About Me

My photo
Just a meandering soul sharing my backyard. Visit my Flickr page too! www.flickr.com/photos/meanderingwa/

Friday, January 28, 2011

Pt Defiance

Yikes another week has slipped away. I received a comment on my last entry from "SRM" asking about a vacation in Washington State. I wanted to refer her to my entry on Pt Defiance.

Oops need to write said entry.

Anyway welcome SRM and see my comment in last post about your questions. I am happy to help you plan. I am also hoping you will start a blog about your home state.

Last Saturday, feeling the burden of being house and office bound for yet another gray drizzly week I went down to Pt Defiance in Tacoma. The weather report was for clearing, but at home it was certainly a dreary scene. Well a walk in the deep woods, in the rain is not so bad. By the time I got to the southbound freeway I could see that a convergence zone set up showed clearing skies to the far south.

Happy Me.

The parking lot was already filed when I arrived at 915. This large park, situated on a peninsula at the mouth of Commencement Bay is a popular destination for runners and walkers. The one way loop road lends itself for a nice metered 5 mile course. How nice it would be to have such a place near by. As I walked along the road I found a little hidden treasure. This culvert is signed in white pebbles " 1936 WPA". This road is a wonderful WPA project.

Thank you to all the hard working men. The WPA projects around Washington are still treasures. See my entry from last September ( Nisqually and Mt Rainier) to see a tunnel and a lovely stone bridge made by the CCC ; the Civilian Conservation Corps, established during the same time.

The entrance of the park is dominated by two large formal gardens; Rose and Iris. Come Spring this is just the place for a camera nut to explore. Attached to the Rose Garden is a lovely house, built in 1898 by the original keeper of the park, Ebenezer Roberts. The house , now called The Lodge, was built for a whopping

get ready for it


Pt Defiance is home to a nice little Zoo that focuses on Pacific Rim animal species. The Aquarium is well known for its Marine Mammal rehabilitation and they have received Walrus and Sea Otter rescued from unfortunate circumstance. It is a bit odd to be walking along and see Caribou and Musk Ox. I struck off into the wonderful woods. There are three major trail routes. I picked the one that bee-lines down the spine of the peninsula. Here the trees are wonderful. Many of them quite super sized.

You can appreciate the effect storms have in this place. Gaps in the canopy and tumbled logs can almost map the historic storms of the last 20 years. Even the previous weeks rain brought down a lot of little limbs and many tips and bits off the ends of branches.

In woods like these logs are usually sawed through to allow the trail passage and left in place. The serve a vital function. Nurse logs support and give rise to new growth. Logs also are shelter and highways for animals of the woods and they hold and stabilize soil.

A handy stump can be converted to a well placed sitting place. I have seen fallen trees cut into 6 to 8 inch thick slices and the discs serve as "stepping stones" in mucky places.

This fallen Western Red Cedar burst on impact. The smell was wonderful!

The westerly trail ends at Pt Defiance itself. Here you can see the beginning of the infamous Tacoma Narrows, home of Galloping Gertie. An early explorer said of this place that with a gunnery at this point and one across the water he could" stand in defiance of the world". These illuminated trees are Madrone. They are hallmarks of Puget Sound cliff sides.

With sunny skies there were many folks about. Some of the runners were clearly men from the nearby Joint Base Lewis / McCord. Nice to see but "excuse us Ma'am" as they ran past... well sigh.

Turning my eyes to nature study

Like all wet side mixed conifer woods this one is filled with life of every size.

Tiny moss spores

Licorice Fern growing on a trunk. This ferns rhizome tastes like licorice. Native peoples used to chew it or use the extracted juice for cough. There is also a mention of using it as a body wash for measles. I am sure it is a good astringent. I would say, too, it sweetens the breath.

It is a potent taste and a little dab will do ya.

Interesting shelf fungi encrusting a trunk and climbing a broken limb.

The grandest tree in the park is likely to be The Mountaineer Tree. This Douglas Fir is believed to be about 450 years old. I could not resist having a lie down at its base to get a squirrels eye view.

I went down to Owens Beach. This weekend ( January 22/23) was King Tide time. The highest tides of the year. At Olympia, in the area of the market, the high tide this morning as 17+ feet. Today there were many out of a beach comb. This is not the typical saltwater beach with plenty of shells. I did get a lovely polished bit of blue glass

and this nice photo of a Glaucous-winged Gull.

Back up the hill along a weaving staircase (feel the burn) and I was back staring at Musk Ox and once again at The Lodge. There is a nice little Japanese garden complex here, adjacent to the old trolley station which was fashioned with pagoda styling.

I recognized several trees here from Dr Kruckbergs garden; a Japanese Larch and a Spanish Fir. They also have a Moon Bridge over the water complex. See my Kubota Garden entry from October 2010 for a formal garden with a Moon Bridge.

I drove back to the freeway via Ruston Way along the waterfront. It was lunchtime and many of the restaurants and eateries were packed. I bet everyone just thrilled to be out in the sun. I had to stop when a big red boat caught my eye. This is Fireboat Number 1 built in 1929 and one of the first west coast fire boats. It is a grand thing to stand next to. neat and clean and fitted with water cannons. It makes quite a picture.

