was also the original outhouse, a two seater!  Altogether it was a pleasant little diversion on the long drive to Pullman and I’m glad I stopped.


  
  
  
  

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The Guardian Stone, Poulsbo

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The Guardian Stone is Poulsbo’s newest public art installation and it is really lovely. My first thought was “oh, look, a sword in the stone! King Arthur!”, but no. It being Poulsbo, the piece is reflective of Norwegian history.  The rock, steel and glass sculpture by Lisa Stirrett was installed in February 2016 at the Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park. The nine foot tall piece is a nod to Swords of the Rock in Norway, though that piece is much larger (see a photo of that too). Really, it is captivating. You should go see it!

 

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