Maybe the missing pincer was throwing it off?
Usually crawdads are hard to find. They do most of their creeping and crawling in the crevices of large rocks in the river depths and the cover of night's darkness. This misguided creature, however, was roaming the shallows in the brightness of mid-day.
Maybe the missing pincer was throwing it off?
We were treated to "front-row seats" at the first lightning show I have seen in a long time. While driving from Monroe to Snohomish, the storm was flashing and striking in rare, clear bolts. We pulled over and watched the show in Monroe for awhile before heading home and getting there just in time for the storm to pass overhead. My wife, in her good judgement, would not let me climb up on our roof so I had to settle for a street shot.
I woke up one recent Saturday with an urge to paddle a board around on the water. Why? Probably because my wife bought me a board rental and lesson with Washington Surf Academy for Father's Day in cahoots with my brother's wife, who did the same for him. Ever paddled a board around on the water? According to Surf Ballard, where we rented our boards, it's the fastest growing watersport in the world. I'd had an interest in trying it out for some time. My wife knew this, I guess, and set me up for a fun day.
So we ventured forth towards an enjoyable day out. Or maybe a day in. Puget Sound, that is. As it turns out, it's quite fun, and even more relaxing.
From Surf Ballard, we cut straight down to the water and climbed up on our boards in a shallow little bay. Then, because the wind was strong and not going to allow us to head southwest towards the lighthouse at Discovery Park, we curled southeast along the shore and followed the inlet towards the Ballard Locks.
Our start wasn't optimal. We arrived at the Annette Lake trailhead shortly after noon on Saturday due to a late morning link-up and stops at what seemed like every town between Monroe and North Bend. But we had a few days now with nothing to do besides hike, relax, eat, and take a dip or two, so we weren't too worried. What's the rush? Stop for gas. Stop for lunch. Get a coffee. We'll get there, eventually. Meanwhile, we'll enjoy the journey.
Traffic on popular hiking trails in the Pacific Northwest, especially mid-Saturday, sometimes replicates rush hour on the roads back in the cities. This hike appeared to be popular. Cars lined the sides of the gravel road approaching the parking lot, and we hoped we weren't still a mile out from the lot. Turns out it was around the corner and we found a spot just fine. When we stepped out of the car we were reminded that we'd be also doing this hike during the hottest part of the day. Ah... late starts. We rucked up and headed out in the thick of foot traffic.
The trail starts off along the babbling waterfalls of Humpback Creek, meandering through a small stretch of woods, past some powerlines, and then across Iron Horse Trail before things settle down a bit. Through occasional openings along the mostly sidehilling hike we could see the long ridge of Humpback Mountain paralleling our path and the valley where Humpback Creek runs. A run of switchbacks brings you to the home stretch where, as the vegetation slowly takes on the lakeside appearance, you might find yourself thinking "this must be it" a number of times. Eventually, if you just keep walking, you will reach "it."
Our worries about too much traffic and a crowded campsite were for naught. Despite the trail being busy, hikers were spread out so much that there was still plenty of peace and quiet along the way. Anyway, one shouldn't expect solitude on a hike this close to town in this fine of weather.
We found a nice campsite in a stand of trees on the east shore of the lake. Right on the water, with a beautiful view of Abiel Peak to the south, from which snow was melting and pouring down a couple waterfalls into the lake, and Humpback Mountain across from us to the west. Fellow hikers provided most of the action around camp during the days. A couple little critters did show their faces, though. One particular chipmunk, in its quest for food, ran right across the foot of one of our group and put a little fright into him.
On our kill day, Sunday, a small scramble about 1,000 feet up the southeast slopes of Humpback Mountain brought us to a beautiful overhead view of the lake and clear views of jagged Abiel Peak and the rocky scree slopes leading up to Silver Peak (east of our campsite). Small patches of wildflowers added some beautiful softness and color to the hard edges and earth tones of the alpine landscape.
Being so close to home let us relax and have a leisurely Monday morning. We headed out after a light breakfast, water refills, and breaking down camp. Someone forgot to tell the youngest member of our party that we really weren't in any rush to get down and he set us on a skippidy-doo-da pace. We cruised right past the falls on our hard-charging way up, so I stopped for a few minutes on the way down to soak them in. Sitting in the shade on the rocks under the bridge that spans the waterway, with mist on my face, was a nice reprieve from the sun.
Check out the Annette Lake gallery for more pictures.
Location and Trail Summary
We celebrated Independence Day this year by kicking off the crabbing season - for the first time ever - at Kayak Point. Since you can see that I have no pictures of crabs on display below you might guess that we didn't catch any. That would be correct. The crabs held their independence this round. It was only fitting.
We stayed until just dusk was approaching and then scampered back home just in time to grab a quick dinner and head over to catch the dazzling display of fireworks shot high above the Evergreen State Fairgrounds. My daughter enjoyed the their sight, not as much their feel. So we watched from the car and saved "film" for the real show. A private show, for which we had an exclusive invite. My buddy's. I actually wasn't planning to shoot fireworks at all, but after watching for a bit I thought, hey, I might as well have some fun doing what I do while my buddy's having fun doing what he does. So I fetched out my camera and took a couple impromptu shots of him lighting off things that shot around and exploded.
I remember waking up in the morning as a kid to see a fresh blanket of snow covering the ground. How wonderful and magical it was. The world was transformed. Brand new. Ripe for exploration. What a pure and happy sight.
Here my daughter is looking out our front window at the snow after having briefly been outside to see and feel the flakes falling from the sky. There are a couple of melted snowflakes sitting as water droplets in her hair. I think this was one of the first mornings where she "discovered" snow.
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Sunset settled over the Cascade Mountains as my brother-in-law and I shagged flies in one of the baseball diamonds at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish, WA. The school is up on a ridge southwest of town and, as you can see, has an amazing view of the mountains. I had to cut the games short in order to snap this hurried panorama while the fresh snow was still lit with alpenglow. It wasn't the most technically sound shot - I was attempting to stabilize the fully-zoomed lens and camera on a round fence post with shaky hands - but it turned out well enough, I think.
Anyway, lucky students.
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In late December, my wife and I had the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the King Street Station Restoration project and a trip up the clock tower. My father-in-law, who works with Sellen Construction, the project contractor that generously allowed for the tour, invited us down for this exclusive opportunity. We had the time so we did just that, with camera in hand, excited to see what this whole project was about and to hopefully have a look from the clock tower balcony.
I'd been by and to King Street Station a number of times prior to this - usually from the outside though, when getting on or off a Sounder train or catching a bus on 4th Ave (see the crazy picture below, taken a couple years ago when I was bored waiting for a bus) - and aside from a general appreciation of the building as a whole, never really looked at it too closely. The time or two I went inside I didn't study it too much. I don't remember the marble. Or the intricate plaster. Going about your business sometimes leaves little room for appreciating where you're at. You're too focused on the fact that it's 4:03 PM and the train leaves at 4:07 PM and you've still gotta go down a block, across the street, down the stairs, and into an open car.
That's why I like carrying a camera around - I look at the world differently when I have one in my hand. The camera can capture what you're seeing and preserve it. Simply knowing this is possible makes me feel a responsibility to do it. And that makes me look and see. Or to at least try. This time, the station was our destination, not just a waypoint, and touring it was the focus of our trip, not catching a train.
We arrived a little early so we walked uptown to Pike Place Market and killed some time there. Smelled the flowers. Tasted some samples. Bought some fish and crab legs from these guys. And got a free mini doughnut with a coffee for the return trip. The clock tower greeted us amidst the hustle and bustle of construction activities when we got back.