Posted in My Duwamish Adventure

Bushtit Forest Bebop

Deep in the Duwamish Greenbelt on an unimproved trail it was hot and sticky today. No breeze to cool me down as I climbed down into the ravine and then back out.

When I got to the bottom, I decided it was too steep to go down to the creek. There was water at the bottom enticing me that I had to resist.

Steep incline to creek – see my boot for perspective

However, it was so steep someone had put a strap for climbing up and down. This girl decided it was not worth the risk of a broken bone here in the suburban wilderness.

So steep a strap is there to help. NOT me!!

So, I turned around, put my mace away and started trucking up the trail back to civilization. Mace you ask? Here in the city of Seattle not likely I would meet a bear.  I carry it when I go off main trails due to the homeless and other odd folks one might stumble upon.

It was hot going up hill. Figure it to be in the mid 80s plus dang humid too. When I got back to my car I realized it was only in the low 70s there.  The off-path route was so deep into a ravine it had heated up more than the surrounding forest.

I stopped for a drink of water and to rest a bit when I saw a flash of little birds dancing through the bushes. They were singing in a tinkley way as they went. It was a mixed flock of bushtits, chickadees and kinglets flying from bush to tree to branch.

Then they stopped in a grove of oceanspray. There they were hanging upside down and sideways to nibble on the flowers that were going to seed.  Oceanspray which is also known as Ironwood has white flowing flowers that appear in the early summer.  It has been hot and dry here in the Pacific Northwest so this area’s bushes had turned pinky.

This short video of one of the bushtits bebopping around this pinky warm paradise is worth more than all the words I have. Enjoy how sweet the encounter was.

Posted in Crows at the Beach, My Duwamish Adventure

Crow Reflection

Reflection is a complicated thing and even crows spend time in serious thought or consideration.  However, how often do we find a crow and his physical reflection? That is the kind where the on-line definition is “the throwing back by a body or surface of light, heat, or sound without absorbing it.”

Here we have a good example of a Crow doing both. He is wandering the river bank in “serious thought” about what to eat. This is going on so close to the river his reflection time has a reflection.

Me & my shadow on the river

It is spring and there was a moment of shining light that reflected on the pondering crow’s back. He was glowing and so was the mirror image in the water. Dazzling!!

Crow Glow on the river

What do we have next… the glow is all alone or courtesy of photography it appears that way.

Shine on Mr Crow

I leave you with a view of where this serious reflection is occurring. Can you find Mr. Crow?

Look close on the far bank middle of the photo.
Posted in My Duwamish Adventure

Our Only River – The Duwamish

My adventure to walk the Duwamish River ended at Jack Block Park. Here we are at the mouth of the river at last. It is a bittersweet moment for me. We expect a river to be beautiful and dreamy. I think my video will tell the story of how Seattle’s only River is not so magical as it was 150 years ago.

I encourage everyone to walk the trails in our city. What I learned being on the street instead of driving on the street was tremendous. One will learn history, talk to your neighbors, and find new parks and restaurants to visit.

Bicycling is another option but I have to say I was passed by many cyclist who were in nothing but a hurry to get somewhere.

It is a skill to dawdle and saunter in this day of instant everything. The phrase “Stop and smell the Roses” is more true than ever.

See you out there Seattle!! Put down your technology and look, listen and learn life.

To see all of my Duwamish Adventure I have a directory post that links all of the pieces together.  You can find that post here – My Duwamish Adventure Directory

Posted in My Duwamish Adventure

Going Rogue seeking the Duwamish River

I am close to the end of my journey on the Duwamish and had decided I would attempt to get closer to the mouth of the river. I studied the maps and earth view of Jack Block Park trying to figure out how I could get past the obstructions and fencing that the Port put in place. Not really sure if I could or if trespassing onto Port T-5 was the smartest thing to do.

This weekend I went to the Park to scout out my options. The maps online just didn’t give me the true elevation of the area so I could not tell how to sneak around the water side of the point. My plan was to take pictures and then return on a low tide day.

The picture above is what the area looks like from the dock where I took great pictures of Seattle and some video of the mouth. Note the concrete block wall that holds back the bridges and towers that are on the east side of the old rail left in a man-made gully. Yes the Port does not want us in this area except to enjoy the high viewing tower. Fences and hills have been put in our way to discourage folks like me.

