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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The Grotto, Portland, OR

IMG_1055The Grotto, also known as  is National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, is a 62-acre Catholic shrine and botanical garden which is administered by the Order of Friars Servants of Mary.

The Grotto is lovely and peaceful. By far the most unique part is the elevator, which is built adjacent to the 110′ cliff and has only two stops. I got on at the bottom, the location of Our Lady’s Grotto, a gift store, and the largest of the churches. and got off at the top, the site of the gardens, other smaller churches and religious artwork.  The grotto is a rock cave carved into the cliff and feature a life-size marble replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta.

The complex is free to visit, but there is a $5 charge to take the elevator. It’s well worth it. To learn more, look here.

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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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Waiting for new development

Lone TrailerThis once splendid trailer is the last man standing in an ex-trailer park north of Highway 512 and East of South Tacoma Way. I could still see the individual pads where the mobile homes once sit and my husband pointed out where each unit’s power was. And there are a couple of rundown buildings that I suspect were the park’s office and perhaps a laundry facility.  I wonder why it was deserted and dear husband opined that maybe it was cleared away for redevelopment and then the market collapsed. Perhaps.

Lone Trailer in ParkCapture

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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Garfield Nature Trail

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Garfield Nature Trail at 620 Rogers Street NW, Olympia is like a little haven of wilderness right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. It isn’t a typical park with picnic areas and playground equipment. Instead it is a trail through a ravine between Rogers Street NW and West Bay Drive NW. I hiked from Rogers to West Bay and back again. The path has several sets of stairs and boardwalks and I wish I had worn my sneakers because is places it was damp and a tad slippery. The trail was busy with young people, families and folks walking dogs.

City Haven Peace Park

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There is a small, private park named City Haven Peace Park located next to the Quaker Meetinghouse/Hillside Community Church at 2508 39th Street South. This space has an abundance of birds, squirrels and an occasional raccoon. There are also several inuksuk, which are rock formations roughly shaped like humans.