Seattle Women’s March 

Seattle, WA– The largest mass protest in US history began the morning after Inauguration Day in cities all across the nation.

Here in Seattle attendance was 175,000 strong, and at its height formed a continuous procession of protesters the entire distance from Judkins Park to Seattle Center. 

American flags waved proudly amongst protest poster boards held aloft with equal patriotic zeal. The turnout demolished early predictions, and dwarfed the controversial inauguration itself. Much to everyone’s pleasant surprise, even the sun came out in solidarity on this Seattle winter’s day. 

For those of you who couldn’t be there, gather ’round and lemme tell ya about taking a solidarity hike at the historic Seattle Womxn’s March…

Morning revelry

JUDKINS PARK

We arrived about a half hour early for the morning gathering and even by then Judkins Park was bursting at the seams. 

Loudspeakers broadcasted a disembodied series of speeches across the park. From where I was, I could neither determine the source nor decipher the messages, but the enthusiastic cheers of the morning mob probably meant it was good. 

Before long the whole mass began to shudder and shift like a pink dusted glacier breaking off into the sea.  

Little Saigon

WEST ON JACKSON

Initially the march resembled one of Seattle’s famous traffic jams but the crowd gained strong momentum down Jackson Street’s wide lanes. 

Little Saigon made a unique backdrop to snap a few pics of the swelling ranks against it’s vibrantly painted buildings and Vietnamese script placards and signs. 

It was also a great place to break from the pack to buy some fresh fruit at a local market, Viet Wah. Their parking lot provided a fantastic vantage point to have a snack and absorb the historic event unfolding before our eyes. 

Energy was building as perhaps it collectively began to dawn just how massive this march was becoming. 

Passing beneath the freeway the cheers of protesters rang out, creating a powerful, defiant echo that resounded through the roiling streets.  

Smith Tower and peaceful marchers  

TAKE A RIGHT ON 4TH

At 4th and Jackson the peaceful mob made a northward turn. 

In that direction loomed the coal black, glass and steel gargantuan known as the Columbia Tower. Easily the tallest building in town, it’s impossible to miss, and sure to draw a reaction. I asked a life long Seattleite to give you a quick description:

“It kinda looks like that weird black thing from that space movie, with the monkeys. Maybe I’m thinking of a different movie, but whatever movie it was, Columbia Tower totally looks like the black thing from it”.

Nailed it bro, feels like I’m standing right there… 

As we drew nearer we filed beneath a couple of goofballs waving down from a billboard they had managed to ascend during the commotion.  

“Dang kids up on there on the ol’ advertising plank again! Git ma scatter iron!”

Heading down 4th

MARCHING ALONG

Handmade signs bearing a multitude of messages bobbed along between the skyscrapers of downtown. 

“Our rights aren’t up for grabs and neither are we!”

“I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit”

One was just a picture of a turd wearing a toupeé. Total classic!

High above on a building, a window washer wearing a pink shirt dangled from a rope. Cheers shot up from the passing marchers as he waved and went about his work. 

With the Kubrick-esque Columbia Tower now at our backs, the iconic Space Needle beckoned before us like a massive guide post. 

Just before Broad Street, the solid line of marchers began to disperse and occupy the Seattle Center. 

We’re almost there!

WHAT!? NO FUN FOREST?!

I grew up in this town, and as a kid loved Seattle Center and it’s fun forest as I seem to remember it was called. 

It was sort of a “b-list” amusement park, with permanent attractions such as “The Gravitron” and the “Flight To Mars”. 

The latter had the distinct feel of a haunted house that someone bought at a garage sale and tried to “space” up. It was a little crappy, sure, but we loved it. Oh well, it’s gone. That’s my rant

It’ll always be Seattle Center though, despite the lack of “amusing woods” or whatever you call it. As the years go by the architectural vision of a 60s styled future metropolis looks more like a campy rerun, but it’s hard to argue that the revolutionary spirit of the 1960s isn’t driving this town more than ever. 

Rallied around a 600ft tall vision of a better tomorrow, people below were marching for that better tomorrow. Singing voices hung in the air like a light, lovely fog. Children played in the fountain, the people marched hand in hand and our flag was held high. 

People of all the peoples, genders and creeds were gathered, united in peace and in the name of equality, justice and freedom. I won’t lie, made me feel pretty damn fuzzy inside. 

No alternative fact about it! Womxn’s March trumps inauguration!

By now it was getting fairly late in the day, we’d been at it for hours, yet the people continued to pour in. 
On the way home, our tiny band passed a group of women dressed as 19th century suffragettes. Maybe they were time travelers, who knows!

From whatever era they came, the sign they bore carried a message relevant for all time: 

Women’s rights are human rights. 

Truth.

The stage of tomorrow, today.

ECONOMIC BOON?

I don’t have any numbers but if you could gauge by the lines outside local restaurants, cafes and convenience stores one could easily speculate that the Womxn’s March was a decent bump for local business.

Contrary to concerns about disorder and destruction, the event seemed a very constructive and positive gathering all together. No arrests were made and no violence erupted. 

Bravo Seattle! I’ve never felt so proud to call this place my home. 

I don’t care if you tell me it’s safe, I don’t like hanging around this thing!

HAPPY TRAILS! RESIST! SOLIDARITY!

Wilderness Navigation

I’m going to try something a little different today and do this all on my phone!

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Heybrook Lookout

FRIDAY 12FEB2016

At some point in the very recent past I lost track of my compass. At this point I’ve concluded it’s either becoming one with nature or in the dark recesses of a forgotten pocket or stuff sack.

Whatever, it’s gone. Life is about change and how we deal with it, so I bought a new compass.

I was in a rush. I slipped in the door minutes before REI closed. It’s Friday, “Hey, I work for a living too!”

I’m courteous, these people wanna go home. I’m moving my ass.

Turns out in the mad flurry of all my ass moving, I left with a fixed declination compass, a Suunto A-10. Fantastic. Not an approved compass.

OK, OK no problem. I’ll just draw the declination in with a marker, good, done!

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Happy campers

SATURDAY 13FEB2016

After an early, lethargic drive we arrived at the Mountaineer’s Heybrook Lookout parking lot. I guess there has been a problem with break-ins at the regular trailhead so they use their own instead.

Oh, get this. I found my compass, it was in my backpack. Don’t judge me, we’ve all been there.

The wilderness navigation class is a requirement for Mountaineers trips, as well as just a good idea before you try your hand at jumping off the beaten path.

As you might expect, the students represent a wildly mixed bag of experience and physical fitness.

The slowest person sets the pace.

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El bosque oscuro

EXERCISE #1: FIELD OF STUMPS

We all assembled at Heybrook Lookout to take a break and to split into groups.

Get this! Some meth head stole the copper lightning rod from the Lookout!

What a world.

Anyway, we marched beyond Heybrook Lookout to the vast, neo-ecosystem that is the high tension transmission wire easement.

Humbly dwelling below a pair of the stoic, steel giants are number of rotting stumps, many with a letter or number placarded atop.

The idea is to take nine sightings from three different vantages and compare your findings to the master key held by the instructors.

A two degree discrepancy or less is desired.

Some of us thought the wires were having an effect on our compasses.

Maybe a sort of electromagnetic interference or something else reasonably sciencey sounding.

One of the instructors said they had brought out science equipment in the past and detected no such sciencey sounding disturbance.

I believe him, I think it was too much or too little caffeine.

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This sort of thing could have gotten you burned as a witch some years ago…

EXERCISE #2: LEAPFROGGING

After our lesson in stump location we were told we’d be leapfrogging.

We split into teams of two and were given a bearing and a starting location.

Your team member follows a bearing for a dozen yards or so, then you take their bearing, and they take a back bearing on you. If your findings are in agreement you move to them after which the process is repeated.

It was fun, and it works. 

It worked so well it led us all to the lunching spot; an abundant, but heavily clouded panorama spanning eastward to Baring Mountain and westward to Mt.Persis.

After lunch we were told we’d be heading to the final exercise…

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A giant long fallen

EXERCISE #3:”KILL-OMETER”

“We were specifically told this wouldn’t be a death march!” 

… And it wasn’t. Rather an easy mile or so up a snaggy, old logging grade. 

The rain had been constant, but mostly light up to this point. Now it was really starting to come down.

“Pick a difficulty ranging from mellow to challenging. You will then be assigned a bearing to follow for approximately one kilometer. You will travel as a pair, but work as individuals. If you complete this exercise without your partner, you will be failed.”

Up to this point the only other way you could fail was by walking on the highway during the quarter mile or so from the parking area to the trailhead. 

 Things were about to get serious.

Teams were launched about five minutes apart on their mission downhill and through the woods.

The forest was mostly free of annoying shrubs, but there were a lot of windfalls and dead snags.

There were also some monsters left over from the tree mining era just rotting away on the forest floor.

I thought the “Kill-ometer” (btw that’s NOT what they called it) was a pretty good exercise to top off the day.

If for some reason you doubt the utility of a map and compass, the “Kill-ometer” will easily put those thoughts in check.

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Gritty action shot

THEN WHAT?

Logically, the goal was also the assembly point and so there we all waited.

Steadily our numbers grew until there was only one pair left descending the hill.

The rain was coming down, and we’d been out in it for eight hours. Looking around you could see it in some people’s eyes. (Remember: all skill and fitness levels)

Some folks were obviously a little under prepared to spend a full day under the faucet.

However spirits remained high with laughter and conversation heating the body by warming the soul.

The last two finally arrived and after a congratulatory speech we all marched out. Like an army at first, then dwindling into groups, pairs and loners.

Our little group met a young family on their way up. Mother, father and the little one enjoying a walk in the February rain.

On the way to the Mountaineer’s parking lot we had to walk through the Heybrook parking area.

There was only one car there, probably belonging to the young family.

One window was smashed in, glass was all over the ground. Their car was robbed.

I can’t help but wonder if it was the same crackheads who stole the lighting rod.

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Tree mining

INTERESTED IN LEARNING?

Whether you are old hat or still drenched behind the ears, developing your outdoor navigation skills isn’t a bad idea.

Taking a class isn’t necessary. If you are so motivated, these are all skills you could learn on your own or with a friend.

Get yourself a copy of “Wilderness Navigation” (The Mountaineers),  a proper compass and a USGS map.

You oughta do OK.

Taking a class however has the benefit of instructors who can help you, novel exercises that you might not ever do on your own, and who knows you might even meet a friend.

Classes probably exist in your area

If you live anywhere near Seattleopolis, the Mountaineers offer their navigation course year round.

REI offers a navigation course as well, so if you live within driving distance of one of those, that could be an option.

The point is, there is probably something near you if you look.

I developed many of these skills on my own over the years, and after finally taking a class I can honestly say that maybe classes aren’t such a bad idea after all…

I’m not sure “Teenage Harry”, hiking the hills in ripped up jeans, a T-shirt and a duct taped pair of Chuck Taylor’s would still quite get it though, he was always learning the hard way.

Anyway, however you learn, with knowledge and experience we can develop the foresight to keep the odds stacked in our favor in our adventures.

So why sell yourself short?

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A blurry, hairy biped

Happy trails!

 

 

 

 

 

 

AIARE 1

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Upward and onward!

A couple of weeks ago I took an AIARE (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education) course via The Mountaineers, and taught by the good people at BC Adventure Guides.

We spent a couple lecture days in Tacoma going over the materials, watching videos and getting a handle on avalanches in general.

Questions were asked and answered, coffee was consumed and one guy had the wrong classroom.

The following weekend we met for the field portion at Snoqualmie Pass.

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Witchcraft, clearly.

DAY ONE (DAY THREE OF CLASS)

Checked NWAC before leaving the house.

