Excursion to Snoqualmie Falls

On Friday, Hubby and I took a drive up to Snoqualmie Falls Park, near North Bend (in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains).  We went late in the day, and the sun was nearly setting, but the Falls was well-lit from where we stood.  It was a beautiful, crisp Autumn day, and the drive up was quite pleasant.  We actually found a parking space easily.

I have always been in awe of what humans can do when they put their minds and backs into a project.  And the Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Station required copious amounts of strength, and human ingenuity.  The first part was built in the late 1890s.

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I was very impressed at how quickly and well the project was built.  Nowadays, the project would be held up for years by “environmental impact” garbage, and the cost would be in the billions.  Here’s a diagram.

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Here are some of the pictures I took, of the mighty power of Nature, somewhat harnessed by Human Ingenuity.  The plant is now owned by Puget Sound Energy, and residents of the East Side of Lake Washington get their electricity from this complex.

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This is the top of the falls, and you can see some of the power plant buildings.  Most of the apparatus is actually underground, hewn out of bedrock by people wielding drills.

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This is the Snoqualmie River below the falls.  You can see in the lower left corner the outflow of a portion of the falls that is directed through the power turbines.

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It’s a pretty steep drop from the observation walk, to the bottom of the canyon!  Solid granite, too.

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Compared to earlier this fall, the Falls is at very low water.  There was a lot of rain in September, and the Falls was very high, and there was extensive flooding in the Snoqualmie Valley below.

Here’s some video.  You have to hear it to believe it.

We are so very fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of America.

A Trip to the Olympic Peninsula

The week after Memorial Day, I took a solo trip to the Olympic Peninsula, to use up some vacation hours, and get away from the constant stress of work.  I jumped in the trusty old RDX (old, from 2008), drove onto the Kingston Ferry (where the fare-taker asked if I was really a senior!), and headed over to the beautiful Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.  It was a nice day, and I was going to familiar territory.  No maps or charts needed-just point the car in the right direction and go.  Down Highway 101, west toward Sequim first.  I spent two days in Sequim, and one day in Port Townsend.

I arrived in Sequim around 3:30PM, and checked into my motel.  Then, I took a drive up into the hills south of town, to visit property owned by a work acquaintance.  He is a sailor, and found a nice piece of land near the John Wayne Marina.  He gave me directions, and I found it fairly easily.  This is the view from that piece of hilltop property.

View from Shaun's property

He wasn’t joking when he said he had a view of the water!

I was impressed by the house of one of his to-be-neighbors.  Nice place!

Million-$ house

After that, I drove down to the John Wayne Marina.  I have to say that the name is more impressive than the place.  But it has a nice quiet beach.

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View-John Wayne Marina

I still had daylight left, so I drove back to Sequim, and out to the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, where I had plans to spend the next day.  It was too late to go down to the Spit, but I drove along the approach road, and stopped at a couple of the overlooks there.  I actually got some very nice pictures.

There are lots of these bushes at the top of the bluff, with pretty flowers-they are wild roses and are everywhere.

Wild rose

This is the view north over the bluffs down to the Dungeness Spit.

Bluff Overlook

Here’s the view looking south.  All the way to the right (west) is Port Angeles.

Looking South

Straight down below.

Beach and dead trees

This is the Spit itself, to the north.  It is five miles long, with a lighthouse at the end.

Dungeness Spit

And look what I saw!  A Bald Eagle, flying below me.  When was the last time you saw a bald eagle flying below you?

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Actually, they are pretty common here in the Pacific Northwest, but it’s still a thrill to see one.

The next day, after a lazy morning doing nothing at all, I headed down to the Spit for a hike.  I actually got to use my National Park Senior Pass for the first time, as the refuge is part of the Olympic National Park.  It was foggy, and that fog did not lift all the time I was on the path and down to the Spit itself.  Well, I already have hundreds of Dungeness pictures from previous trips, so I took a lot of artsy pictures in the fog, and even captured some wildlife.

The path down to the Spit is through a stand of second-growth timber, and is actually very pleasant.

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I have no idea what these orange flowers are, but they are common around the Spit.  Followers?

Weird trees

I was taken with this apparently-live tree growing around a dead one.

Path to the Spit

Above is the path down to the Spit.

And, of course, what’s a National Park without some guilt?

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I found a nice “nurse log”, where a dead tree nourishes new, living plants.

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As I rounded a bend in the path, I got my first view of the Spit below, in the fog.

First view of spit

Some of the trees beside the path looked positively eerie in the fog.

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Path in fog

As did the Spit itself.

