Friday, September 08, 2006

Wrapping up Hike-a-thon

Well, I kept trying to wait until I had a story to tell, but my last couple of hikes were very uneventful. My black eye has faded away. Gorgeous Seattle weather, simple drive to the trailhead, walk, walk, walk, nothing outrageous to note.

I hiked 45 miles total and I raised $1181.25 for Washington Trails Association!

Thanks to everyone who contributed. I was really motivated to get out there and hike those last 5 miles for you guys.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Beach Logs Can Kill!

Olympic Peninsula Day Two:

I woke up bright and early to hike some waterfalls. I started with Marymere Falls here near Lake Crescent. Friends, Don and Gwen from Kernville, CA, had been here just a few weeks ago. I then headed to the Sol Duc Hot Springs area. I had never visited this part of the Olympic National Park before and I was curious to see the Hot Springs and there was supposed to be a spectacular waterfall. I suppose I knew in the back of my mind that this was a very popular destination. At one time, Sol Duc Hot Springs was one of the most elaborate health resorts in the country. A half-million dollars was spent constructing the spa, which featured a four-story, 165-room hotel that opened in 1912. In 1916, the roof of the main building caught fire. Strong winds scattered the sparks and within hours the resort burned to the ground. Today's resort is a small operation in comparison. Legend has it that the hot springs are the tears of dragons! Two dragons had a duel over a boundary dispute and it ended in a draw. They crawled back to their caves and cried tears of mortification.

I was not prepared for the crowds of people who were at the Hot Springs at 10 am on a TUESDAY! I can only imagine how it is during the weekends! The two huge tour buses in the trailhead parking lot should have clued me in. As well as the long line for the ladies pit toilet at the beginning of the hike. It was a traffic jam on the bridge over the waterfall. This trailhead is also a jumping off point for backpacking trips into the interior of the Olympic National Park, so you had Japanese Tourists rubbing shoulders with stinky backpackers just back from 7 days in the woods. It was something else! I had originally planned to camp at the campground at Sol Duc, but the crowds scared me away and I decided to drive on out to the coast to find somewhere a little less hectic.

When I got out to the beach, it was dreary and cloudy on this side of the Peninsula. But that did not stop me from hiking out to Hole in the Wall. It is about a 3 mile hike round trip and I had timed it perfectly. The tide was low enough to allow plenty of beach to walk on. When I got back to the trailhead, I had to climb over the huge driftwood logs that line the beach. There are always signs warning that “Driftwood Logs Can Kill!” And I always thought that this was highly amusing. Until now! I stepped on a log and it shifted underneath my feet and I fell. I hit my head and thank goodness I did not knock myself out! But I was pretty banged up, and I was definitely going to have a black eye.

I decided to call it a day. I went to a new campground that I had never been to before. The Klahowya Campground was very nice along the Sol Duc River and Snider Creek. There was hardly anyone there which was nice after the crowds at Sol Duc Hot Springs. I spent most of the evening with ice on my face hoping that I wouldn’t look too horrible in the morning.
Originally, I was going to spend another night over here, but after my fall, I just wanted to go home. When I woke up on Wednesday morning, I figured that I would start heading back to Seattle. I drove back along Hwy 101 towards Port Angeles. When I got to Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge seemed to call to me. I had never been up there. Once a long time ago, when my sister, Alisa was here for a visit we tried to drive up there, but there was still snow on the ground then and they required you to have chains to attempt it. We had given up on the idea that time. This was my chance to drive up there. I could even do a short hike up Hurricane Hill for hike-a-thon. It is a lovely drive to the top and very popular, lots of folks up here. And lots of bicyclists! It is about 17 miles up from Port Angeles and pretty much a 7 percent grade the whole way.

I enjoyed the views from the top and then made my way back down towards Seattle. I had a decision to make. Should I take the ferry back to Edmonds, or drive further south along the Kitsap Peninsula and take the ferry directly back to West Seattle? Well, if I went to Edmonds I would be in 5 o’clock traffic through downtown Seattle. Nope, not going to do THAT! So a direct hop to West Seattle looked like the best thing to do. I hiked 6 miles on Tuesday and 3 miles on Wednesday to bring my hike-a-thon total to 40 miles! I hope to get in about 5 more miles before the end of the month.

Lake Crescent

On Monday, I got back to Seattle from working the redeye. I was lucky to get a passenger seat and not the jumpseat, so I was able to sleep for 5 hours on the flight back to Seattle. So I was ready to get in the car and drive over to the Olympic Peninsula for some camping and hiking.

First thing was to take the Ferry over. There are about a half a dozen ways to get to the Olympic Peninsula from Seattle. You can drive around the south and not get on a ferry at all. And what fun would that be?? You can take the ferry from West Seattle, you can take the ferries from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island or Bremerton. You can take two ferries, one from Everett to Whidbey Island and another from Whidbey Island to Port Townsend. Or you can do what I did and take the Edmonds ferry to Kingston. I had never taken that particular ferry before, so it was a new experience!

