August 24-28, 2013 – Tacoma, Seattle and Mt. Rainier, WA

We left Anacortes Saturday morning and drove to Tacoma where we are visiting with our friends from our RV Park in Arizona, Tim and Teri.  We were able to park in their beautiful back yard – Cody and Camille loved it here as the yard is fenced and they could run around as much as they wanted.   It was nice to just open the door and let them out without putting the leads on them.

Sunday Tim and Teri took us into Seattle to the famous Pike Place Market.  Pike Place Market was founded as a farmers market in 1907 and is still Seattle’s premier farmers market.

We walked around the market looking at all the items for sale - produce, fish, meats, handmade arts and crafts among lots of other stuff.

We stopped at the Pike Place Fish Market where after you pick out your fish the clerk would throw it back to another clerk behind the counter to be wrapped up.  Tim and Terri told us that animal rights people complained about this practice saying that it was humiliating to the fish – What???  humiliating to a dead fish that is being sold to be cooked – go figure!  Anyway they only throw the fish in a demonstration once in a while now.  A clerk picked someone from the audience and had her go back behind the counter where he threw a fish to her – and she caught it!  We were disappointed that they no longer throw all the fish that are bought but enjoyed watching the demonstration.

We left the enclosed market and walked down a side street that has the gum wall – gum has been stuck to the walls on both sides for years– yuck!  Tim and Teri said it used to be just this one section of wall but now it is on both sides of the street.

On the dock side of the market we walked along the cobblestone street and enjoyed looking at this very unusual rickshaw.  The rickshaw drive came running hoping we were paying customers – there is no way we would get into that thing and go out into traffic!

After a great lunch along the dock we headed to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks.  The Locks and the Lake Washington Ship Canal were completed in 1917 by the US Army Corps of Engineers and provided an 8-mile long, 100-ft wide and 30-ft deep canal for commercial shipping and pleasure craft.  The locks can raise a ship 26 feet from the level of Puget Sound to the level of Salmon Bay in 10-15 minutes.    We viewed a film about the canal and lock and then took a guided tour.

We watched boats coming and going through the large and small locks for a long time.  Because it was Sunday afternoon the locks were very busy with pleasure boats coming back to Seattle from a weekend of sailing, fishing and fun.  We also got to see a couple of large commercial ships go through the locks.  Over one million tons of cargo, fuel, basic building materials and seafood products pass through the locks and the canal annually.  A great contrast to the big ships was watching a couple of kayaks go through the lock

In 1916, the Corps of Engineers constructed a fish ladder consisting of 10 steps to help the salmon migrate upstream to spawn.  In 1976 the original fish ladder was replaced with a 21-step ladder and a viewing gallery.  This fish ladder is one of a few in the world where saltwater meets freshwater.  The Chinook Salmon are currently migrating so we got to see some big ones through the glass.  Our guide said they will spend a couple of days resting in this area of the ladder before they continue upstream.

We enjoyed our visit here and could have stayed watching the boats for hours but it was starting to rain and getting late so we reluctantly left.  There was also a beautiful botanical garden next to the lock but as it was starting to rain and getting late we did not walk through it.

Monday Tim and Terri took us to the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle.  This statue of a little boy building a model airplane with a pigeon on his shoulder called “Team Effort” was just outside the entrance to the museum.

Also outside the entrance was this B-17 bomber.

This was a great museum with displays of every kind of aircraft from the first hot air balloon to the Blackbird and the Space Shuttle.  There were separate galleries for World War I and II planes.

The Space Gallery had the Space Shuttle Trainer used to train every Space Shuttle astronaut at Johnson Space Center in Houston.  We were able to go into the payload area – it was great.

The outside airpark displayed a number of planes including the Concorde.

We were able to go inside the Concord and were amazed at how small and narrow and plain it was – especially when it cost $8,000 a ticket to fly from Europe to the US.

Nancy, Terri and Tim are descending the steps of the first jet Air Force One, which served Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.  This was the plane that carried the body of President Kennedy from Texas to Washington, DC.

The museum also had the original building that William E. Boeing used to start the Boeing Company.   We had a great time and enjoyed seeing all the aircraft on display here.

Tuesday, we drove to Mount Rainier National Park about 80 miles from Tacoma.  Mount Rainier is an active volcano and was established as a national park by Congress in 1899.   We entered the park at the Nisqually Entrance at the southwestern corner of the park and drove the 86 mile road around the mountain.

We stopped at Christine Falls and walked the short path to a viewpoint where we could see the waterfall with the bridge we drove across above it.  What a beautiful view.

A little farther down the road we stopped at Narada Falls, another beautiful waterfall.  We took a short but steep trail to the bottom of the 168 ft falls.  This area was very lush with lots of wildflowers.  The area averages 680 inches of snowfall every winter and in the winter of 1971-72 a record 1,122 inches fell here.

We stopped at the Visitor Center where we watched a film about the park and looked at the displays.  It was rainy and cloudy and we couldn’t see the mountain peak so we took a picture of the model on display  in case this is the only view we get of it.

After lunch we continued our drive and stopped at Box Canyon where we hiked a trail along the canyon rim.  The water is 180 ft below the top of the very narrow canyon.  The trail followed the canyon for about ½ mile then we crossed the canyon on a bridge and came back up the opposite side.  It was a beautiful hike.

We also hiked the Grove of the Patriarchs Trail which showcases the old-growth forest in the southeastern corner of the park.  Here, western red cedar, Douglas-fir and western hemlock, some more than 1,000 years old, tower over the forest floor and the Ohanapecosh River.  We love hiking among these giants!

We continued  along the eastern side of the park and stopped at Tipsoo Lake, a beautiful little mountain lake.

The wildflowers here were beautiful.

We then drove to the Sunrise Visitor Center at 6,400 ft, which is the highest point in the park accessible by car.  This is the best view of the mountain we had all day.  We were disappointed that it did not clear up so we could see the entire mountain top but enjoyed our visit here despite the weather.

The highway leaves the park at the northeast corner and heads back to Tacoma.  The only way to see the northern part of the park is to hike it or drive in by the Carbon River Entrance in the far northwestern corner.  We had a long day already and decided not to see the northeastern corner this time.  We will save that part of the park for the next time we visit this area.  This is another beautiful national park and we know we will visit this area again so we can spend more time in the park.

Wednesday we spent doing laundry, getting ready to move and visiting with Tim and Terri. Wednesday evening their 8-year old grandson, Logan, came to spend the night and we enjoyed meeting him.  We had a great visit and enjoyed spending time with Tim and Terry – we are so fortunate to have met so many good friends in Arizona.


Popular posts from this blog

July 20-24, 2012 – Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Utah

July 30 – August 1 , 2013 - Revelstoke, BC