As we continued our Seattle summer, we were still without a car to drive. We decided to make our circumstance work, though, and tried to take other forms of transportation. It was Jamie’s birthday week, so I had planned some things that didn’t require Archie’s assistance.
On Friday the 17th, we grabbed a ride-share down to the harbor with Andrew and Sarah, boarded a water taxi, and headed over about 25 minutes to Vashon Island. There was to be the annual Strawberry Festival that day, loaded with live music, arts, food and beer. A great way to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon. And as strawberries being my berry of choice, it was nearly obligatory to attend.
I had booked a sunset sail for that evening, and we were joined again by our friends Andrew and Sarah. I don’t think any of us expected the experience we received. In my mind, a sunset sail is a gentle, lazy float pushed along by whispers of a breeze out in Elliott Bay on the Puget Sound. When the sails were hoisted, instead of a casual carry across the water, the sailboat began to really zip. I had no idea that sailboats seem to spend most of their time on one side or the other (a term called heeling, apparently). We spent a good portion of the time holding onto any fixed item on the deck to prevent us from sliding off into the water. It was great fun, though, and really neat to move that quickly with the wind as our only fuel.
Continuing with Jamie’s car-less birthday week, we bopped around Seattle, visiting some more neighborhood farmer markets and biking to various spots along the North Seattle Burke Gilman Trail. We met up with Maggie and Brandon at Golden Gardens one night, bringing takeout for dinner and walking the beach. The sailboat brigade seemed to be strong that night out on the Sound; winds must have been perfect!
Magnuson Park is a large city park situated on the western shores of Lake Washington, about 6.5 miles from our place along the bike path. It’s a flat, easy route, and we hung out by the water for a bit, enjoying the afternoon sun and gentle rolling of baby waves along the shore.
On her actual 30th birthday, the 20th, we checked out the arboretum at Washington Park in the morning with Charley, and in the evening we headed over to Capitol Hill.
Cap Hill is rather eclectic, with excellent food, culture, and funky art everywhere. We went to Spinasse for dinner (thanks Moe and Jed!), an Italian spot with homemade pasta and fantastic desserts. As is tradition, we got two different dishes, splitting both to enjoy a broader food experience. It paired great with the wine, out of Northern Italy, and the tiramisu was the perfect finishing touch.
We’d stick around Cap Hill for a bit, grabbing drinks and playing Five Crowns at Capitol Cider before catching a ride back to Wallingford.
In addition to blogging (https://sidetriptravel.com), my buddy Andrew is big into mountain biking, and I had been interested in it for a bit, never having done legitimate mountain biking before. I rented a bike from EVO, around the corner from our place. It was about $70, but the convenience was nice and an actual mountain bike can run many thousands of dollars.
The trail was awesome. Of course, there will be some trip-ups when starting out. Every time I fell off my bike I was able to stop my momentum with my face. But I don’t recommend that strategy. the whole experience was a thrill though, and I can’t wait to get back out there! We got some pretty epic views of Rainier in the distance from the top, too. 14 miles in all, it got me acquainted with mountain biking pretty quickly.
We worked 5 of the next 6 days, with a Monday day-off mixed in. I had booked us for a seaplane flight to Mt Rainier out of Lake Washington on Jamie’s birthday, but cloud cover and lower visibility made it a less attractive activity. So the pilot rebooked us for Monday, and I’m glad he did. We boarded our flight with Seaplane Scenics from the eastern side of Lake Washington in Kirkland, and headed south-southeast. We flew over the Gates and Bezos houses on Evergreen Point, continued over progressively hillier suburban towns, and climbed to about 7,000 feet, as we flew over the Washington bush and into the deep wilderness. The hills were scarred with logged regions as we continued toward Rainier. As we entered the National Park boundary, the logging sites ceased, and the only interruption to the wrinkles of pine were the shear ridges with exposed spines, and the aqua-clear alpine lakes.
Even with our proximity to the glaciers (about 25 in all) we had trouble processing their enormity, and the volume of frozen water held in these ice rivers. Waterfalls and swollen streams poked out from beneath the bottoms of the glaciers, the starting point for numerous rivers headed toward the ocean.
We were in the air for about 80 minutes before touching down back on Lake Washington. Indeed, it wasn’t an inexpensive activity. But it was one that offered a unique view of one of our favorite noble mountains.
Our friends Becca and Matt came into town for a few days later in the week, and we hosted them for a few nights and showed them the city. Seattle sells itself, but it’s always nice to have folks that are familiar with an area to help navigate.
And we had a blast. We packed about a week’s worth of activities into a few days, it seems. Early Thursday morning, we loaded in to Archie (who had been given the green light to drive only a handful of days prior!) and drove down near Mt Rainier, for a hike to Summit Lake.
What an incredible hike. For the mild-moderate effort, the views that we got were supreme. The trail eased its way up a little less than 2000 feet over 3 miles or so. And it popped out to a ridge above Summit Lake that laid the lake in the foreground, with Rainier backdropping.
Most of the times, pictures don’t do a landscape justice. That may be the case here, too, but the photos really impressed us.
We took a quick dip in Summit Lake before heading out the way we came.
The following day, Jamie had booked a hot tub boat. Yes, a boat that is a hot tub. We floated it out onto Lake Union with our trolling motor. Andrew, Matt, Becca, Jamie, and I. The wood fire stove on the boat kept the water at a great temperature, and if we were getting too hot, there was the cool lake about an arms-length away. We floated for a couple hours among the houseboats and the Seattle skyline. It was a really unique activity, and one I recommend to anyone visiting the city, if you can book a reservation!
Because it would take many more pages of writing to fit in all of the activities we crunched into Matt and Becca’s stay, I’ll instead just leave these photos here to #summitallup.