And I am still not on the Olympic Peninsula. I am only on the Kitsap Peninsula. I still have to cross the Hood Canal floating bridge. But first stop for me once over on the other side was Port Gamble. I had never been through the town of Port Gamble and it is just too cute.

The town is a National Historic Landmark with picturesque, turn-of-the-century buildings filled with antiques, an historic church, and New England style homes on tree-lined streets. There was a little tearoom and a used bookstore! I stopped for a quick bite to eat from a Clam and Oyster vendor on the town square! Yummy steamed oysters!

Onward to the Olympic Peninsula, I sped through the towns of Sequim and Port Angeles on my way to Lake Crescent. I adore Lake Crescent. It is such a gorgeous lake. It is fjord-like with mountains rising up around it and the color of the water is deep, deep royal blue. It looks bottomless. And was thought to be bottomless by the local indians. The Klallams would never cross it by canoe. They believed that there were evil spirits that would drown anyone who tried to fish there. It actually is more than 600 feet deep at its deepest point.

I had come here to hike the Spruce Railroad Trail. It winds around the north shore of the lake. It was originally a railroad that was built during WWI to haul wood to Port Angeles build airplanes for the war effort. Ironically, the railroad tracks were finished after Armistice Day and nothing was shipped on it during the war. It was used for commercial logging until the 1950’s and the Park Service created a trail out of it in 1981. There are two tunnels along the trail, but they are collapsed and you can’t walk through them. I only hiked out to just past the first tunnel. It was getting late and the lake can seem kind of spooky.

There is a ghost story associated with the lake. “Lady of the Lake” is about a woman who was murdered in 1937. Her body had turned to soap! The lake is fed continuously by the Olympic Mountains snowmelt. When you're six hundred feet down in frigid water, you don't rot. You're preserved and saponification sets in. She was down there for three years at 38 degrees Fahrenheit and after the cold stopped the decay, salts in her system changed all her fatty tissues little by little, and she turned to soap. The depths of Lake Crescent contain a unique mixture of calcium and alkili that cause this saponification to take place. Investigators were able to identify this woman as the missing Hallie Illingsworth and eventually her estranged husband was extradited from California and in a sensational trial was convicted of her murder.

I camped Monday Night at the Fairholm Campground by Lake Crescent. Previously I hiked two miles in Seattle on my layover and on Monday, I had hiked 4 miles for a total of 31 miles for hike-a-thon!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

An Uneventful Alki Walk

Ryan left early in the morning for Oregon and backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail. Since I was already up and awake, I thought I would go for a walk on Alki and get some mileage under my belt. We hike along Alki because it is easy. It is basically in my backyard. When you leave my apartment and walk straight down the hill towards the water, you hit the beach at Constellation Park. Nice flat beach to walk on for an easy 4 miles for me today!

At Constellation Park, there is a really neat "tidepool" sculpture set in the sidewalk and access to the rocky beach. At lowtide, you can walk along the beach all the way around the point to the Alki Point Lighthouse. At hightide, it is better to walk along the sidewalk. But there is plenty to see along the sidewalk. Hollywood has their walk of stars and this is Seattle's walk of stars. However, ours are of the heavenly variety! They don't call it Constellation Park for nothing. Embedded in the sidewalk are diagrams of a dozen or more constellations. From the Big Dipper and Leo to Orion and Scorpius. It's an astronomy lesson at your feet.

Once you round the bend, you reach Alki Beach proper. Sand and firepits, picnic tables and volleyball nets. And a long line of restaurants, bars and coffeeshops. Sunfish: Fish and Chips is my Dad's favorite. Pegasus Pizza is another favorite of ours. Celtic Swell is the local Irish Pub! And Dukes Chowderhouse is where my sister, Alisa, and I had Thanksgiving dinner once.

A monument marks the spot where the first white settlers landed here at Alki in the winter of 1851. They soon left and built their city across Elliott Bay on the less exposed shores of Seattle’s current waterfront.

The first Settlers named this area New York-Alki. New York because I think some of them were from New York and Alki was a native word meaning by and by. Hopefully, this area would be like New York by and by??!! Well, we do have a Statue of Liberty. It is usually standing around here somewhere, but she keeps getting her torch stolen. She is currently off for repairs in Tacoma. After the 9/11 attacks, the statue was a place that people would leave flowers, flags and momentos as a kind of memorial. Hopefully, she will be back soon.

On down the beach is the site of Luna Park. Built in 1907, Luna Park was a seaside pleasure resort like the famous Luna Park on Coney Island in New York. There was a swimming pool, a dancing pavilion and a skating rink. They boasted of having the longest bar on the bay! And there was a thing called the Joy Wheel, The Joy Wheel looks alot like the swings in modern day amusement parks and fairs. There are viewfinders along the walk where Luna Park used to be located. Inside the viewfinder, is an image of the Joy Wheel. So you are looking out over Elliott Bay and you can see the ferry boats go by with the image of the Joy Wheel from 1907 in your eyes. Luna Park closed in 1913 and burned down in the 1930's, but if there is a very low tide, you can still see some of the pilings from when the pavilion was here. The last time that happened there was a huge traffic jam around West Seattle as folks drove over to get a glimpse of the pilings!

