dolphins_log: (Bill the Cat)
It's been a long time since I've written in a blog. Since I discovered Facebook I guess I've fallen for the McPost. The disadvantage being that I don't take time to compose my writing.

Despite the fact that summer weather has been practically nonexistent, we are getting into the Late Summer/ Early Fall. THis time of year has always been the most creative for me. Perhaps it's been drummed into me by it being the Back To School time of year. I've posted about that a number of times so I won't go into it again.
Look here if you wish.
I just need to take advantage of that creative time.

So, I've been unemployed for 6 months now. Since "The Boss" gave the state contract to someone other than "Wheelies" we were mostly all laid off. This may be an advantage, though the search can be arduous at times. Fortunately Juli and I have our resourses so we're not in hardship here.
I visited the Unemployment office last week and took a few workshops they offer. In the process they discovered that I had been on unemployment for 6 month but had never come in for an orientation. I didn't know I was suppose to. I somehow fell between the cracks. This morning I showed up as soon as they opened and sat down with one of their advisers. I picked up all sorts of good info and advice, plus a couple of prospects. I also have a better feeling for a direction I want to go. Customer service is well and good, but I'm more inclined to want to be in Office Administration, what I did for C. Alan Johnson Co. There are fewer jobs available in Office Admin, but the pay is better. I also picked up where I can get my certification in some office computer programs that may help the search.

I've continued my Volksmarching and I've completed my first 500 K. I've ordered up another record book. As soon as it arrives I will mail off this one.
Here are links to the photo record of a few of my favorite walks.

Fort Casey / Keystone
Steilacoom
Gardiner / Troll Haven

Finally I found an entertaining story concerning the Buddhist Mantra Om Mani Pad Me Hum.
 

The story behind this cut tag. )

 

dolphins_log: (Coquille River Light)

[This walk took place on Sunday, May 29th]

South Hill is often referenced as part of Puyallup.  In fact it is part of unincorporated Pierce County.  South Hill is an historic name given to the area by the locals.  North Hill is now where you find Edgewood and Milton.

The Volksmarch on South Hill  wasn't much.  I had to work at finding some pictures to take, but I got a few.  The 10K walk goes through manicured neighborhoods and...   well that's all.   It's good for getting exercise and all.

While the weather was cloudy all day, I did hike without my coat.  I also put on sunscreen, just in case, but that appears to not have bee necessary.

Here's the link to the photos on facebook.   Again, you should be able to go there even if you're not a member, and you're not required to join to see the photos.
Click on each photo to go to the next.
 

dolphins_log: (Don't Flash the Octopus)

Walked May 20, 2011

Enumclaw was flat.   Flat like Sumner and Puyallup.   I think my change in elevation was about ZERO feet.   Mostly just a walk through both manicured and and weedy neighborhoods.  The weedy neighborhoods have as much character though and are fun to walk through.

I really didn't think I had much to take pictures of until I got home to have a look.    A little bit of cropping and voila!

Here's a link to the Facebook photo album.  You should be able to go to it without joining Facebook.
Click each photo and it will change to the next one.

Juli and I went to the the Point Defiance Zoo on Wednesday, May 18.  We got there shortly after it opened and almost stayed until it closed.   Neither one of us realized time was going by so fast.    Juli got a bit to much sun and had a migraine the next day.  I remembered sunscreen....   and still got a bit toasted.


Here are some nice photos of that adventure.
Again, with the photo and the clicking.
 

 

 

dolphins_log: (Coquille River Light)
I walked the Bremerton Volksmarch again.  I last walked it last year on April 18 of 2010.   I wanted to get a walk in today with this surprising good weather, before the rain comes in tomorrow.  [That's all the spring you get folks!]

There have been a number of changes to the route.  Nolonger does it go through the trails in the Stevens Canyon Park.  Instead the intention is to route through Loins Park on the shores of Port Washington Narrows, Unfortunately the park has been closed since March for a complete makeover.

There have been lots of changes in Bremerton this last year.  Last year the Viewing Pavilion on the beach of Backmann Park was a run down, almost tiki looking thing.  Now it's completely rebuilt out of metal and concrete.  And last year there was the old Manette Bridge from 1930's.  Today the new bridge is being built along side it and should be done in a few months.  I had no idea it was being built.

Trying something different with  this post.  I've uploaded the images in Facebook and I'm linking them from her.  So here it is.


