Tag Archives: hiking

Seattle Makes Me… head north, to the animals

Locals say this elephant seal pup has arrived at Mutiny Bay each spring for the last 5 years. It cools itself by flicking sand over its body.

Locals say this elephant seal has arrived at Mutiny Bay each spring for the last 5 years. It cools itself by flicking sand over its body.

A couple of days after our Portland trip I found myself heading in the opposite direction. This time it was north up to Mukilteo to catch the ferry for my first ever trip to Whidbey Island. I was kindly taken by car, but there was a group who came from downtown Seattle by bus – so even without transport it is fantastically accessible. And, an even bigger bonus, once on the island all bus travel is free. We were there to hike, a trip organised by two volunteer hike leaders from The Mountaineers.  Continue reading

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Seattle Makes Me… fill my week

Some-one asked if I was missing working the other day. I can’t remember how I had time for a full-on professional life! I guess at some point I will want to re-engage with it, I did rather like most of it after all, but at the moment it is such a luxury to have time to get to know this city and state. Whilst life here is slowly starting to find a pattern each week still seems full of surprises and new experiences. Here is a quick overview of last week as an example:

Monday – meeting a president:

IMG_0484The 39th President of the USA, Jimmy Carter, decided to pop along to see us on Monday. He is promoting his most recent book A Call to Action, which focusses on the suffering inflicted on women, across the globe including within the USA, by men who justify their behaviour through false interpretations of religious texts. A truly contemporary and topical issue. It was disappointing that the event was limited to a book signing as it would have been wonderful to hear him talk. This was saved for media interviews, which importantly meant more people heard overall I guess. At 89 years delivering a comprehensive book tour is quite an undertaking in itself (his west coast visit being Friday San Francisco, Saturday Los Angeles, Sunday Portland, Monday Seattle) yet many commented on how well President Carter looked. Continue reading

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Seattle Makes Me… walk the hill

photoJust over a week ago I planned and led a short walk here, and a few people suggested I should share the details with you all…

I have been having great fun learning about different neighbourhoods through tromping the streets. This has been really helped by following the advice of a hike leader I met through The Mountaineers (an organisation I will focus on another time) who introduced me to Sound Striders. Sound Striders is run through Seattle Parks & Recreation Department by volunteers. There are two groups one focussing on North Seattle the other on the South. They each select a neighbourhood to explore once a week for a number of weeks, meet for coffee at 8am by 8.30 they are out walking – usually around 6 miles – and then back to the same cafe for about 11am ready to get on with the rest of their day. Whilst I don’t match the criteria for taking part (over 55 years) everyone has been very happy to ignore that – and share their stories and top tips about Seattle as well as their routes. One of the group describes the walks as “a cocktail party on legs” there is no alcohol but lots of lovely non-stop mingling and chatting. Continue reading

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Seattle makes me… see falling water

IMG_20140221_131401

Admittedly we have had rain, but this post isn’t about that. That water was welcome however, a few heavy days of rain in Seattle meant really significant snow fall in the mountains and in no time a snowpack which had been at 50% the norm was back up to usual levels. As well as bringing much joy to those heading out for snow sports (well once the many high avalanche risks reduced) it also meant concerns over summer water shortages have disappeared.

IMG_20140221_092141So other water – because yesterday was a very spectacular visit to Wallace Falls State Park with Seattle Transit Hikers. This is a Meet Up group that mostly walks on weekends which doesn’t work for me, so I was fast to sign up when a trip was planned for a week day. They always catch public transport out to their hiking destination, hence their name. It takes about twice as long to get the Wallace Park on bus Continue reading

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Seattle Makes Me… doubt its reputation

Lake Washington from Log Boom Park

Lake Washington from Log Boom Park

Lake Washington

Lake Washington

It sets itself up as a dewy eyed thing, damp and dismal with long grey periods. But whilst chunks of the USA seem to be ‘freezing their butts off’ the PNW (Pacific North West) is having an exceptionally mild and dry winter. It excelled itself  last week by including four consecutive days of back to back sunshine and glorious blue skies – topping it off with wonderful sunsets. I’m regularly hearing “it is not usually like this” “don’t expect this every year” “this is the best winter since I moved here” so have been making the most of it. The house hasn’t been cleaned – but I’ve been to new parts of the city and revelled in glorious views.

One of many of the stairways which link homes, trails and parks across the city

One of many of the stairways which link homes, trails and parks across the city

I occasionally scan an ex-pat discussion forum, as it was really helpful when searching for immigration processing timescales and paperwork questions. People also talk about what they are missing from the UK – low walkability is a regular complaint. Well, much as with many other of their apparent losses, all we think is – move to Seattle! There are cars queuing on the freeway, but also miles and miles of waterside trails, copious green spaces and some delightful parks. Urban stairways ease access up and down the steep hills across the city. You never feel a lone walker here.
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