Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Lake Washington Ship Canal


W is for Lake Washington Ship Canal

Between the southeast end of freshwater Lake Washington and the salt water of Puget Sound there's a man enhanced connector called the Lake Washington Ship Canal.


Using this waterway boats and other watercraft can make their way from freshwater Lake Washington, through the Montlake Cut to Portage Bay and Lake Union, through the Fremont Cut to Salmon Bay (which is a mix of fresh and salt water), and finally through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks to Puget Sound.

A cruiser heading through the Montlake Cut.

Wayne and I visited Seattle to go to the University of Washington for NCAA women's softball regionals and a WNBA Seattle Storm vs Phoenix Mercury basketball game at Key Arena.

Brittany Griner and the Phoenix Mercury vs Seattle Storm.

We walked a lot and enjoyed the Lake Union Ship Canal Trail from the UW campus down to Portage Bay. Rather than following the traditional southern route, we used the northern side to reach the Aqua Verde Mexican food restaurant for dinner one day, and lunch the next. I highly recommend them. There's a great view and I had the best chili rellano ever!

All along the Montlake Cut there are benches and picnic tables. We relaxed after our lunch one day watching kayakers leaving the Aqua Verde Paddle Club and geese and ducks enjoying the fresh grass and flowers.

Two families of Canada Geese enjoying a Portage Bay park.

There was even a beautiful Laburnum tree in full bloom.

Beautiful Laburnum Tree in bloom and I-5 in the background.

On the way back to the UW campus for a game we passed the university's oceanography dock with it's hefty research boats waiting for another expedition.

The UW research vessel dock at the end of the Montlake Cut.

Seattle has many areas to explore, but for us the University District is a favourite. What's yours? Do you have any recommendations for restaurants and places to explore?


Thanks for visiting part of my world this week. For more great posts from Our World Tuesday, click here.

And also a meme called Through My Lens by Mersad.


For ABC pictures from around the world, stop by the ABC Wednesday blog. This is the twenty-first round of the meme originally established by Denise Nesbitt. It has now being maintained by Melody and her team. -- Margy

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

"The Golden Spruce" by John Vaillant


One place I want to visit is Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands). This island archipelago is 90 km (56 miles) by ferry from Prince Rupert on the northern British Columbia coast.

Speaking of ferries, I get some of my best books about BC in the gift shop on the ferry between Horseshoe Bay and Langdale on the Sunshine Coast. That's where I found The Golden Spruce (Vintage Canada, 2006) by John Vaillant.

The Golden Spruce was a 300 year-old yellow-coloured Sitka spruce located on Graham Island in Haida Gwaii. It grew from a minute seed that sprouted around 1700 into a massive tree "sixteen storeys tall and more than six metres around." This amazing biological wonder was the result of a rare genetic mutation that thrived along the bank of the Yakoun River in a rich, fertile lowland called a "spruce flat."

Vaillant likens the Golden Spruce to the bumblebee which can miraculously fly despite having less than aerodynamic characteristics. With limited chlorophyll in its needles, the carotenoids (the same substance that makes fall leaves turn red, yellow and orange) shine through. Not surprisingly, this unique tree had special significance to the Haida First Nation. It also made it a prime target for Grant Hadwin, a former logger turned environmentalist. The Golden Spruce is the story of the tree and its demise at Grant Hadwin's hands in 1977 and so much more.

John Vaillant artfully weaves together the history of Haida Gwaii's discovery, Haida inhabitants, logging practices in British Columbia, and the life of Grant Hadwin. The author is a master at blending facts and background information into a story that grabs the reader. I enjoyed it very much even though the event itself was a sad occurrence. If you are looking for a book that gives an unbiased depiction of logging and life in remote areas in British Columbia, I highly recommend The Golden Spruce.

http://www.amazon.com/Gumboot-Girls-Adventure-Survival-Columbias-ebook/dp/B00MOPMJPS/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=The story of Grant Hadwin and the Golden Spruce was also made into an award winning film called Hadwin's Judgement in 2015.

Have I piqued your interest in Haida Gwaii? You might also like a book that is a favourite of mine, Gumboot Girls by Jane Wilde and edited by Lou Allison (Caitlan Press, 2014). It's a compilation of memoir vignettes of adventurous women who lived in Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert in the 1960s and 70s. You can find out more about these women on their Facebook page Gumboot Girls.


I was featured on Stone Cottage Adventures for Words on Wednesday for writing tips, stories, book reviews/tours, poetry, blog posts, current events/facts, and publishing books. - Margy