Second rail ramp to sound - by tower
Second rail ramp to sound – by tower

They did give us picnic tables and a little safe beach but I wanted onto the beach closer to the river.

Picnic area at Jack Block Park
Picnic area at Jack Block Park
The beach I wanted to get to.
The beach I wanted to get to.

From up on the viewing tower you can see the old piers and the mouth of the river in sight. It was so close I could taste it. My quest was nearing its end and there was the river entering Elliott Bay.

Distance view of docks
Distance view of docks

But before I could get to the beach on the other side I had to get around that cement wall and the fences that were at the end of the rail spur.

View of Elliott Bay from Tower
View of Elliott Bay from Tower and rail spur I had to get past

As you can see I am up high but wanted to get down on the ground. I took lots of pictures thinking I would examine them at home and make my approach another day.

However, the rogue in my took over and on my way down the path I decided to take a closer look at the only way I could see that would work. It was only a little hop over a short fence and I was on my way next to the concrete block wall.

Off trail by block wall
Off trail by block wall

This looks back at the fence I climbed over and shows you how brushy it was back here. This was the best path since down on the water side was a rough rock edge that was slippery and wet from tides coming in and out. I chose sticker bushes over rock climbing.

 

More brier patch
Brier patch looking out at bay

So, I followed the wall around until I got to the area close to the rail that was fenced off.

Wiggling down the wall behind brush
Wiggling down the wall behind brush
Behind blackberry bushes off trail
Behind blackberry bushes off trail
At the concrete wall corner off trail
At the concrete wall corner off trail
Sticker bushes block the path to the point
Sticker bushes block the path to the point

Then I couldn’t get through the brush. It was so thick and full of blackberry bushes. If you have ever been in stickers, you know they poke and stick to your clothing. OUCH!

I decided the only way to get around was to get to the rock edge and climb around on that. So, I pushed through the brier, climbed over piles of cut down pine tree limbs and made it to the water.

Looking around point at no trespassing sign
Looking around point at no trespassing sign

There I was under the end of the rail spur and making it around the point.

Fencing at end of 2nd rail spur
Fencing at end of 2nd rail spur

Then I had rogue remorse. What you say? Yes I saw that big No Trespassing sign, the light towers with cameras and all this fencing. It convinced me that I would be tangling with an organization that would have me arrested. That experience on public property at the SE security gate was a mild taste of what I would encounter.

So, I turned back and went home.

But before I left the water’s edge, I took some great photos that you saw in previous posts. This was to be the closest I could get. What an exciting end to my journey.

What a difference my walking the Duwamish was to the Green River Trail journey. Our only river has been changed forever from a thing of beauty and nature to a place of industry and commerce.

The finale of this adventure is in this next post. I made a small film of the river’s end.  Hope you enjoy it.

Our only River – the Duwamish

To see all of my Duwamish Adventure I have a directory post that links all of the pieces together.  You can find that post here – My Duwamish Adventure Directory

Posted in My Duwamish Adventure

Jack Block Park – Port of Seattle

This park was dedicated in 1997 after the Port of Seattle cleaned up quite a bit of pollution from the prior owners. They also developed the land south of this park into Terminal 5. Those that follow my posts will remember the trouble I got into at the SE security gate. If not here is that post and a global view of T-5. Terminal 5 Trouble  &  Terminal 5 from Jack Block Park

Dedication of Park in 1997
Dedication of Park in 1997

This park is surrounded by chain link fences that keep us the public out of Terminal 5 and two old rail road approaches to the water.  Not sure why the port left them intact but they do make for some interesting viewing spots. They built mini pedestrian bridges and a viewing tower to allow us to view the city and water but not trespass on the old docks.

The first old dock you come to is not far from one of the parking lots. It has the best view of the rails leading to the dock and how we are built out of that area.

Imagine them loading lumber on this ramp
Imagine them loading lumber on this ramp

How about a closer look at this old ramp?

Ramp with high tide debris
Ramp with high tide debris

And even closer so you can see the rot and deterioration.  Not sure this is even a viable ramp any more.

Rail ramp showing some wear
Rail ramp showing some wear
Old Rail Ramp surrounded by park
Old Rail Ramp surrounded by park

As I walked around to the area you see in the distance with green grass I got some photos looking back at the barges and this old ramp.

Looking back at rail ramp
Looking back at rail ramp

From the park dock that was built for us to enjoy the bay views from, I took some great shots of the city and Elliott Bay.

