So I say to my dear husband, “let’s go up to Bell Square on what is probably the most hectic shopping weekend of the year” and oddly he agreed. Neither of us are big mall people, but he likes to see the upper end merchandise so he can later look for it at estate sales and I wanted to see Snow Flake Lane. At 7 each evening there is a show with singing and dancing. The night we were there, there was a Seahawk, #72, Michael Bennet. The Snow Queen was blowing bubbles with her wand, so I figured that was the promised snow. But then snow flakes appeared in blue and green on the walls of the shopping centers, so I figured that was the snow. But then it really did snow! Well, maybe they were fine bubbles, but it looked like snow and it was cold enough for snow, so snow it was. The children were delighted! The streets were so very crowded, but everyone was in high spirits. We spent sometime afterwards in the mall to give the parking lot a chance to clear out. Really it was a lovely evening.
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.
I finally made it up to Mt. Rainier to see this year’s wildflowers. Normally they are just starting to be in full bloom. The National Park Service’s website says “Mount Rainer’s renowned wildflowers bloom for a limited amount of time every year. The “peak” bloom for wildflowers is heavily dependent on weather and precipitation patterns, so accurate predictions are difficult. In most years, many flowers will be blooming by mid-July, and by the first of August the meadows should be very impressive.” This year because of our ongoing heatwave the wildflowers came into bloom six to eight weeks early, so I was catching the last of them. But still they were lovely and it was great to hike around and see the new to me visitor’s center. Driving up and down the mountain and even hiking around was like being in a cloud. When I crossed the bridge over the Nisqually River, I couldn’t even see much of the bridge and nothing to either side. It was a real leap of faith to keep going!
This sign was displayed at the trail head and it made me wonder what the snowfall was for the year that just passed. 2014-2015 was a new record of low snowfall with only 266 inches. That is not a good thing impacting the glaciers, lake levels, skiing, fish migration and the water that will be available to Washington residents this year.
Jim Dine’s Technocolor Heart presides over the corner of Stadium Way and Grimes Way on the Washington State University (WSU) campus in Pullman, WA. The sculpture had been away from campus for part of 2011 and when it was reinstalled, it faced a different direction! Dine is a prolific artist in various medians with hearts being a common theme. Per the Guggenheim, Jim Dine lives in New York, Paris, and Walla Walla, Washington. There is an interview with him here.
Last Monday dear daughter and I were traveling westbound across Washington State. I knew that I wanted to get over the I-90 Snoqualmie pass through the Cascade Mountains before 7 because I wanted the daylight and they were threatening long delays after that for avalanche control. By 6 we were stopping in Thorp. I filled up the tank and dear daughter ran into the Thorp Fruit and Antique Mall for snacks and a weather advisory. We had just passed a sign that said traction advisory and I thought that didn’t sound good. The guy in Thorp pulled up the WSDOT traffic cam for dear daughter and it did show snow falling, but he said we could make it. We had no chain or snow tires. After a few miles we had snow and soon after that it was sticking to the road. Soon we couldn’t see the road and we were down to two lanes. Trucks passing sent waves of icy snow onto my car. And then the trucks were required to chain up. Just before the summit, I passed a sign requiring traction tires, but alas no tire store to purchase them! We crept to the summit at about 30 mph and then started downhill. That was worse! Cars were fishtailing and going about 15 mph. At one point I lost control, crossed a lane and nosed into a snowbank. I looked around (thank goodness it was still daylight) and the guy behind me was also in the snowbank and the guy in front of me was all over the road. Really, at that point one has to keep going or plan to sleep in a really cold car worrying about another vehicle slamming into you. I backed up, practiced my deep breathing and kept crawling along. Finally the road cleared and suddenly it was over. The photos show the relatively flat part before it got bad.
Snoqualmie Pass began as Native American foot trails used for hunting game and gathering plants. In 1865 a wagon road was made to entice settlers to Seattle. In 1884 it became a toll road. The first car went over the pass in 1905 and by 1915 there was a new two lane road. It wasn’t until 1931 that the road was kept open all year round. In the 1950s and 1960s it was expanded to a four lane road (2 in each direction) and renamed to I-90 to be reflective to the national highway system.
The nice weather man said to stay home and so I did. I grew up driving in snow, but that was a long time ago and I had snow tires then and the other people knew how to driving in snow. So, now I stay home! Here are some shots from the backyard 😀
They tell me there is a big old snow storm coming, though when I snapped this photo the skies were mostly blue. I needed some provisions (cookies, chips, milk, cheese) and stopped at Trader Joe’s and then for a cup of drip coffee at Green Fir’s Starbucks. It was packed and there was no inconspicuous way to take a photo, so I took one of the outside and it was truly awful! I mean really, really bad. So, here is a photo that I do like of one of the trees in the Green Firs Center. Now let’s see if we actually get this huge storm!
I love big claims… the world’s best pizza, burgers, etc. I love that Wallingford claims to be the center of the universe and I also love that Tacoma’s First Church of the Nazarene at 3640 South M is the Epicenter of Hope. So on this snowy day I drove over to the church to snap a photo. Their sign says that they have English and Latino Gatherings and that there is a Samoan Service at 2:00 on Sundays.