I grew up listening to the Eagles with my parents and “Hotel California” was a frequent background track to our lives. I was born in California, so the state name often made an appearance in our road trip music playlists, and my Dad loved the spooky chorus of “you can check out, but you can never leave.” It was no surprise when I started working on this piece, the hot reds and pinks fading into both golden, and dark twilight colors, that the opening lyric popped into my head. There is a subtle metallic gleam worked into the paint that reminds me of that magic, fading, golden light.
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Have you ever been to Norway? I haven’t, it’s on my bucket list, but I am Norwegian by ancestry. I love drawing houses and neighborhoods, and it’s lead me to love looking at images of houses in other countries, like Norway. Recently saw photos of rows of colorful houses and it definitely seeped its way into my subconscious, because “Bergen” was the result. Mixed media, fairly simple, with bold color and subtle texture. It would make a fantastic accent to more neutral room.
Last year when my oldest was living in Seattle for baking/culinary school, we took the Amtrak train a lot to go visit. The trip is barely longer than driving, but lets you sit in comfort, with great views, and not have to navigate both Blewett and Snoqualmie Passes in the winter. Plus, it’s pretty cheap and they have plug-ins for devices and a food car with pretty good food. I’m not here to plug Amtrak, but really, it’s a great way to travel. Anyway, one of the things I always noticed was the section from Seattle’s King Street Station to Edmonds, before turning towards Gold Bar, is spotted with really cool looking beaches: one after the other of apparently dog-friendly hangouts with driftwood and sand and smiling people splashing through the surf. I always made a mental note to check them out “someday.”
A free weekend rolled around towards the end of August and I thought to myself: “Self, where can you go that’s close but fun and different than anywhere else you’ve been lately?” And “the Edmonds beaches” popped into my head. I plotted a somewhat logical course from Edmonds, north towards Mukilteo, and we were off. We took a Friday off, headed out reasonably early, and were at Beach No. 1 by lunchtime. Marina Beach Park was active and bustling, with boats and fisherman loading at the launch. Steel-grated walkways across the boatyard gave a great view and place to dream about that “someday” boat. We stopped at Anthony’s Beach Café and sat outside in the sun for tasty seafood.
We went a bit further down (same general area though) and found ourselves at the Edmonds-Kingston ferry dock. More beach area there and a marina let us look at a lot of beautiful sailboats. A long fishing pier to walk down let us see some interesting things being pulled out of Puget Sound. Seriously, a few things I had no idea people ate. Interpretive signage along the way makes it educational as well.
We loaded back into the car and headed north to beach No. 2: Meadowdale Beach Park. Meadowdale is cool because it’s a long narrow park that you hike down into through very rain-forest-ey trees and that over-ripe, lush Pacific Northwest growth. Just over a mile, it’s quiet and peaceful and breathtakingly beautiful. It’s also mostly downhill on the way there. Leaving, you guessed it, BIG UPHILLS on the way back. Wear better shoes that I did and you’ll be ok. When you’re almost to the beach, the grounds open up to volleyball nets and picnic tables and BBQs. I’m not sure who owns the land, but there was a really quaint forest ranger’s quarters at the bottom. What an awesome place that would be to live.
One of the beaches we didn’t make it to was Picnic Point Park. It also looks really cool, so we’ll add it to the next list.
That was all for day one. We had a great dinner that night, stayed at a hotel and the next morning went to a really good diner for breakfast. We just lucked out to stumble into such a yummy place. Patty’s Egg Nest was busy and homey and the meal I had was one of the best, most unique breakfasts I’ve ever had. Loved it so much I have since been making my own version back at home almost weekly.
Our last beach for the trip was at the Mukilteo Lighthouse. One of only 6 lighthouses open to the public in Washington state, its beam shines 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be seen 12 miles from shore. You can tour the lighthouse and grounds for free. The park area is home to more beach space, with walkways, public restrooms and a large playground, it’s a great place to spend the afternoon.
With just one overnight stay we got to see a ton of interesting beaches and enjoy a good hike, great food and some time away. Just what we all need from time to time.
Had a wonderful chance to catch a Fish & Wildlife boat up to Stehekin earlier this week to photograph our Stehekin power plant operator. I've never been all the way to the end of Lake Chelan and everything cooperated for us to have fantastic, crisp, beautiful Fall weather and scenery. A full, active day of tromping through the forest, meeting very pretty neat people and seeing some really cool things. From Left to right, top to bottom:
- Lake Chelan from the Stehekin end. We put in at Twenty-five Mile Creek, half-way up the lake. Lake Chelan is 54 miles long, so it takes a good while to get to Stehekin.
- Original equipment, left as is on the Buckner Orchard. Run by the NFS, open to the public, though was not staffed when we there due to the government shutdown.
- Can't imagine a prettier place to have a home, can you?
- What used to be the Stehekin one room school house. Closed in 2005 (when a new one was built), this remains open to the public and remains exactly the way it was the last day it was used. Lessons still on the chalkboard, children's artwork on the walls, books and desks (check out the variety of time periods covered by the desks).
- Lucerne, another Lake Chelan community, is about 3/4 the way up lake and, like Stehekin, only accessible by boat.
- Buoy and scenic haze looking out from the Stehekin dock towards Lake Chelan.
- Petroglyphs, estimated to be at least 10,000 years old. Depicting a man and Bighorn Sheep. His arm is raised and I imagine he is saying "come down here, sheep, so I can eat you!"
- My BFF Stephanie Fry, also a photographer extraordinaire was on the boat too. Couldn't imagine a better person to spend this day with. Her love for getting outside with a camera and just hiking around is parallel to mine. Notice she is dressed warmly. Not knowing what mid-October on a long, mountain boat ride would entail, we hedged our bets with lots of waterproof layers. It was cool, but we lucked out to a beautiful day.
- I could look at the water all day. So relaxing.
We'll go back next summer, taking the Lady of the Lake shuttle, which you catch in Chelan. In Stehekin, we'll rent bikes at the docks (you can also catch a shuttle or just hoof it,) and spend the day, or maybe even a night, at the Stehekin lodge. There is a fantastic bakery to visit too, though it was closed for the season when we visited. Next time.