Seattle view from Jack Block Park
Seattle view from Jack Block Park
The Needle from West Seattle
The Needle from West Seattle

At the end of my adventure here I took the road that winds through fenced areas.  From that ground level side I got the next two photos of the rail that leads to the old wooden ramp. Can you imagine the old lumber mill using this to load and unload their product.

Old Rail Ramp to Bay with Crow guarding

Old Rail Ramp to Bay with Crow guarding

Barge parked on old rail ramp at Jack Block Park
Small viewing bridge  and barge parked on old rail ramp

That company was in this spot almost 100 years and times certainly have changed for Seattle. It used to be a lumber town and now it is a hub of technology and computer science.  One has to wonder if this latest boom will lead to a bust like after the Gold Rush to Alaska in the 1890s & 1900s and the 1970s when we asked the last person leaving Seattle to turn the lights out.

Getting to the river is near impossible from this park. I wondered if I could go off trail and climb my way to the mouth of the river. Check out the next post to see how I did going rogue and some views from around the viewing tower.

To see all of my Duwamish Adventure I have a directory post that links all of the pieces together.  You can find that post here – My Duwamish Adventure Directory

Posted in My Duwamish Adventure

Duwamish and Port of Seattle T-5

The view of Port of Seattle Terminal 5 from the viewing tower at Jack Block Park shows how large this property is. It is empty of traffic for a remodel of the docks to accommodate larger ocean-going container ships.

Security around this facility is tight.  Here is a post I did several weeks ago about the shake down they did on me at the southeast entrance. From that side of the terminal I also got some good photos of the old red cranes that are synonyms with the Port of Seattle.  Terminal 5 Trouble

Everywhere I went in the Park which is owned and maintained by the Port of Seattle fencing was tight. No holes or even cracks are in them.  This is unlike other areas I traversed on the Duwamish. They are on alert since the environmentalist had a serious demonstration around the Shell Oil Drill Rig Polar Pioneer that was docked here. I will let my crow helpers show you a little bit about the fencing.

T-5 Fencing and local crows
T-5 Fencing and local crows
Cranes and Crows
Cranes and Crows

Let us talk about razor wire and fencing!  The Port used it with no thought of expense.

Serious Barb Wire at T-5
Serious Barb Wire at T-5
Northern backside of T-5 looking East towards Harbor Island
Northern backside of T-5 looking East towards Harbor Island
T-5 serious fencing at Jack Block Park
T-5 serious fencing at Jack Block Park

One thing I found interesting is how much I could see from the viewing tower of the terminal. Funny how this is feature was Port built so the public can see the city and bay. All one has to do is turn around and there is a panoramic view of their business they are trying so hard to hide. This next series of photos really gives you the lay of the land.

Looking SE at T-5 - Upgrade to Pier in progress
Looking SE at T-5 – Upgrade to Pier in progress
Three offshore Tugs and support ships at T-5
Three offshore Tugs and support ships at T-5
T-5 from Jack Block viewing tower looking South
T-5 from Jack Block viewing tower looking South
West side of T-5 with W Seattle in distance.
West side of T-5 with W Seattle in distance.

There are three ships docked currently at Terminal 5.  In my prior post you might remember seeing a photo of them.

Ships moored at T-5 on Duwamish waterway
Ships moored at T-5 on Duwamish waterway

This trip I was able to get better photos of them. They are from north to south on the dock – Ross Chouest, NANUQ and AIVIQ. The AIVIQ had some nasty business up in Alaska in 2014. The Kulluk a Shell Oil Drilling Rig was grounded after the AIVIQ lost control of it in tow. Here are a few articles about this wreak and how the Coast Guard was not happy with Shell and Edison Chouest, the owner of the AIVIQ.

USCG and Shell around tow of Kulluk Oil Rig

Nat Geo article on Kulluk wreak

Ross Chouest - Big Tug/Supply ship at T-5

Ross Chouest – Big Tug/Supply ship at T-5

NANUQ - Offshore Supply Ship at T-5
NANUQ – Offshore Supply Ship at T-5
AIVIQ - Offshore Supply Ship at T-5
AIVIQ – Offshore Supply Ship at T-5

My quest to walk the Duwamish has been full of things like T-5 where industry has control of our river. We the public benefit from the commercial use of the Duwamish but not all of the companies have been good stewards.

