Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Project365: Day 210 - Lake Union, Geocaching, and the Locks

Our last full day in Seattle, we ventured north of downtown to South Lake Union and the Center for Wooden Boats. The piers there are lined with beautiful handcrafted old boats, restored boats, and new boats.

Wooden Sailboat

A large variety of boats, most still in use, are on display here--hand-carved canoes, old weathered sailboats, and even a restored steam-launch boat called Puffin.



The Center for Wooden Boats also offers sailing classes on Lake Union. As we were walking through the park, a youth class was preparing to head out onto the water. The sailboats they use for teaching the youth classes are small and charming.

Practice Boats

After the Center for Wooden Boats, we walked up towards Ballard for the afternoon. As a geocacher, I couldn't go to Seattle and not pay a visit the The Lilypad--the headquarters of Groundspeak, the parent organization of geocaching.

The Lilypad

We got to meet a few of the Groundspeak "Lackeys", signed the log book for the official HQ geocache (that giant treasure chest on the floor), and had our photo taken in their photobooth and posted it on the wall. One of the coolest things to see during our visit was the TV screen on the wall above the cache. The screen displays a Google Map that jumps every 30 seconds to the last cache that was logged on It was very cool to watch it bounce all over the world as users logged caches.

From the Geocaching HQ, we walked (through a terribly romantic industrial area) up to the Chittenden Locks. The Locks are the point of access for boats traveling between Elliot Bay and Lake Union/Lake Washington. It was established and is managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. When we arrived at the Locks, we first went into the viewing room underneath the dam. From there you can see into one stage of the salmon ladder that has been created to allow chinook, sockeye, coho, and steelhead salmon to migrate upstream in order to spawn in the small creeks the feed into Lake Union and Lake Washington.


Shortly after we came up from the viewing area on to the top of the lock and dam, a tugboat and a few other larger boats began filing into the larger of the two locks.

Tug in the Locks

Chittenden Locks

Here's a time-lapse that same tugboat making the transition from Lake Union to Elliot Bay:

We hopped on a city bus back to downtown, which completed our bingo card for modes of transportation used on our trip:
- Airplane (MSP to SEA and back)
- Light Rail (airport to downtown)
- Ferry (SEA to Victoria)
- Monorail (Downtown to Seattle Center)
- Automobile (Seattle to Rainier)
- Streetcar (Downtown to South Lake Union)
- Bus (Chittenden to Downtown)
- Walking (absolutely freaking everywhere)

One more night in Seattle, then back to Minneapolis and "real life" once again.

No comments: