I've been trying to get Kevin to join me on a ride this year. Finally, I got him out today on a around-town ride.
We rode from his house through the UW marshlands and arboretum. We rode by college students tearing out non-native, invasive plants such as ivy and blackberry and planting pine trees and various ground cover. In other Seattle parks, you can see local plant restoration taking place as well. Greenlake and sections along Lake Washington Boulevard have had much the shoreline replaced as well.
Coming up Interlaken Boulevard, we rode along 20th Ave on Capitol Hill. I noticed that the Polish community center was having a fund raising event. I had no idea there was a local Polish community, or even a center for them. But there was a lot of Polish food being served, including dessert, Polish beer, and food to go. For a quick snack we bought tickets for soup, then sat down, then handed over tickets to our cute waitress for food. Polish dress is vaguely Bavarian meets Russian and the women wear enormously sized costume jewelery. Our food was good. There were plenty of desserts to chose from, priced a little high, priced perhaps for fund raising.
Our next stop was Beacon Hill. On the northwest face of the hill, roughly between the Pacific Medical Center and I-5 is a mostly neglected stretch of land, part of Dr. Jose Rizal Park, that's been developed into a dog park mostly by volunteers. Kevin came to see the nearly 180 degree view west. The land seemed a little bit too scenic for just running dogs. It felt like there was the beginnings of a nice park, but due to lack of budget or local interest, kept the land from being developed into anything more. Past the fenced portion to the south were a number of roads and homeless camp sites littered with garbage. We jumped a gate and entered an area of dirt roads and paths. A couple of shady looking characters were milling about this out-of-bounds area, but one fellow simply standing around said hi and acted friendly enough. Here's an interesting article about the recent clean up and plans for a bicycle/pedestrian trail.
We rode next along the waterfront and up on to Magnolia Hill. There's a long steady climb on Thorndyke Avenue from the north end of Portage Bay, but next time I'll try taking the Garfield Street Bridge as it seems to have two lanes on the uphill side. Kevin's into viewpoints and we wandered into Ursula Judkins Viewpoint, which as a very new park has no landscaping or even a sign indicating it's a park, merely a Rubbermaid garbage can at the chained-off entrance. According to information online, they're locating a landscaping architect. Heading around the top of the hill, there's a lot of other viewpoints, though as Kevin puts it "Downtown is cut off" from them. Hopefully the landscape artist will remove a few trees and add a terrace or two, and we'll see people congregating there like they do on the south side of Queen Anne for wedding photography.
Discovery Park has a nice viewpoint from the old military housing complex. I'm a little surprised that a number of buildings there are still boarded up, though with new roofs, and you'd think the city could run a special school or community center there with a few new windows. But perhaps things like plumbing, electrical, and fire safety might also be a consideration for not opening these old buildings to the public.
The sun was getting low and we wanted to find the new viewpoint park in Fremont. Heading through the Ballard Locks, and into Fremont, we literally carried our bikes up stairs to reach the promontory. The new park was fenced off however, and for the second time today we jumped the fence. A few bits and pieces weren't done yet, but most of it was. Lots of interesting sculpture and and an interesting mix of new foliage made what I thought would be merely a patch of grass and a fence overlooking the city into something more significant. I might be attending the opening on Tuesday.