All along the walk at Alki there are images embedded in the sidewalk about the native americans, the first settlers and the flora and fauna of the area. And then there are the views of the boats and islands and Seattle with the Space Needle in all its glory. It all combines to make the Alki walk alot of fun. Plus stopping for a Starbucks or a Guiness at Celtic Swell isn't so bad either!

I hiked 4 miles on Alki and then another mile at Lincoln Park. This brings my total for the hike-a-thon up to 25 miles.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A History Lesson

The other day, I drove out to Cougar Mountain to hike the Coal Creek Trail. I really enjoy hiking at Cougar Mountain. I hiked this trail last year for hike-a-thon. One of the reasons that I like the Red Town Trailhead so much is the history.

The Cougar Mountain area: Newcastle and Red Town, was once a thriving coal mining operation. Millions of tons of coal from this area was sent by railroad to Seattle and used for energy. It was also shipped from Seattle to San Francisco. The town had a telegraph office and daily mail service, two churches, a hotel, and a general store. The coal mines were so important to this area that when President Rutherford B. Hayes visited the Seattle area in October of 1880, he made speeches at Newcastle.

Today there is not much left to see of this ghost town. Because it was a company town, when they were through mining, they packed up and took everything with them. Any homes or buildings that remained were then scavenged during the Great Depression. The Coal Creek Trail follows the rail line that carted the coal to Seattle. There is a concrete foundation from the boiler of the hotel at the beginning of the hike. You can see an old mine shaft and by the waterfall is the site of the old locomotive turntable. Odd little hills and hummocks are the remains of the debris piles that were left from the mining operation.

One of my favorite remnants of the coal mining era is down the Primrose trail. There is a coal car wheel attached to a tree. And what might be the rusted shell of a coal car near the junction of the Primrose Trail and the Coal Creek Trail.

I hiked the Coal Creek and Primrose Trails for 4 miles. This brings my total mileage for hike-a-thon to 20 miles. And I am only $20 away from having $1000 in pledge money!! Thanks so much to everyone who has been supporting me during the hike-a-thon.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Tale of Two Mountains

Well, they aren’t really huge mountains, but I hiked both of them this week: Little Mount Si and Mount Peak. Little Mount Si is the little brother of Mount Si. Mount Si is an 8 mile hike straight up, Little Mount Si is a 5 mile hike that meanders through the forest and goes up to a nice little bald (elevation 1576) with views of I-90. Real hikers snub their noses at Little Mount Si, but it is just right for my hiking abilities.

Mount Si and Little Mount Si were formed millions of years ago by an upthrust along a fault line. The Mountains got their name from an early settler named Josiah (Uncle Si) Merritt. He lived at the western base of the mountains near the site of present day North Bend, WA. Supposedly Mount Si was never logged, but in 1910 a fire engulfed the whole mountain. The growth on the mountain today is a result of that burn in the early 1900’s.

When I got to the parking lot at Little Mount Si yesterday morning, it was already full. There were only 2 spots left and I took one of them. There were two vans, which should have warned me that the trail would be crowded with kids! I have never seen the trail so busy and especially on a week day! But it was a gorgeous sunny day in Seattle with highs in the 70’s and everyone was taking advantage of the weather.

Today, the weather was still cool, but cloudy. I drove down to Enumclaw to tackle Mount Peak. I have always known this little mountain as Mount Peak, but it has a bunch of different names. Mount Pete and Pinnacle Peak are two of them. It is also the site of the Cal Magnusson Trail. Supposedly the mountain was called Mount Pete, for a Yugoslav named Pete Chorak who emigrated to Enumclaw, WA in 1911 and donated the land for the park. The trail to the top was named for Cal Magnusson, a local Boeing Employee, who had hiked and maintained the trail for the past several decades. I don’t know why it is called Mount Peak or Pinnacle Peak!

Mount Peak is a volcanic knob that was encased by the later deposits of the Osceola Mudflow. The Osceola Mudflow was when part of Mount Rainier sloughed off about 5,600 years ago and sent a slurry of rock and glacier into the river valleys. Mount Peak tops out at 1800 feet and used to have a Forest Service Fire Lookout at the top. It is long gone and all that is left is the evidence of the foundations.

Unlike Little Mount Si the day before, Mount Peak was practically deserted. There were only two other cars at the trailhead and I passed their owners as they were making their way down the hill. Mount Peak is a 2 mile hike, mostly straight uphill, but it is over quickly! It was cloudy today and there were only peek-a-boo views through the trees along the climb to the top.

All my mountain climbing resulted in 7 more miles for the hike-a-thon. For a total of 16 miles!

Monday, August 07, 2006

WTA Magazine

Today I hiked around Tradition Lake near Issaquah, WA. I did 3 1/2 miles for the hike-a-thon for a grand total of 9 miles over all.

Also we have hit the $900 dollar mark with pledges. But I don't want anyone to get the idea that it is okay to stop there. $1000 would be really great!! And it is not that far away. Also remember if you haven't already paid me, I need your money by the end of August.

Nothing exciting happened on my hike today, so I thought I would talk about the Washington Trails Magazine. If you pledge at least $35 you get a membership to the WTA and a subscription to the Washington Trails Magazine. This is a great little magazine. It comes to your home 10 times during the year and it has some great articles about hiking around Washington State, and there are general articles too! Like "Backpacking with Kids" and Gear Reviews.

Heck, just the photos alone will make you drool over all the great hiking we have here in the Pacific Northwest!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Getting a Slow Start

I didn't rack up much mileage today, but I had a wonderful time hiking a couple of miles.
As many of you know, I am an avid letterboxer. I have been letterboxing for 5 years and that is how I met my boyfriend, Ryan. Letterboxing is an intriguing hobby combining artistic ability with delightful "treasure-hunts" in beautiful, scenic places. Participants seek out hidden letterboxes by following clues (that are available online), and then record their discovery in their personal journal with the help of a rubber stamp that's part of the letterbox. In addition, letterboxers have their own personal “signature” stamps that they use to stamp into the letterbox's logbook.

Today, two letterboxers from New Mexico were arriving into SeaTac Airport and were interested in meeting us to exchange signature stamps. I suggested that we meet at Des Moines Creek Park to hike the trail there and hunt for letterboxes. We met around noon and had a lovely time hiking the trail. It is a wonderful flat, paved biking and hiking path near SeaTac Airport. The airplanes were taking off over the park today and we got some close-up views of the bellies of several 737’s, DC-9’s and a couple of 747’s! Also the blackberries were out in force. They were everywhere and ripe for picking.

After an appetizer of blackberries, we went to the Red Robin at Southcenter Mall for lunch. We had a delightful visit with Lion’s Mane and his friend from New Mexico! I got in 2 miles today for a total of 5 ½ miles overall for the hike-a-thon.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Hike-a-thon Begins!

Today is August 1st and the official beginning of the WTA Hike-a-thon. Since I was home from work, I had to get out and get in a few miles today. I went to St. Edwards State Park in Kirkland, WA. The land on which Saint Edward State Park sits was once owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle and was used as a seminary until 1977. When the seminary closed, the land was sold to the State of Washington and the park was created. There are several miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking and at least one mile of trail along the Lake Washington Shoreline. The park was pretty busy today with lots of families with children around the playground and a youth group having a cookout at the picnic area. There was even trail maintenance going on along the drive and I got to see them cut down a dead tree!
I hiked a figure eight loop for a total of 3 1/2 miles today.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Camping and Hiking Near Roslyn, WA

Northern Exposure Fans, I was in the thick of Cicely, Alaska this past week! Northern Exposure was a quirky, surreal television series on CBS in the early 90's. It started out as a summer replacement show and went on for six seasons! The show was set in a small, remote (and fictional) town called Cicely, Alaska. The show was a "fish out of water" story with Jewish, New York City physician, Joel Fleischman coming to Alaska and clashing with the laid-back and quirky citizens of Cicely. I give you this background information because I found out that Ryan had never watched Northern Exposure and was not quite sure what it was about!

It was filmed right here in Washington State in the town of Roslyn, about 90 minutes east of Seattle. Ryan and I drove out there on Tuesday for some camping and hiking. First stop was Roslyn of course so that I could bask in the locations of the television show. Joel's office is now a gift shop featuring Northern Exposure T-shirts etc. KBHR is just down the street and Ruth Ann's Store too! And the Brick is just like it was on TV. A Real Saloon. We didn't eat or drink there, maybe next time.

We headed out of town and down some tricky gravel Forest Service Roads to Beverly Campground. We had our pick of the 13 sites and we chose the perfect campsite right beside a burbling little stream. We even had our own "beach".

Ryan fixed our dinner and we camped out underneath the stars.

The next morning, we headed to the Esmeralda Basin Trailhead. Any Trailhead that starts with a waterfall is sure to be a winner. Those of you who know me well, know that I like the flat trails, so this one was rated Easy in the guide books. I had my reservations as we started up hill! We soon entered lush meadows leading gradually upward. Lots of wildflowers, shooting star, phlox, indian paintbrush, columbine and some thistle too! Plus more that we weren't sure what the names were!

I am not the rabid hiker that Ryan is, so I stopped at a backcountry campsite to relax and read a book while he continued up to the pass towards Lake Ann. In an hour or so, he returned and we returned together to the trailhead. He did bring back a treat for me. Snow from the higher elevations! It always pays to carry extra ziplocks with you.

We had packed up our campsite and continued back to Cle Elum to stop at the Ranger Station and investigate where to go next. The folks in the Ranger Station were very helpful and we bought a few maps and continued out past Roslyn again to Lake Cle Elum. Another 13 miles on yucky gravel roads brought us to the Deception Pass and Cathedral Rock Trailheads.