We marched up around Silver Fir Lodge to become acquainted with our avalanche beacons and to delve into companion rescue.

It didn’t take long to realize just how screwed you are if you are buried without a beacon.

In very little time at all we went from barely knowing how to turn the things on to locating buried beacons in the snow as a team.

If we had to find the same beacons using only probes….we’d still be looking.

Life and death right there. Seriously.

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“And on the first day he dugeth a test pit and saw that it was good”

DAY TWO (DAY FOUR OF CLASS)

Checked NWAC before leaving (there is a theme here)

Today was about putting everything we learned together into a mini tour of Mt.Hyak.

We dug a couple pits and made many field observations along the way.

Whichwaysthewinda’blowin’? Howhardisshea’howlin’? Howmuchsnosa’snowin’?

With the NW slope of Mt.Catherine as our backdrop we focused on snowpack observations and field tests.

Our Rutschblock Test was particularly amusing and insightful.

Skiers curiously eyeballed us as they occasioned by, some even asked about our findings

Oh that reminds me, our “avalanche victims” deserve a round of applause as well…Daytime Emmys for everybody!

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Through the woods

As we traveled back to the parking lot some ideas started congealing in my brain:

Reluctant to part with the money for a beacon…?

Experiencing firsthand the difference an avalanche beacon makes when trying to locate an avalanche victim is stunning.

If you don’t want to buy one, you could always rent one instead. BCAdventures offered rentals, as well as a list of retailers that rented beacons as well.

Remember: Money… you can’t take it with you!

“This is some serious s#!t buddy!”

Winter time travel in the mountains is inherently dangerous and many of our familiar summer routes bear grave avalanche risk in the winter months.

Sadly, some kill year after year.

Any loaded slope of sufficient grade can slide and various terrain features can exacerbate that risk.

Knowing how to choose terrain is probably the single greatest thing you can do to save your life.

I probably could have learned this stuff on my own…

Yeah I suppose you could, in theory.

I knew a lot of things going into this class, but I left it with more than I probably would have ever learned by myself.

Also, there is no substitute for learning from an experienced guide that can answer all of your questions… well, about avalanches anyway.

Would you take this course again in hindsight?

Absolutely.

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Der Rutschblock

Do you know avalanche terrain?

Maybe you are missing out on deeper backcountry because you are too cautious?

Maybe you’ve had one foot in the grave for years without ever even knowing it?

Do you know?

I highly suggest taking an AIARE 1 course in your area if you ever intend to travel in avalanche terrain. (aka teh intir mowntens)

If you don’t, you’ll be happy the person who digs you out did.

If you get dug out…

Happy Trails!

 

 

 

West Fork Foss Lakes Trail #1064

Sunrise at Copper Lake
Sunrise at Copper Lake

The West Fork Foss Lakes trail has long been one of my favorites.

I remember coming to Trout Lake with my “Uncle Bones” when I was just a kid, and then as now, the trail still wows me with every step.

THE NUMBERS

Trout Lake
Trout Lake

Elevation gain: 3300’±

Mileage: 14.6mi RT±

Difficulty: YDS 2 , be in reasonable shape

Free loading birds in your backpack the minute you turn around: n=n1 x n2/m2 x f(t²)

THE HIKING

Your journey starts out easily enough, gradually gaining elevation along the Foss River and it’s mostly dry flood channels.

Keep an eye out to your right for Shoestring Falls, descending into the Foss on it’s west bank.

The West Fork Foss River
The West Fork Foss River

About a mile in you’ll come to a very well built bridge which, if it’s secretly anthropomorphic, is likely counting the days until the next major flooding event, the likes of which destroyed it’s predecessor.

Counting the days...
Counting the days…

Standing on the bridge, you are a little less than a mile down trail from Trout Lake.

Along the remainder of the way there are a couple of points of interest;

One is an absolutely monstrous tree (can’t miss it). If you hike this trail with friends I can guarantee we’ll have one thing in common; a picture of someone standing in front of this tree.