Click on the first image to step through the set. 

[Still No Dragons Beyond This Point]



 


dolphins_log: (The Shoveler)

Most of my posting has been on FB.  I suppose I've neglected LiveJournel a bit.

I've been busy despite not having a job.  A lot of my time has been online job hunting, but I've certainly kept busy in other ways.  One thing I've done is try to keep to a schedule.  It would be so easy to sleep in every day and slug about, but it certainly wouldn't be healthy.  ...so I keep to Juli's schedule.  Of course her being in retail means sometimes getting up at 5 and sometimes up at 9.

I've done a few Volksmarches.  I did one in Federal way called the Hylebos Wetlands.  You can see images for that here.
You don't need to be a member of facebook to see those.  That's a facebook page.
I also did an attended volksmarch in DuPont  with a peek-a-boo view of the Nisqualy Delta.  You can see images for that one here.
I also did a repeat volksmarch in Port Orchard, just to warm up.  Not so much to see, but here are those images.

There are two types of volksmarches.  One type is a year round event where you go to a location, a hosting store or someones front porch, pick up a set of walking directions and walk the walk. 
The other type is an attended event, where on a certain day or a weekend a host club sets up a table, signs people in and gives them a set of direction. 

In other projects, I've slowly worked on the garage to get all the trash out of there.  It's been so full we couldn't move around in it.  We had a furnace breakdown and the tech had to get to it.  That sort of put an imperative on getting that under control. 
I've also taken on getting the lawn to turn green again.  It's been brown since the big snow of 2008.  I rented an aerator.  Premier Rentals dropped it off yesterday at 10:30.  I was done with it by 10:50.  WOW!  That thing bucks worse then a rototiller.  It punches little inch long holes into the lawn.
I went down to Home Depot in Gig Harbor and loaded up more bags of recycled compost then the Subaru aught to have carried, but it handled it just fine.  This recycled compost is from the Everett plant.  If you put out a yard waste bin for recycle, this is what it gets turned into.  Sure, you have to buy it back, but then the recycle place can't do it for free so...   I suppose I could compost it myself, and I even started to do that for the first few years, but the "snot pile", as [livejournal.com profile] dehd calls it, was getting unmanageable.  This way it comes back nice and dark, good stuff.
So that's all spread and seeded and raked, and nice dark footprints are tracked across the carpet.   ...oops.    And the carpet has been cleaned.

So, yes, I've been keeping busy.

dolphins_log: (Pagoda)

I looked at the weather radars this morning and determined that I could pull off a walk today.  There was a break in the clouds approaching the Chehalis Gap, and I figured I could walk the 10K Lacey walk without so much as a sprinkle.

By the time I got down to Lacey there were indeed a few sprinkles on the windshield.  It didn't start speckling the glass until after the hour drive, so I had a bit of an investment in the walk by this time.  I thought "What the heck, I've experienced a Nor'Easter recently.  I could handle a sprinkle.

The "sign in" is at a Safeway.  After I signed up and bought water and batteries I came out of the store to a nice steady sprinkle.  Not so bad.  I could hear the light patter in the trees and smell the loamy leaves on the ground.  People had fires in the fireplaces so there was a nice scent of wood smoke in the air.  I could hear the freight trains at the crossings.  All in all, a  nice fall day.

At the start of the trip I saw a Cutter's Point Coffee house.  A nice cuppa at the end of the walk would top the day perfectly.

As I wandered through Old Lacey the sprinkles built to a soft rain.

By the time I got to Saint Martin's University the rain was a little more insistent.

At 4K into the 10k walk , I was walking a park like path around two storm basins.  I had to hide my camera inside my coat to try to keep it dry.  I could barely see out my glasses and had to wipe both the insides and outsides of them frequently.

At 5K I was marching as best I could, trying to follow the directions on my route paper before it disintegrated.

I'll give this a 2, for the rain.  I got it done though.  And the Coffee was REAL GOOD!


dolphins_log: (Coquille River Light)
--{Walked on October 15, 2010}--
This was the day before our rain storm.  I knew I had a small window of opportunity.

Back in my High School Daze I was a member of the Invitational Choir.  We were a Swing choir when everyone else was doing Jazz.  One of the things our beloved director, Mr. Olmsted {Big "O"], did for us was to take us on a retreat to Fort Flagler for a three day weekend.  Those events had such an impact on me that I used them as source material for writing projects throughout high school and college.