There was supposed to be a campground at the end of the road according to our maps, but when we got out there, it looked like parking for the trailheads only. We looked on every information board in the two parking lots out there and we didn't see anything saying that we couldn't camp! So we spread out our gear and decided to spend the night right there.

The next morning, Ryan wanted to go on a long 14 mile hike and I wanted to do the shorter, flater lakeside hike, so we compromised. Ryan started off early and would hike a loop towards Hyas Lake. I would hike in to Hyas Lake, spend some time there and eat lunch and meet with him and we would hike out together.

I should mention that although there were 3 or 4 cars at the Esmeralda trailhead, we only saw two other hikers while we were there and there were no people at all at our Beverly Campground on Tuesday evening. There were about 6 or 7 cars at the Deception Pass Trailhead and two sets of hikers hiked out and left on Tuesday Evening. When Ryan and I started out Wednesday morning, we had not seen anyone around.

Ryan started off first as he had farther to go. I cleaned up our campsite and packed everything away before I started off in the opposite direction to Lake Hyas. The trail was extremely flat and I was perfectly happy to walk along amid the wildflowers and forest! There were lots of creek crossings to make things interesting. Once I reached Lake Hyas, I found a comfortable spot to settle down and I got out my book to read. Lake Hyas is a backcountry camping spot and there were the cutest backcountry toilets. Ryan is an old hand at privies in the middle of the woods, but I am a newbie and I was fascinated!

It was a gorgeous sunny day and I took off my shoes and waded in freezing waters of the lake. They don't call this the Alpine Lake Wilderness for nothing! I don't think anything could have persuaded me to go swimming in that cold water. But it was refreshing to get my feet wet after sitting in the hot sun for a while. Across the lake I had wonderful views of a raging waterfall.

Ryan soon joined me and we headed back to the trailhead. On our way out, we ran into two sets of backpackers headed for Tuck and Robin Lakes. Ryan shared his adventures with me as we hiked out. That raging waterfall that I could see from Hyas Lake, he had to ford that river. It was quite the adventure! There are signs saying that it is a dangerous ford and horses and stock animals should not attempt it. Luckily, the water only came up to Ryan's knees, but it was very swift moving with lots of uneven terrain beneath the white water. A tricky thing to do. Ryan had his hiking stick to help him keep his footing. He ran into several people on the trail around Cathedral Rock. Also that part of the trail is a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. So Ryan was very excited to have done a small portion of the PCT!

We decided to head back to Seattle for the evening. We stopped in Issaquah at the Qdoba Restaurant for an awesome burrito for dinner and missed most of the 5 o'clock traffic into town. All in all, I hiked approximately 10 miles to Ryan's 25 miles this week.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Alki Walk

To get ready for some serious hiking in August, I have been trying to get out and walk more often. Ryan always takes a long walk (7 miles or so) every day. So last night when I got home from working from Philadelphia to Seattle, I told Ryan I wanted to go on his Alki Walk with him. He was pretty surprised. I am usually too tired to do much of anything when I get home from flying. But I felt pretty good last night and it was a lovely night. Warm and clear. You could see lots of stars.

We didn't realize how late it was until we were walking along Alki Beach and a police car drove up, shining his spot light on us and some other folks sitting on benches by the beach. "The Park is Closed, Move Along" blared over the loudspeaker. The Park is closed! What Park? The Beach? So we walked up to the "regular" sidewalk. About 12 yards away from where we had been walking. Arrgh. Seems as though the beach closed at 11pm.

We continued our walk around Alki Point and saw great views of downtown Seattle. I also enjoy watching the ferry boats go back and forth when they are all lit up like miniature floating cities. Ryan likened them to miniature floating prisons. Because of all the lights that were on the boats! I didn't realize that prisons had lots of lights, but I guess they do.

I was starting to get tired of walking, and we still had a long way to go to get back to my house. Ryan kept telling me that there was a 7-11 where I could get a cold drink somewhere on Harbor Drive. I did not believe him and he kept telling me it was just around the next bend. "where the Water Taxi pier, well, where Salty's Restaurant, well it's the next bend!!"

At Alki Point the cops were back. This time with a tow truck and they were threatening to tow away cars. "No Parking after 11pm" blared over the loudspeaker. There were several couples walking like Ryan and me. There were also a few guys fishing along the breakwater. They scurried to move their cars.

Ryan and I were walking and talking as we made our way past Salty's Restaurant and several cars passed us on their way to the Beach. Suddenly, as a car was going by, I heard some popping noises like firecrackers. Then pop, pop something hit in the bushes to our left. Ryan felt the breeze of something as it sailed past his nose! WE WERE SHOT AT! Well, it was probably a BB Gun, but WE WERE SHOT AT! It really freaked me out. If Ryan had been walking a little faster, they could have hit him in the eye. All my Nancy Drew training totally left my head. I can't tell you what the car looked like, I don't know the license plate number. I was totally in shock.
Should we call the police? Where are the cops when you need them? They had been swarming Alki all night bugging the hell out of us. And now when we needed them, they were no where in sight.

