Sunday, August 18, 2013

In which I find I've been Living A Lie and have a harrowing encounter with a mollusc

Sunday started well...I decided to get an early start on my Fitbit Challenge walking by taking an 8 mile walk first thing and being mostly done with obligations for the day by about 10 am. With that in mind, I headed out the door and out to the trail.

The Centennial Trail was, as always, a deeply ugly place. This is a favorite spot that we used to visit even before we moved to Snohomish. Given that I now walk and bike by it several times a week, it has deep associations for me.

More ugly landscapes.

This is the point where my simplistic tale of a Sunday morning walk becomes a tale of wretchedness, a cautionary tale. Dubuque Road has been the turnaround point for long walks and short bicycle rides for the better part of a decade now. I used to walk it with Goldie, our yellow lab, when she was younger and up for long walks. The thing is, I had it pegged at about 4 miles from my starting point.
As I reached the Dubuque Road today, I blithely checked my trust pedometer to see what it was showing for distance walked. I expected it to say about 4 miles. To my shock and dismay, the the Fitbit flashed a message of subtle horror to me: "3.22" it said, with an understated high tech smirk.

I have been working in the corporate world for about 30 years now. I am used to maintaining a poker face or a sarcastic developer smirk. I did not rage and howl. But inside, I was reeling. For years now, my walking and biking distances have been overestimated by about a mile and a half, when you consider the two way trip. I have been Living A Lie....

I did walk on, as far as the point in the path parallel to Centennial Middle School. That took me to the 3.5 mile mark, setting up a nice 7 mile walk. It was a mile less than I had planned this walk to be but it would have to do.

Walking home, sadder but wiser, I decided to bury my shame in a coffee binge. The Iced Americano provided for me at SnoTown Espresso was tasty and the barista friendly. One thing I love to do when out running errands is to get a sense of the story behind the people I interact with and I had a few minutes of fun interaction with the barista, who it turns out works as a dental hygienist during the week. She has been working this Espresso stand for a while and was covering today for a co-worker's vacation.

She did look at me oddly when I asked which job was more fun, so I moved along before she could become too alarmed and decide to summon the authorities.

As I walked along, I happened to notice a fairly large and dangerous looking slug oozing across the walkway, It was clearly waiting for me to be distracted so that it could turn and attack me all unprepared. Fortunately, I have been warned about the duplicitous and deadly nature of these innocuous seeming molluscs...

There's a lot of yellow in this picture... 

Tye Lake in the morning

The original yesterday was to spend a half hour on the elliptical machine at the Monroe YMCA and then walk three laps around Tye Lake. Just for a little variety. As luck would have it, this is the Monroe Y's shutdown week, where they close up for a week to perform maintenance, upgrade equipment and generally spiff the place up a bit. The first hint was the near complete lack of vehicles in the parking lot...this gym is usually packed, even at 7 am on Saturday..

Still, doing one additional lap around the lake on a gorgeous Summer morning wasn't so bad.

I was feeling pretty studly to be out walking 6 miles early on the weekend until I asked this guy running laps around the lake how much his pack weighed and he said 70 pounds. He was there when I got to the lake and still there when I left.

Some more pictures of the lake and the area around the walking path.

This was looks like somebody passed away here pretty recently. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fitbit Challenge Walk Pictures 4 (Sammamish River Trail)

I felt like walking in a new place yesterday, so after work I made my way over to a Sammamish River Trail parking lot in Woodinville. On the way over, the precipitation which the Puget Sound region is famous for was falling vigorously from the sky and I hadn't brought any more rain compensating gear than my Seattle Sombrero(*). So I stopped at the YMCA and worked the elliptical machine for a half hour, giving the rain a chance to abate before going to the trail.

The Sammamish River Trail is a paved, multipurpose trail that winds its way from Bothell all the way to Redmond's Marymoor Park. While it is heavily infested with a particularly earnest and grim species of bicyclist, it does include some neat views of Woodinville's vineyards. It is sort of like a long narrow, paved version of an Olmstead park. However, the stretch from Bothell to Woodinville travels alongside several freeways, so instead I headed in the direction of Marymoor park.

Didn't go this way:

 Environmental standards may not be perfect in Washington state. But they try. And we never have rivers catching fire!

This was a cool two sided statue that was situated right at the Woodinville trailhead, with one side a crescent moon and the other a leaping salmon. Very creative capture of the complexity and beauty of the natural world!

The rain had been reduced to a light mist by the time I started walking the trail and it was actually very pleasant. Along the way it picked up, here and there, but never reached the point where I had to worry about water damage to my cell phone or wallet. The overcast was a typical Seattle Augtober overcast, which is actually kind of cozy.

I was surprised to find that there's an adventure course behind the Redhook Brewery. What could be more fun in than climbing ropes with coworkers/friends and then going inside for an icy cold beer? That would be the best!

 I almost captured a better flying creature photo than these sculptures of dragonflies by an overpass. At one point, I was walking along and a heron just flew in and landed about a hundred feet up the trail. I was getting my camera out to capture a photo of him when a Lance Armstrong bicyclist wannabe came barreling through and the heron flew off. Brilliant.

(Bonus pictures: captured these photos tonight on the Centennial Trail between Lake Stevens and Lake Cassidy)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fitbit Challenge Walk Pictures 3 (Snohomish)

Aside from the health benefits of walking, another nice thing about it is that it's done at a pace where you have time to pause and look at details, to process things you see and notice things that are interesting. For instance, I was walking past the police station and noticed a phone booth out in front of it. I've probably driven by it a hundred times but at a walking pace, I had time to think about how rarely you see phone booths these days. Now I'm wondering if somebody in the police station is a mild mannered officer named Clark Kent...

The picture above is an early morning Sunday shot from the Snohomish Bakery.

Wait, my town has a BOOKSTORE?! When did that happen? And it looks like a pretty cool one, too.
OK, I'm joking now: Uppercase Bookshopis a fantastic shop that is well-loved in our community.

The Snohomish River ambles through town...

Note that the river is normally10-15 feet below the path...and those tick marks on the building on the left show levels the water has reached in various floods.

"The Bridges of Snohomish County"

The pictures below make me wonder if there are beavers in the town that I just haven't seen...

Fitbit Challenge Walk Pictures 2 (Little Si and North Bend)

Last weekend, we did some of our walking by hiking up Little Si, a small local mountain near North Bend that's a fun little hike. About a 5 mile round trip with an elevation gain of a bit over 1500 feet.

A commemorative marker along the way.

A few shots captured along the way (all I had along was a cell phone, unfortunately).

After the hike, we stopped at Twede's Cafe for a bit of refueling.