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I really loved all the beautiful driftwood on the beach.  Many of these must have been huge trees when they were alive.  And people have added their enhancements over the years-lots of little piles of rocks in the branches and crevices.

Huge driftwood log

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Doesn’t this one look like a log-shark?  It sure did to me! Or maybe a wolf?

log shark

Beaches in Washington tend to be rocky, rather than sandy.  This is due to the fact that granite and basalt form much of the foundation around us, and what falls off ends up on our beaches.  Even the rocks are beautiful.

Rocks sand surf

Rocks

I took this one-minute video, to give you a sense of the beach that day.

Behind me, to the east, is a small bay, in the crook of the Spit as it winds its way north.  A little white-crowned sparrow was sitting on a piece of driftwood, seemingly posing for me.  I didn’t get too close, but he let me take his picture.

portrait of sparrow

And then he turned around.  What a pretty bird!

sparrow facing

More pictures of the bay, and the grasses along its beach.

quiet bay

beach grasses

I’ve always been fascinated by driftwood, with the bark still on it.

driftwood closeup

And a couple of more sights on the path back up the hill to the car.

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empty nest

The next day, I drove up to Port Townsend.  I first stopped at Chetzemoka Park, overlooking the harbor and downtown.  Here is what I saw there.

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Chetzmoka rhody

Chetzemoka arbor

flowers

Plants

After spending a while at the park, I went to check in to my bed-and-breakfast inn, the Ravenscroft.  It is a beautiful building, and I had a nice room on the second floor.

Ravenscroft

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Here’s the view from there.

View from BnB

In the evening, I took a stroll downtown.  Port Townsend is a touristy place, with lots of nice gift shops and restaurants.  Its harbor is picturesque, and I found some features this time that were not there the last time I went!  It looked like someone had fun piling up the jagged rocks, making “rock people”.

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RockPeoplePier

The next day, I did some sightseeing around the area, where I had not been at all.  I first drove through town, and admired the many old houses around.  PT has a reputation for having many Victorian-era houses that are well-kept (and very expensive).  Many have been re-purposed as apartments or bed-and-breakfast inns like Ravenscroft.

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Then, I drove south out of town, and headed east toward the water.  I discovered Indian Island Park, which consists of Lagoon Beach and Mystery Beach.  They were really beautiful.  I especially got a kick out of the river-pools running into the main body of water, because they were shallow enough to observe all the crabs-dozens of tiny guys under each rock and on top of the rocks too.

Lagoon Beach

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How many crabs?

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This is Nordland, Washington, on Marrowstone Island.

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BlueBoat-Nordland

Pier-Nordland

All too soon, it was time for me to head back to Port Townsend to catch the ferry to Whidbey Island.  When I boarded the ferry, I took lots of pictures of the PT harbor, and the fleet of sailboats out that day.

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PT-Harbor

PT-Sailboats

Ferry-wake

Once we hit Whidbey Island, I exited the ferry and headed for the south end of the island, from which I was to board another ferry to Mukilteo, near home.  The last sight of my trip just totally made me laugh.  The car in front of me in the ferry line pushed every one of the standard Progressive buttons, and was not at all shy about advertising its persuasions.  Typical!

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Resist Hate, except for President Trump!

All in all, a delightful getaway.  I had a great time, and came back refreshed.

RushBabe Enters the 21st Century

I celebrated my 70th birthday in April.  Just before that, I made it into the Twenty-First Century.  Yes, I bought my very first smartphone.  Thank you, thank you for all the applause, much appreciated.  After a few hiccups in the setup process (don’t EVER forget your initial passcode-it’s awful trying to reset it), I got the thing together.  I bought the phone, an iPhone XR, unlocked at the Apple Store.  I just love going into the Apple Store-nobody has figured out the Retail Ambience like Apple!

This is what I bought:

iPhone XRBlack

And this is what I bought to keep it safe:

SpigenCaseRed

I have the coolest phone out there, in my opinion.  Already owning an iPod Touch, it was pretty easy setting up my email account, and syncing my apps and music from iTunes.  The phone doesn’t have a headphone jack, so I had to buy the adapter so I can use my noise-canceling headphones at work.  Well, I confess that I am still keeping the little iPod, since it does have the headphone jack for listening to my Rush Limbaugh podcast at work.

I made certain to get enough memory with the new phone, so I won’t run out of space for all my pictures.  This summer, I plan to take an iPhone photography class at the Apple store, so I can get familiar with all its features.