I started walking along with renewed vigor! I just wanted to get home. We finally did reach the 7-11. But I didn't want to stop anymore. We didn't call the police either. We didn't know what the car looked like. There wasn't much we could tell the cops about the hooligans. We just hoped that the police were still hanging around Alki and would deter the people in the car from any more mischief. This is what I get for going walking at 11 0'clock at night!

We made it home safe and sound. Just another layover in Seattle for me!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Dinner Train~Pledges are up to $850

I am really getting excited about starting to hike for the hike-a-thon. Ryan and I have several camping and hiking trips planned for August. And we are going to be doing some hiking next week as a pre hike-a-thon treat! My pledges are up to $850. Only $50 away from my $900 goal and I really think I can make it to $1000 this year. You should want to surpass your goal right?!

Ryan and I went on the Spirit of Washington Dinner train this week for his Birthday Dinner. It was a lot of fun. It leaves from Renton at 6:30 pm. So we were out there about an hour early. I wasn't sure about 5 o'clock traffic heading for Renton, so we budgeted plenty of time to get there.
They had a little bar set up and you could get a drink while you were waiting, so that was nice. I had a glass of wine. The little depot is set up like a real train depot and it is really cute. There are pictures on the walls of the original train service in the Renton area.

We boarded the train and I ordered a three-course wine assortment to go with my meal. We were sitting in the dome car in order to get the best views during the trip. Although Ryan did notice that the leg room was better in the other cars. Our booth was a bit cramped. We had a booth to ourselves and did not have to share with the other tourists on the train. We started the meal with bread. They had a selection of rolls including corn bread muffins and a trio of butters that included a salmon butter! Our server came by with wonderful salad tossed with toasted almonds and a fancy dressing. They even give you the recipe for the salad dressing in your brochure for the train! Ryan was a bit thrown by the sour tomatos. They were actually grapefruit slices. The main course—I had the salmon and Ryan had the prime rib—was okay...I've had better.

The ride was really enjoyable. I haven't been on a real train before, only tourist trains like this one, so Ryan was able to regale me with his Amtrak adventures as we set off. The total trip is about 3 1/2 hours and you spend 45 minutes up at the Columbia Winery. The train tracks go along Lake Washington and we were able to recognize many of the sites as we made our way north to the Columbia Winery. It was also fun to check out the homes along the route. The train stops at the winery and you can take a little tour of the operations of the winery or you can find a letterbox like we did! We spent the rest of the time, perusing the gift shop. (well, Ryan perused while I did some wine tasting)

The highlight of the return trip was dessert and the balloons that were sailing around the Woodinville area. A balloon ride, that will have to be our next Birthday adventure! For dessert, I had the Chocolate Cake with Raspberry puree and Ryan had the Apple Crisp. Both were excellent. Mine came with a Whidbey Island Port that was very nice.

I recommend taking the Dinner Train during the summer months when you can see all the scenery. We had first considered this trip for my birthday, in March. But it would have been dark most of the time on the train. I think it is much more fun when you can see all the sights along the way.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

16 Pledges-$720!!

Wow, You guys have been awesome! So far I have 16 pledges for a grand total of $720. Only $280 more to go to get to $1000. Wouldn't that be wonderful for Washington Trails!

Washington Trails Association Members play a vital role in preserving Washington State's wealth of trails by supporting a volunteer program, legislative outreach, and informative publications. Each year, WTA recruits and trains over 1800 volunteers to maintain hundreds of trail miles throughout Washington, both in the backcountry and in parks closer to home. They publish Washington Trails Magazine ten times a year and deliver it straight to your mailbox. In every issue is the latest outdoor recreation news, helpful backpacking advice, and trip reports from across Washington State. They lobby for issues that impact hikers in Washington, DC and in Olympia. The WTA works closely with fedral and state policymakers to advance hiker's interests in Forest Planning and new recreation projects. They engage hikers in trail protection through trail reports, potlucks with Forest Service Personnel and an email advocacy network.

For all of you who want to come out to Seattle and visit Mt Rainier and The Olympic Pennisula!, Help support the hiking trails in these areas! Help me to raise money for the WTA Hike-a-thon!

Thanks so much,
Amanda from Seattle

Movies left:

Sleepless in Seattle (VHS)
Assassins (VHS)
Benny and Joon (VHS)
Life or Something Like It (DVD)
Say Anything (VHS)
Get Carter (DVD)
Disclosure (DVD)
Singles (VHS)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Eleven Movies left!