Standard tree photo
Standard tree photo

The other is marked by a rusted 2-½in pipe crossing the trail. Without going into too much detail; above this pipe, blasted into the flanks of Malachite Peak is the 772′ long Imperial #2 tunnel, and the 112′ Vine Maple Prospect.

Below the pipe, along the banks of the Foss River, is the site of the old Imperial Power Plant. Not much remains, but the occasional rusted metal relic can sometimes be found.

Leavin' the lake
Leavin’ the lake

At Trout Lake take a breather, cast a line or stay the night at one of it’s campsites.

The trail begins to climb significantly after passing the west shore of the lake, almost 2000′ in less than two miles!

Silver Eagle Peak dominates the eastern horizon as you switchback up through mixed forest and shrub. At one point you’ll pass a corner with easy access to a slabby watercourse, great for dipping your head into and refilling empty water bottles.

Get used to seeing this guy
Get used to seeing this guy

Malachite Falls becomes visible as you gain elevation, it’ll be filling your ears with it’s 618′ of waterfally-ness before you can see it.

You’ll continue to gain elevation, eventually surpassing the waterfall and coming to an intersection with the Lake Malachite trail.

NOTE: You may also notice a sign near here that says “Campfires prohibited beyond this point” This means ALL points along this trail beyond this sign (Specifically any point above 4000′)

You can't "unsee" it
You can’t “unsee” it

Lake Malachite is only a short, sorta steep hike from here, offering great views, a few campsites, and fishing.

Malachite
Lake Malachite

Less than half a mile from the intersection you’ll cross a fairytale-esque bridge of perfectly placed boulders before setting eyes upon beautiful Copper Lake.

The popular campsites fill up quick, but the lake is spacious enough to allow some breathing room if that’s what you are looking for.

Like Alice and the beanstalk or somethin'
Straight outta Alice and the Beanstalk

If Copper Lake isn’t your thing, the trail continues along it’s eastern shore towards Little Heart Lake.

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Not a whole lot jumps out at you on this section of trail, but you will pass over the tailings pile of a mining prospect at the south end of the lake, and there are a couple of established campsites along the way.

Little Heart Lake seems a little less hospitable by comparison, it’s smaller, and seems crammed into the surrounding rock. Upon first glance, shoreline access also seems extremely limited.

Exploring around however reveals some established campsites, and ample talus shoreline if you are a little more adventurous.

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Leaving Little Heart Lake, the trail again begins to climb, gaining a little under 1000ft in a mile, then losing a few hundred feet on the way to Big Heart Lake.

Little Heart Lake
Little Heart Lake

The views through here become more dramatic.

Looking back you’ll see Trout Lake (perhaps bringing back memories of when your legs were not on fire) Delta Lake is down below, Otter Lake peeks at you from across the valley, and then finally Big Heart Lake, shimmering at you through the trees.

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The first time you approach Big Heart Lake is likely to stick with you for the rest of your life…

You walk in on top of a little ridge that parallels a small arm of the lake. The water is deep, and bluer than anything you’ve yet seen, not unlike that mysterious fluid barber’s put their combs in.

Morning mist on Big Heart
Morning mist on Big Heart

Here the official trail ends, there are a few campsites available in the immediate area, and a couple more hidden about.

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For the ambitious hiker, this may only be the base camp, for there are numerous boot paths leading to many destinations: Angeline and Azurite Lakes, Camp Robber Peak, Chetwoot Lake, you could even make it a loop back down the Necklace Valley.

Beyond the official trail...
Beyond the official trail…

The West Fork Foss river trail is your oyster.

Bearing that in mind, leave your oyster better than you found it; pack it in, pack it out, leave no trace, take only pictures, leave only footprints, I’m sure you know them all.

Basically; Don’t be “that guy”.

Happy trails!

THE GETTING THERE

Firstly, I’d suggest driving to Skykomish to procure a pre-hike sandwich, or some campin’ booze at the ever friendly and delicious Sky Deli.