The Port of Seattle has done a lot of work to clean up other people’s messes. Jack Block Park sits on top of one of those areas. So, I shouldn’t be too unkind to them for wanting to beat out a buck and lease the dock temporarily for ships that are involved in drilling oil. It is a conundrum of our times. We want to use our fossil fuel cars but do not want to own up to our part in the extraction of oil.

To see all of my Duwamish Adventure I have a directory post that links all of the pieces together.  You can find that post here – My Duwamish Adventure Directory

Posted in My Duwamish Adventure

Southern Alki Trail Sights

Around the corner of Harbor Avenue SW and Spokane Street SW there was a number of interesting sights to share with you.

The Alki Trail curves out of the cement bridge jungle onto a tree-lined avenue.  Behind all that pretty area is a rail yard which has steel mill slag, old rail cars, a pile of gravel and what used to be a large recycling company.

You know I like to share my experiences from the past around a particular site. If you look at the red building and how it is right up against the railroad.  That is where in the early 70s I went with a friend of mine from the Pike Place Market where I sold crochet bathing suits.  He had heard that in the road bed was some sort of crystal or rock he wanted to make jewelry out of. There was no fence then and we just went behind the buildings and started digging around in the dirt. Chain link fences now surround all of this area and there is no free style digging these days.

To the north of that intersection I got some views of the river mouth and Seattle. Times have changed at this intersection too. We used to drive from behind the Chelan Café to come out at Harbor Avenue. It was a bit of risky drive since right before you got to the intersection you had to pass through an old lumber mill with railroads and  overhead conveyors.

This is now the Superfund site called Pacific Sound Resources or formerly the Wyckoff West Seattle Wood Treatment Plant that dated back to 1909. From the clean up the Port has created its Terminal 5 and for us a park called Jack Block. The intersection was a busy place when cruising in our cars was hot. The small store was always busy and a boat dealer made a living there for years too.  That has all passed now and most have forgotten that you could cut through what now looks like a driveway.

US Coast Guard ship
US Coast Guard ship

 

City view from west side of Duwamish mouth
City view from west side of Duwamish mouth

From that area near the entrance to Jack Block Park I turned around and went back the way I had come. Along this corridor that most people think is pretty and use for exercise both biking and running I found more homelessness.

Clothing along trail
Clothing along trail
Homeless RV's on Harbor Avenue
Homeless RV’s on Harbor Avenue
Homeless park across from King Co Water Bldg
Homeless park across from King Co Water Bldg

See the building behind the RV?  That is King County Waste Water.  They had some really good art on it.

Art on King Co Waste Water Building
Art on King Co Waste Water Building
Art in cement on King Co Water Building
Art in cement on King Co Water Building

A relic of anther time caught my eye as I walked back.  It was an old tow yard abandoned.  It was surrounded with chain link fencing to keep the towed cars safe. A hole in the fence gave access to a phone booth.  That is a dying breed of communication.

Tow Yard old phone booth obsolete
Tow Yard old phone booth obsolete

Right at the busy intersection of Harbor and Spokane there was a homeless tent. Most folks just zip by and probably don’t even notice.

traffic zooms by homeless tent
traffic zooms by homeless tent
Homeless tent at intersection of Harbor and Spokane SW
Homeless tent at intersection of Harbor and Spokane SW

There is also a private kitty shelter that helps find homes for homeless cats.

Kitty adoption place
Kitty adoption place

To see more of my Duwamish Adventure I have a directory post that links all of the pieces together.  You can find that post here – My Duwamish Adventure Directory

Posted in My Duwamish Adventure

Duwamish Waterway North of Bridges

Before my trouble with T-5 security I walked between the T-7 buildings.  They were open for trucks to unload and did not have chain link fences obstructing access.  From there I got some great shots of the northern end of the Duwamish River.  This area is just past the West Seattle Bridge and close to what I would call her mouth.

It is an area of commerce and what a lot of us would call just plain junk left behind from another time.

There is also nature here and a troop of ducks cut across the waterway as a tug approached.

Ducks at home in the Duwamish River
Ducks at home in the Duwamish River
crossing the waterway a family of ducks
crossing the waterway a family of ducks
Tug in distance behind ducks on waterway
Tug in distance behind ducks on waterway

Then the tug was upon me.  I took a little video which not only shows the red tug but gives you an idea of how narrow this piece of the waterway is.

