Apologies for not tending to your blogs last week but I managed to escape from the soggy winter of the Pacific Northwest to the perpetual summer and island paradise of Oahu!
Did you know that Hawaii has the longest life expectancy of any state in the USA?
I think I know why.
I’ll have much more to share with you soon but until then, Aloha!
As you know by now I’m from Washington and I’m rather proud of our beautiful state.
But right next door we have a wild and rugged neighbor, Idaho by name, that I have neglected on this blog. So I rummaged through my photos and thought I’d share a few from our travels there. I’ll start with my favorite.
Here we are, camping in the wilds of central Idaho at Stanley (population 69.) It was May and it was cold but we didn’t care.
Because we had this view to ourselves. I had forgotten! I think it’s time to go back.
A bit further south we found majestic Shoshone Falls sometimes called ‘the Niagara of the West.’ I’ve seen the other Niagara and I think the comparison is apt. And here there are no crowds.
Bruneau Sand Dunes
Have you heard of them? I hadn’t either until we stumbled across them on the same road trip. Fortunately I like to pick up postcards in my travels and this one has been at my desk for years, reminding me of our trip and giving me finger tip facts. According to the info on the back these are North America’s tallest sand dunes at 470 feet tall. Who knew?
Craters of the Moon
Last but not least is the otherworldly landscape of Craters of the Moon where lava flowed again and again, thousands of years ago.
I remember taking the short trail to the top of Inferno Cone under the blazing hot sun without carrying water. I have never felt so dry in my entire life. Big lesson learned!
Surprisingly there was vegetation at the top along with wind and panoramic views.
You may have noticed a disproportionate number of pictures from Craters of the Moon. Not because it was more beautiful than other places in Idaho but because we went there more recently. Back in the olden days we judiciously took our pictures on film and hoped we would get a few good ones. And a few good ones is all we got.
So Idaho needs another visit to do it justice.
The year started out balmy, lulling us into thoughts of spring, then surprising us with sloppy wet snow.
Then came the endless days of rain and even the locals grew weary. Did we let that stop us? Nope. We managed a walk whenever we could including this one at Seattle’s Lincoln Park.
This time we started out at the Fauntleroy – Vashon Ferry Terminal and though I love a ferry boat ride – and have taken hundreds of them across Puget Sound – I’ve made the trip to Vashon Island only once. Honestly unless you live in the bedroom island community there’s not much to do over there.
Instead we took the paved trail along the Sound
and had glimpses of the Olympic Mountains through the clouds.
I looked for killer whales frolicking in the water – and though I’m always hopeful – I have yet to see them.
Near the end of the paved trail we headed up into the woods via a steep – but thankfully short – trail.
Once on top of the bluff we encountered this beggar –
who might have smelled the peanuts we were snacking on.
After we relented, the crows appeared and demanded their share,
so it was time to move on.
We quickened our pace as we passed giant trees clinging to the cliff, their roots exposed.
We were right to be cautious – they do come down.
Soon we were back where we started, refreshed after a two mile walk in the park and ready to head home for lunch.
Until next time,
“We need to talk, Sue.”
“Sure Tiger, what is it?”
“It’s the boy, Sue. He won’t leave me alone.”
“I understand Tiger. I’m having the same problem.”
“Really?” he asked. “You too?”
“Oh yes, me too! Benji insists on joining me at my desk, then knocks my stuff around and takes over my keyboard. I can’t get anything done.”
“And when I try to transfer pictures to the computer he messes with my camera. I don’t dare interfere when those claws are extended.”
“You got that right Sue. Believe me, I know. What’ll we do?”
“I was going to ask you the same thing Tiger.”
“Well, I just try to stay out of his way till he cools down. Maybe you should too.”
“Good idea Tiger! Out he goes!.”
~ Susanne and Tiger
We were looking for a rainy day activity and found it at the Seattle Aquarium, where I was wowed by the beautiful sea life there. I was also impressed by the Seattle waterfront without the Alaskan Way Viaduct – hang on for that story. First l’ll show some of my favorites from the Aquarium.
When you first enter you see the ‘Window on Washington Waters’ – a giant tank full of fish and creatures representative of Neah Bay.
If you time it right you’ll see a diver chatting up the audience. Here she’s feeding a wolf eel, which turns out is not an eel at all but a long fish with strong jaws. Docile they said, but I wouldn’t want to be in her flippers!! 🙂
Next was ‘Life on the Edge,’ a look into the tidepools of Puget Sound, with starfish and sea anemones that you can touch.
The giant Pacific Octopus are nearby. I loved watching them though I have mixed feelings at their confinement – always a conundrum. We were told if they show signs of stress they are released back into the wild. I hope the octopus let them know. This one weighs 50 pounds though they can grow up to 150 pounds and have arms that can span to 20 feet across!
The most colorful fish are found in the Tropical Pacific exhibit. Is it just me or is the Yellow Tang smiling?
Finding Nemo fish are everyone’s favorite. Don’t you think it’s time for the Clownfish to have a name change?
Finally here’s a look at the Underwater Dome – where you see local fish mostly in gray and silver, much like our weather. This male Lingcod was patiently guarding the eggs laid by Mrs. Lingcod, hiding in what looks like a Styrofoam package below.
After the Aquarium we strolled along the waterfront and stopped to watch the Wheel, which is more solid than appears in this ghost image.
More like this.
Now about that Viaduct!
For 66 years Seattle’s waterfront was marred by an ugly elevated highway that ran next to it. Part of Highway 99, the Alaskan Way Viaduct was a noisy eyesore that blocked views of the waterfront from downtown. Here’s what it looked like from the Public Market.
And here’s what it looked like from underneath.
But I’m happy to report, it’s finally gone!
After the last earthquake it was deemed seismically unsafe. So after much political wrangling it was finally removed last year, piece by piece, and replaced by an underground tunnel built by a broad named Bertha. True! Bertha was the giant boring machine that plowed underground for many years, becoming famous when she got stuck but finally broke through!
There’s still much to be done to beautify the area where the Viaduct once stood but we’re finally on the way to having a first class waterfront, where you can catch a ferry, have some fish and chips and enjoy the surrounding area in peace and quiet.
I can hardly wait! 🙂
Tiger reminded me that I have not posted anything from him for quite some time.
So here’s a picture of the handsome one doing what he does best.
And again in his own words, from the earliest days of this blog in case you missed it – Never Wake a Sleeping Tiger.
Not much has changed.
~ Susanne and Tiger