The Movies have proven very popular and they are going fast. Here is an updated list of what is left:

Sleepless in Seattle (VHS)
Enough (DVD)
Assassins (VHS)
The Fabulous Baker Boys (VHS)
Benny and Joon (VHS)
Life or Something Like it (DVD)
Get Carter (DVD)
Say Anything (VHS)
Disclosure (DVD)
Enough (DVD)
An Officer and a Gentleman (VHS)

So far I have 11 Pledges for a total of $455!! I am halfway to my monetary goal!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Pledges are coming in/movie synopses

So far I have 8 pledges totalling $345!! Hurrah!

Here is an updated list of the movies available:

DVD Titles:

Life or Something Like It: Starring Angelina Jolie, Tony Shalhoub, Stockard Channing and Edward Burns.

Plot Synopsis A reporter, Lanie Kerrigan (Jolie), interviews a psychic homeless man (Shalhoub) for a fluff piece about a football game's score. Instead, he tells her that her life has no meaning, and is going to end in just a few days, which sparks her to action, trying to change the pattern of her life...

Filming was done at Alki Beach in West Seattle, Kerry Park and Safeco Field in Seattle.

Get Carter: Starring Sylvester Stallone, Miranda Richardson, Rachael Leigh Cook, Alan Cumming, Mickey Rourke and Michael Caine.

Plot Synopsis: This movie is a re-make of the 1971 film also named 'Get Carter' starring Michael Caine as Jack Carter. The updated version now features Sylvester Stallone in the starring role and follows nearly the exact same plot line in which Jack Carter, a mob enforcer living in Las Vegas, travels back to his hometown of Seattle for his brother's funeral. During this visit, Carter realizes that the death of his brother was not accidental, but a murder. With this knowledge, Carter sets out to kill all those responsible.

Filming was done at Pioneer Square, and the International District of Seattle

Disclosure: Starring Demi Moore, Michael Douglas, Donald Sutherland and Dennis Miller

Plot Synopsis: With his company about to merge, a happily married and successful computer expert is expecting a promotion. Instead the job goes to a woman from another plant with whom he had an affair in his bachelor days. His new boss, not only dangerously sexy but equally dangerously ambitious, tries to pick up where they left off but he just about manages to resist. As his position at work comes under increasing pressure he decides to file charges of sexual harassment. This is the last thing the company needs.

Filming was done on board Washington State Ferries, at Pioneer Square, the Four Seasons Olympic Hotel, Volunteer Park, Washington Park Arboretum, and the Metro Bus Tunnel.

Enough: Starring Jennifer Lopez, Billy Campbell, Dan Futterman and Juliette Lewis.

Film Synopsis: An abused woman (Lopez) discovers that the dream man (Campbell) she married wasn't whom she thought he was. She and her daughter try to escape (such as to her previous boyfriend played by Futterman), but he pursues relentlessly. Fearing also for the safety of her daughter, she decides that there's only one way out of the marriage: kill him.

Filming was done on board the Washington State Ferries and at Gig Harbor in Pierce County on their waterfront. At a Gas Station in Gig Harbor. There was also a scene involving furniture movers at a house in Gig Harbor. In Port Townsend in Jefferson County, A boxing / kung-fu training scene was filmed at Fort Warden. A car chase was filmed on the streets of Port Townsend, as well as a ferry boat scene.

The Postman: Starring Kevin Costner, Will Patton and Olivia Williams.

Film Synopsis: In the year 2013 civilization has all but destroyed itself. After a war that decimated the government and most of the population of the United States (possibly the world) people struggle to survive against starvation and rogue groups of armed men. One such group is called the Holnists. This group is bigger than any other and their leader, General Bethlehem, has delusions of ruling the country. A drifter (Costner) is captured by the group and forced to join. He escapes at the first chance and happens on a mail jeep with a skeleton in it. The skeleton is wearing a postal uniform and the drifter takes it to keep him warm. He also finds a mailbag and starts conning people with old letters. The hope he sees in the people he delivers to changes his plans and he decides that he must help bring the Holnists down.

Filmed in Central Washington, Several landmarks, including Boundary Dam and the cement silos at Metaline Falls are featured prominently in the movie.


An Officer and A Gentleman: Starring Richard Gere and Debra Winger

Film Synopsis: Zack Mayo is a young man who has signed up for Navy Flight School. He is a Navy brat who has a bad attitude problem. Sgt. Foley is there to train and evaluate him and will clearly find Zack wanting. Zack meets Paula, a girl who has little beyond family and must decide what it is he wants to do with his life.

Filmed: Fort Worden and Port Townsend in Western Washington.

Singles: Starring Bridget Fonda, Campbell Scott, Kyra Sedgwick and Matt Dillion.

Film Synopsis: Romantic comedy about six of the city's young people, most of whom live in the same apartement building and whose lives revolve around Seattle's ever-expanding music scene. The inter-related stories about each character's progress through the singles scene are intriguing and often very funny, and the soundtrack is a grunge fanatic's dream, with the likes of Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Mudhoney.

Filming was done at Gasworks Park, Pioneer Square, Coryell Apartments at 19th Avenue and E Thomas Ave, and the Capitol Hill Neighborhood of Seattle.