Red Tug approaches entrance to Duwamish Waterway
Red Tug approaches entrance to Duwamish Waterway

Now let us look at the stuff behind T-7 on the river bank.

On the West side of T-7 I was closer to the T-5 dock and noticed a gull sitting on a video camera.  At first I thought it was askew but then realized it was pointing at where someone might climb the fence. This was my first clue that security was tight around T-5.  Not a big surprise since the Arctic drill rig the Polar Pioneer had caused so much environmental activism.

DSCN8236

I leave you with a photo looking north towards the Duwamish River/Waterway mouth. This is an old dock on the side of T-5 and in the distance is Elliott Bay and West Seattle.

End of T-7 and the mouth of the Duwamish
End of T-7 and the mouth of the Duwamish

To see more of my Duwamish Adventure I have a directory post that links all of the pieces together.  You can find that post here – My Duwamish Adventure Directory

Posted in My Duwamish Adventure

Under West Seattle Freeway

As cars zip above on the West Seattle Bridge/Freeway below is another world. It is a maze of roads and pathways. Years ago this was a busy corridor when the road was not elevated.  It had grocery stores, gas stations, hotels, restaurants and taverns.  A real working man’s place across from a steel mill and a busy harbor.

I parked under the raised freeway not far from the Chelan Cafe which is really a survivor of that old-time. In the photo notice a couple of crows were making a living here.  They strutted out onto the road after the traffic passed looking for a tasty treat.

After I got onto the Alki Trail from my car I took a photo looking both directions up the corridor.

Blue Eagle was somewhere along here under West Seattle Freeway
Blue Eagle was somewhere along here under West Seattle Freeway

 

Eastward near Blue Eagle Tavern and Chelan Cafe
Eastward near Blue Eagle Tavern and Chelan Cafe

I can’t quite pinpoint where the Blue Eagle was.  I think it was closer to the Cafe than where these photos were taken. I even searched in vain for a plaque or other sign commemorating the old businesses.  All I found was hub caps placed on the decorative grid that was on the cement wall erected here.

Decorations on Wall separating T-5 and Spokane St SW
Decorations on Wall separating T-5 and Spokane St SW

Back in the early 90’s when we were out on the night riding our motorcycle, David took us to the Blue Eagle. It was near its end then with scared wooden benches and tables. It was now a biker bar or you could say a down on ones luck’s place. It had character but it was not to be kept around for the revival of things old.

In the timeline of the days adventure I went to the west and investigated the area behind the cafe which is Terminal 5 and 7.  Didn’t see 6 but it must have been there too.  That is where I got some good shots of the Duwamish Waterway plus got a talking to from T-5 Security.  See my other posts around Trouble at T-5 and one around the waterway.

Seattle Fire Department has a firehouse wedged down under the bridge. Station 36 has been there since 1919 and was the second station built for motorized fire trucks.  The original building a lovely spanish style building was replaced in 1971 by the one you see today.

Seattle Fire Station 36 under the bridge
Seattle Fire Station 36 under the bridge

The Alki Trail (this starts under the West Seattle Bridge) follows along the road here.  Here are some views looking east towards the river and the two bridges.

Alki Trail looking east on SW Spokane St.
Alki Trail looking east on SW Spokane St.
East view of Harbor Ave exit and Alki Trail
East view of Harbor Ave exit and Alki Trail
East view of West Seattle Bridge from Alki Trail
East view of West Seattle Bridge from Alki Trail

Peeking out of  the maze was this sign for Luna Park.  This area has a cluster of restaurants and other businesses surviving in some of the older buildings that have survived despite the bridge all around.

Luna Park area and Spokane St entrances
Luna Park area and Spokane St entrances

Swing around and look to the west now.  This is the exit and entrances for Harbor Avenue and Admiral Way.  Tad bit unnerving walking right next to the exit traffic.  Even with that big barrier and metal fence I walked as far away as I could.

Alki Trail eastward towards Harbor Ave SW
Alki Trail eastward towards Harbor Ave SW
West view of Harbor Ave exit and Alki Trail
West view of Harbor Ave exit and Alki Trail

That brings me to the end of under the bridge.

To see more of my Duwamish Adventure I have a directory post that links all of the pieces together.  You can find that post here – My Duwamish Adventure Directory