After filling up at Skykomish, head east on the “2” and you’ll pass the Skykomish Ranger Station, keep your eyes peeled for the Foss River Road branching south (right) from the highway. Take it.

Might be wantin' one of these...
Might be wantin’ one of these…

A little over a mile in you’ll pass beneath a gargantuan railroad trestle, and then hit a fork. Stay right.

You’ll pass the Necklace Valley trailhead on your left in another half mile, and a half mile past that is your left turn for the West Fork Foss River Trail#1064. The turn is signed, but can be missed.

nwtrailpass

Two miles from the intersection and you’ll be there.

The trailhead has ample parking and a pit toilet, but on summer weekends, try and come early because this is a popular trail, and is steadily gaining in popularity with every new Ballard condo.

THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

Currently a NW trailpass or other qualifying document (America the beautiful interagency pass) is required at the trailhead.

Big Heart Lake
Big Heart Lake

References:

In addition to provided links,

Woodhouse, Phil; Jacobson, Daryl; Petersen, Bill; Cady,Greg; Pisoni, Victor, Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines Vol.1: The West Central Cascade Mountains. Oso Publishing Company, 1997

 

 

 

 

Floating the Duwamish: Southcenter to South Park bridge

Used tire shorelines!
Used tire shorelines!

It’s been going on months now that me and Junker Chris have been sitting at our beer drinking spot on the banks of the Duwamish; watching the wildlife, talking about conservation, speculating on the upcoming runs, and runs past.

One time while we were down there, this bum showed up on a bicycle. “You young fellas wouldn’t rob an old man would ya?” We laughed and talked with him a bit, at some point he volunteered that he had an aluminum boat for sale up the river, tied off to a tree. It could be ours for $100.

The urban river
The urban river

Wisely we didn’t take him up on the offer, but it may have planted a seed.

Strengthening the resolve!
Strengthening the resolve!

“We oughta get a boat and float this thing someday”, said Junker Chris staring across the shimmering water.

Well the other day, “that day” finally came, Junker Chris got his hands on a canoe, and we were set. Initially we wanted to do a longer float for our first foray, however my work schedule wasn’t having it, so floating would have to wait until the late afternoon.

Our plan was to put in at this sandy bar near Southcenter, and take out at Ol’ Riverman Dan’s house next to the South Park drawbridge. We picked up the essentials along the way (beer), and were off.

Old pilings and the new ones
Old pilings and the new ones

The put in required a short walk down a fishermen’s trail that began in a hotel parking lot right off of the West Valley Highway. The beach was a nice place to launch, and we were afloat in little time.

We paddled upriver for a short way to reacquaint ourselves with canoe handling. Looking into the shallow water was to look directly into the urban soul of the Duwamish; Beer cans, hubcaps, traffic cones. I joked that we could make a good living here bottom trawling for aluminum, but I may have been serious.

Under the 405
Under the 405

Soon we were heading downstream, floating under the I-405, Southcenter Blvd and Interurban Ave S.

The river is a very curious mixture of everything. There are moments when you feel totally isolated, only to have that illusion shattered by a thunderous bass-mobile mad thuggin’ overhead.

Passing near Fort Dent, the commuter trains were flying by, but we could only hear them from our vantage point. Interspersed were the grunts and yells of an intense soccer practice, maybe the Sounders.

Riverman Dan
Riverman Dan

Upstream we saw a man barreling down on a jetski. It was Riverman Dan. “How the hell you guys doin?” he jabbed, pulling up alongside. The wake jostled our canoe.

Dan told us that the remnant of the Black River was just ahead, and maybe we should take a look. Before he left he let us know that “if we needed anything, just call”

The Black River

We approached.  The Black River was a little muddy opening not much more than 10ft wide.