Benny and Joon: Starring Johnny Depp, Mary Stuart Masterson and Aidan Quinn.

Film Synopsis: In a small town, an auto mechanic named Benny is devoted to taking care of his mentally ill sister, Joon, who can barely function alone in the real world despite being a talented artist. This relatively stable situation is shaken up when Benny is obliged in a poker game to welcome another player's relative, Sam, to his home for a few days. When Sam arrives, he quickly makes an impression with his quietly eccentric ways which emulate the antics of the great silent movie comedian, Buster Keaton. Without Benny's full knowledge, Sam and Joon finds themselves drawn to each other to the fullest degree. However when Benny finds out, it creates a rift in the siblings as they struggle to accept their relationship is profoundly changing with the presence of this odd newcomer.

Filming was done in Spokane, Washington

Assassins: Starring Sylvester Stallone, Julianne Moore and Antonio Banderas

Film Synopsis: Robert Rath (Sylvester Stallone) is a seasoned hitman who just wants out of the business with no back talk. But, as things go, it ain't so easy. A younger, peppier assassin named Bain (Antonio Banderas) is having a field day trying to kill said older assassin. Rath teams up with a computer hacker named Electra (Julianne Moore) to defeat the obsessed Bain.

Filming was done on the Monorail, at Pioneer Square, Under the Alaskan Way Viaduct (High Speed Chase), and at the Aurora Bridge.

The Fabulous Baker Boys: Starring Jeff Bridges, Michelle Pfeiffer and Beau Bridges.

Film Synopsis: Frank and Jack Baker are professional musicians who play small clubs. They play smaltzy music and have never needed a day job. Times are changing and dates are becoming more difficult to get so they interview female singers. They finally decide on Susie Diamond, a former 'escort' who needs some refinement, but the act begins to take off again. While the act is now successful, both Frank and Jack have problems with their life on the road. Susie becomes the agent that makes them re-evaluate where they are going, and how honest they have been with each other.

Filming was done at Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, Four Seasons Olympic Hotel.

Sleepless in Seattle: Starring Tom Hanks, Bill Pullman, Rob Reiner, Rosie O’Donnell and Meg Ryan

Film Synopsis: Sam is a recent widower who is seeking someone new. Sam's son Jonah, is also looking for a new mother, so when Jonah puts his father on national radio, hundreds of women write to him. One of the women is Annie. She's engaged to Walter, but he's a bit strange. Annie goes to great lengths to meet Sam.

Filming was done at Pike Place Market, Capitol Hill, Lake Union (Houseboats), Alki Beach in West Seattle, The Fremont Bridge, and SeaTac Airport.

Say Anything: Starring John Cusack, Ione Skye and John Mahoney.

Film Synopsis: In this charming critically-acclaimed tale of first love, Lloyd (John Cusack), an eternal optimist, seeks to capture the heart of Diane, an unattainable high school beauty and straight-A student (Ione Skye). He surprises just about everyone-including himself-when she returns the sentiment. But Diane's over-possessive, divorced Dad (John Mahoney) doesn't approve and it's going to take more than just the power of love to conquer all.

Filmed: Seattle area, Ballard, Fremont and Wallingford neighborhoods

They are going fast!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

WTA Hikeathon

Thanks to everyone who supported me last year for theWashington Trails Association hike-a-thon. I raised $900 for Washington Trails! This year I want to try and match that again. I hope to hike at least 40 miles (just over a mile a day). Only miles I hike on trails in Washington State will be counted towards my total. So any trip to Georgia at the beginning of August will not help me. I am also in competition with Green Tortuga, Ryan, to see who can raise the most money this year! (He always hikes more miles than I do). I am seeking pledges for my hiking.

You can pledge a flat donation, such as $50 or an amount per mile, such as $1 per mile. Any contributions over $35 will be eligible for Washington Trails Association Membership. (With membership you receive a Washington Trails Magazine) This is a great little magazine and has many interesting articles on the trails in Washington and also general articles on topics such as backpackingwith children and reviewing camping gear etc. All donations are tax deductible. And every little bit helps! Last year I had pledges as low as 10 cents per mile or a flat $5. It all adds up.

Last year all my pledges got paperback books byWashington State Authors. This year I am cleaning out my movie collection. I have VHS and DVD movies that are set in Washington State to give to my pledges. If you pledge $10 or more, you can choose a movie from my collection (first come first serve) Some of the titles I have available are:

Sleepless in Seattle (VHS)
Enough (DVD)
Assassins (VHS)
The Fabulous Baker Boys (VHS)
Benny and Joon (VHS)
Life or Something Like it (DVD)
Get Carter (DVD)
Singles (VHS and DVD)
Say Anything (VHS)
Disclosure (DVD)
The Postman (DVD)
Enough (DVD)
An Officer and a Gentleman (VHS)

I will need to collect all money from my pledges by September 3, 2006.
Checks can be made out to WTA (Washington Trails Association)
Also if anyone would like to make a contribution via Paypal, just email me and we can work that out too!


Amanda Arkebauer