I will have to return in the Spring. The Iris and Rose Garden will be in bloom There is also a Rhododendron Grove in the park as well as the nearby Rhodi and Azalia collection at the Weyerhaeuser HQ.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Walk on the Wet Side

What a quick two weeks it feels to have been. All of a sudden, February is just around the corner.

The weather has been at the forefront of the news. Threats of Snopocolypse 2011 (long forecast in this La Nina year) came and passed us by with almost no notice. Well no, a lot of media attention.

Professor Mass had a wonderful series of "nowcast" entries on his blog which followed the forecast . On the day of the possible storm ( which he correctly predicted would really miss us)he posted a blow by blow account of the storm front and its shift away from the population center. A last minute shift of air flow carried the cold far to the north and made many ski bums in Canada happy. Here at home our own ski areas are packing them in with a wonderful full season of snow, just as Professor Mass predicted for La Nina Year. Our local weather bloggers are reminding us now that in La Nina years, snow in February and even early March can be expected. So we are not finished with our Winter. We have already had two snow events here in the greater Seattle area. They only impacted me once, that small delay on my Thanksgiving get-away. I am , however, in contact with a friend in California for some suggestions for a February escape.

The rain, wind and clouds feel unrelenting. The shift in the air-stream has us getting another weather river flow, the Pineapple Express. The river of moisture and clouds stream continuously out over the Pacific all the way past Hawaii. Locally all our land rivers are on Flood Alert with many already having jumped their banks. It is hard to get out and about when the winds are gusting 40 mph plus and rain seems to never stop.

But I had to get out today.

I started in the town of Duvall. This small town is east of where I live. Founded in the late 1800's by the Duvall family, the main part of town was set up to take advantage of a railway spur line. Timber was the main industry as was with many of the communities in the east half of King County. Later the town of Carnation was established to the south and dairy , including the famous Carnation Research Farm became a mainstay.

Today the area hosts many small farms including a lot of organic production. Several larger commercial farms host U-pick lots, particularly strawberries which come into peak season at the end of June. Duvall gained popularity in the 60's as a community for artists. Slowly, suburbia has edged in with many new shopping and business areas south along the highway. Still the population remains about 6000. Its slow growth might be due to the somewhat complicated access to and from the area. Roads west to the Greater Eastside and Seattle area are limited to two long and congested highways. Most of the highways are two lane and when accidents or weather snarl traffic, there are almost no options to work around the problem without detours of fairly great distance.

The old core of the main street has character and charm. It is filled with a diverse number of shops with an amazing number of eateries springing up. I strolled along today enjoying the colorful sites.

Duvall Books has been here over 30 years. The shop is one of those full to the ceiling types. Out front is a bench made out of books and the Official Mascot, Uncle Wiggily.

The Grange Cafe was established in 1960 in the old Cherry Valley Grange.

Baileys Country Cupboard, CC Espresso and Ice Creamery looks like the place where you can stop in, get a snack and all the latest news. This week is Random Act of Kindness Week.

There are a lot of little artistic embellishments.

The crosswalks are etched in a simple waves and salmon theme

Information kiosks and bus stop shelters have wood carved panels

I like this barber pole.

I could smell wood smoke as I walked along. Only one thing could produce that smell

The Armadillo BBQ... the best place to stop for take away when returning from a long hike in the mountains. Their smoke pit is right outside, right on the street front. A sign on the wall promises free dog bones ( "dog bones pro bono" )

The Quilters Garden is one of those stores for hard core fabric buffs. They sponsor the Outdoor Quilt Show every September and participate in many organized quilters events. I love the bubble fabric.

I drove south to the Snoqualmie River Trail and walked to see some of the flooding. The river is over the banks here but not threatening the town yet. Further downriver the city of Monroe is bracing for more water. Forecast says not to expect relief for almost 48 hours.

For now the cross valley roads are open, but 124th, my usual route, has been closed in recent days. The fields here have water almost to the edge of the road.

Going home this way I knew I would stop to get pictures of a little delight for you.

Several years ago I either saw an item on TV or read something in the paper about a gentleman who made carvings and posted them on trees. He finds cut stumps or limbs and makes a precise measure. He then makes a custom "endplate" for the exposed wood. He returns and places them, randomly.

I found one not long after having heard the story. It was the only one I knew of until early last year when one appeared not far from where I kept my horse.

So I stopped to take a picture on the first one, which required a hike along the road about 1/4 mile from the pull off place.

The second one was more conveniently located.

When I parked and looked over, the original piece had been joined by a second. As I walked closer I noted a third cap had been placed.

I researched for today's entry and I FOUND HIM!!!

Artist Daniel Cautrell and his "Offerings to the Wind" http://www.offeringstothewindproject.typepad.com/
See more examples of his tree caps, above.
His home page
His work looks familiar and sure enough, he carved the kiosk posts I showed above!

So now I know, when I feel like a treasure hunt, the Woodinville / Duvall / Carnation triangle is a great place to seek little treasures... Just keep away from the BBQ joint.