Entering the Black
Entering the Black

At one time it was here that the Black River and the White River met to form the Duwamish. However as a result of early public works projects, the White River was diverted southward, and the Black River has all but gone extinct, a consequence of Lake Washington being lowered 9ft or so following the construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

Black River Dam
Black River Dam

Paddling up the Black, the water was murky and shallow. We passed garbage bags languishing upon snags, slowly liberating their contents. Occasional pieces of mud encrusted furniture now formed part of the Black’s bank.

R&B music came from somewhere in the distance, right around the time we spotted an ancient rusted crane of some kind obscured amongst the alder. Later, only silence as we passed a very well established homeless encampment under a huge concrete roof. Eerie. Then we set eyes upon the Black River Dam.

Shoreline furniture!
Shoreline furniture!

Signs warned us that if we came within 100ft we could be destroyed by water releases at any time. That threat didn’t keep us from entering the stagnant lagoon.

Honestly as far as dams go, this isn’t much to see. It looks more like an over-sized Sears tool shed than it does a dam. We didn’t stay long….

Back on the Duwamish

Back on the river we passed the Tukwila string of riverside casinos. Most of the bank was dominated by debris and blackberry bushes. Not long thereafter though we were passing through the Foster Links Golf course. The river was decidedly more serene here. At one point we observed a golfer drinking a can of Guiness, while another hopelessly searched for his ball.

Olde Plunkin' Shack
Olde Plunkin’ Shack

Soon we were in earshot of the I-5 and the smell of a bakery filled the air. A neighborhood was to our right, and I observed a familiar looking man talking to a woman smoking a cigarette atop a riding lawnmower.

Allentown Superette
Allentown Superette

“Hey! Aren’t you the guy who used to sell beer at the North Park market?” I yelled. The man looked out upon us, using his hand as a visor to block the sun. He started laughing, “Yeah, how the hell have you been!?” He yelled.

Small world sometimes.

The I-5 was soon above us. BNSF switch engines were moving around intermod cars to our right, while the freeway blocked the sky. Between the freeway spans was a chainlink net spattered with chunks of road debris.

“I wonder how many people ever realize they are driving over the river?”

The I-5
The I-5

The river was either deep, dark, or both here. If it wasn’t I wonder how much shit you’d see along the bottom.

We continued drifting along, the sun low in the sky. We were in Allentown, passing by the Allentown Superette, and a single island. “Allentown Island!”. We pulled in close to investigate, and determined it to be an old bridge footing.

The I-5 crap catcher
The I-5 crap catcher

Now we were drifting near the drinking spot where the idea for this adventure was formed. The river widens greatly  here, a rotting catamaran marks the spot. It’s also here that the river becomes decidedly industrial, the Superfund site begins.

Beached garbage boat
Beached garbage boat

We spied a small channel marked by a derelict vessel to the south and decided to investigate. First we stopped to visit the beached craft. It was an olde boat, probably from the 70s, I imagine. It was halfway flooded, with it’s engine compartment exposed, an oil rainbow hovering atop the submerged motor.

Jet City river
Jet City river

Moving on, the muddy banks narrowed until finally blocked by low hanging growth. It was far enough though…

Blurry pic of landfill seep
Blurry pic of landfill seep

The bank was a cross section of buried garbage; plastics, old vehicle parts and clumps of chemical sludge seeping out where they could get out. The mud exhausted a chemical stench. Maybe it was getting late in the day, but the whole area just seemed… dead and dark. We left speedily.

At this point, tidal forces were in control which meant that we’d be paddling our asses the rest of the way. We passed rotting creosote barges, rusting steel scows and Paul Allen’s yacht, or so we thought, who knows. If it was Paul Allen’s yacht, I can safely say that it is bigger than all of the houses I’ve ever lived in… combined! He should be ashamed of himself.

Large Barge
Large Barge

Just as the sun was setting we made our destination; The South Park bridge. We decided to first make landfall on a “new” beach created by the “dredge and cap” remediation project.

A sign warned us not to play in the mud due to pollution….

Stay Tuned! More Duwamish Floating to come!

South Park bridge
South Park bridge

Harry Biped