One of the things I was really looking forward to with an iPhone was getting the ringtone I’ve always wanted.  Years ago, I discovered that the best-known of Mozart’s Piano Quartets, the G-Minor, was nicknamed “Answer the Telephone”!!  So that’s the first thing I did, try to find it on the Apple Tone Store.  I found it, and now when my phone rings I get to answer the telephone to the music of Answer the Telephone!  Even if it’s a robocall,  just hearing the ringtone makes me smile.  Eventually, once I learn how to use the new version of GarageBand on my computer, I am going to make that ringtone from the real music in my iTunes.

One thing I discovered that really made me jump out of my skin the first time it happened, was that when the phone rings, so does the iPod!  You can answer the phone, but you can’t “answer” the iPod, since it’s not a phone!  That was really weird.  So now, I can join the ranks of those who keep their phones with them at all times, just in case they get notifications or calls.  Mine will stay pretty silent, since, unlike most others, I am not on social media, which is the source of most notifications for everyone else.  I am looking forward to being able to surf the Web in the doctor or dentist’s waiting room (so I don’t have to read 3-year old magazines).  And the phone uses WiFi when available, thus saving those valuable Data Bytes you have to pay for.  Actually, I have a very reasonable phone plan from the folks that used to be AAA Cellular.  I pay $36 a month for unlimited talk and text, and 2Gb of data.

I am getting better pictures of our owner, since the phone is by my bed and by my desk when I’m there.  Kitty likes to curl up on the bed with me, so I can get her in her unguarded moments.

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She is sitting on a little tote bag I got from my oral surgeon.  Can you resist that face?

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Waiting while the sheets are in the laundry, she just takes over!

I think the phone camera takes excellent pictures, and I discovered, much to my delight, that what the camera takes is a tiny movie, and if you hold down your finger on the screen, the subject moves!  That really surprised me the first time I saw it.

So, the learning begins.  Just shows you that we old ladies can learn new technology!

Springtime in the Skagit Valley of Washington State

See the header picture on my blog?  That was taken a few years ago in the tulip fields of the Skagit Valley in Washington State.  Hubby and I took a drive up there this afternoon, and it was a perfect day for it.  Sunny, but with beautiful clouds in the sky, and temps in the low 60s.  All of these pictures were taken out the window of the car where I was a passenger.  There were fields that were plowed and ready for planting.

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We saw some beautiful barns, no two exactly alike.  We Washingtonians tend to be free thinkers and idiosyncratic.

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Given that it is the last week of the annual Tulip Festival, there were the roads, with cars parked along every side.

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And this is what everyone was looking at, and taking pictures of.

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We are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the country, and to have these farms and fields so close to our suburban home.  It never gets old, ever.

Friday, on the Santa Monica Pier at Sunset

Yeah, it’s basically a cliche, isn’t it?  Who hasn’t seen pictures of a sunset off the famous Santa Monica Pier?  I first saw the attraction way back in 1999, on my first adult trip to the area.  I remembered how beautiful it was, and jumped at the chance to repeat the experience.  February can get cold, and it was about 54 degrees with a brisk wind.    Here’s what we saw.

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The view from the little park on the street above.

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This gentleman was playing an amplified Erhu, a Chinese stringed instrument.  Very nice!

PierPeople

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SunsetSurf

SouthSurf

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The pier has an amusement park, with some nicely-lit rides.  I was taken with the Ferris wheel, which looked like it was wrapped up in the roller-coaster.

Rides

And later, after the sun sank below the horizon, the lights came into their own.

Pinwheel

Just good fun.

SoCal Interlude: Patterns

Over the weekend in California, my eye was caught by the many interesting patterns I saw in the hotel, and outside in nature.  Some were repeated, some not.  A guy at the hotel front desk told me that the carpet pattern in many places was the Golden Poppy, which is found in California.

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This pattern and variations was found in many places in the hotel.

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This one is on a high-back sofa in the lobby.

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Then, there was an interesting side table, with a marquetry top, and metal stand that worked very well together.  Pattern on pattern!

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Then, if you looked up, you could see the right-angled patterns of the windows and walls on higher floors.

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I was taken by the pattern on the elevator doors, too.  My readers will know that I am a fan of the Art Deco period, and this looked like a pattern from that period of design.

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Even the walls and ceilings carried eye-pleasing patterns.  The first one is the front of the front desk, and the second one was the ceiling in the restaurant.

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Nice lattice patterns-different execution of the same basic idea, and both very pleasing to the eye.

Speaking of eye-pleasing, this is what greeted guests stepping off the elevators behind the front desk.  I just loved the colors.

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And, finally, this very pretty mirror on the floor where the Hillsdale seminars were held.

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Patterns, patterns everywhere you looked.  Definitely not boring!