After high school I would take occasional trips on my own or with friends and visit.  I even remember one visit I took with Juli the FIRST time we were dating.

The last time I visited the batteries they were over grown and in some cases blocked off due to erosion.  ..so the signs said.  Now they are all spiffed up and have tourist signs and everything.

The walk itself went around the perimeter of the park.   I had know idea the park was that big!.  I found places I've never seen in all my visits.  Then again, I've said many times, that the Volksmarches show me things I haven't seen before.  Fort Flagler is no exception. 
dolphins_log: (Edward Watching You)
--{This walk took place Friday, September 10th}--

This was an old home town walk.  It went by the house I lived in between 1959 and 1965.  The walk itself was not spectacular.  I'd give it a 5.
But the fact that it went through my old haunts was fun.    And the distance it went, 11k, was not a distance I'd ever have dreamed I would cover when I lived there.  Not with my little 6 year old legs anyway.  Now I see how close everything has become, and an 11k walk is really just  a little a stroll.
dolphins_log: (Sea Dragon)
--{This walk took place Friday, September 3}--

I've missed a few weekday walks since the 10,000 steps challenge ended at work.  So I was a little surprised to be a touch out of step.  ..that or I did get a little flu-ish on Wednesday after all.  Or maybe it was the weather jumping up to 84 degrees when it was projected to be 75.     In any case, this walk had me somewhat out of breath.

This was an 11k walk.  Initially I was planing on giving it a 5 because it felt a little unpleasant, but now that I've gone over the photos, and I've had a chance to reflect,  I have to revise it up to maybe even a 3.  If this was a cool summer sunny summer day this would have been a very nice walk.

Of note was the payout destination of the museum district.  Next year, when antique row has finished it's gentrification it will be fun to explore, and Broadway near the convention center is a great restaurant and pedestrian road.  For my friends point of reference, this the old NorWesCon part of Tacoma, though they have a shiny new convention center now.  
There are also some fine parks and even a glass greenhouse conservatory.

Then there is Stadium High School....     Holy Hogwarts! 

dolphins_log: (Sea Dragon)
--[This walk took place Friday,  August 27th.]--

I walked the Five Mile Drive at Point Defiance last year as part of the 10,000 steps challenge  from work, so this is not new territory for me.  However the Volksmarch took it in reverse, circling against traffic and going clockwise.  Sure, a big safety factor, but also i got  all the back roads behind the zoo buildings and through the parking lot out of the way first.

I'd give this one a 3 on my  on my 1 to 10 scale...
---[1 is Cannon Beach : 10 is a march through nettle fields wearing shorts.]---
... only because it a long walk through the woods.  Pastoral, but no too much to be surprised by.  I suppose the fact that I've done it before would influence my score.

This would be a great fall walk, with the turning leave and brisk air.  Perhaps even a good Winter Walk.  This Summer day was nice, the temperature has just turned the corner and is heading for fall.  I didn't need a coat, but it certainly wasn't hot.  You meet a lot of joggers too, so it's a social walk as well.

Interesting thoughts about Fort Nisqually...  The Dupont walk showed where the fort once was.  Fort Nisqually was closed and vacated in 1869.  The land was purchased by the US Government from the Hudson Bay Company and the fort was alowed to deteriorate.  In the 1930s, Fort Nisqually was rebuilt in its current location in Point Defiance Park.    Only two buildings, the  grainery and factor's house, were moved from their original locations, the rest having fallen apart in the intervening 60 years.

Now as far as history is concerned 60 years is a bit of an eye blink.  But when I consider the transition from Fenced Frontier Fort -to- Municipal City Park, it is amazing to me to associate the term "eye blink" to that.  Once again, history  sneaks a little closer to my "now" point of view.

 
 

 
dolphins_log: (Pagoda)
--[Walk Taken Friday, August 20]--

Oh wow!  This is Tacoma?  This was not what I expected.   On my 1 to 10 scale...
---[1 is Cannon Beach : 10 is a march through nettle fields wearing shorts.]---
...I have to give this a 1.

This is a very beautiful walk, one that has to be taken in the Summer Sun to get the full effect.   The first 3 k of the 10 k walk is along the Rustin Waterfront.  It's a waterfront park almost the entire distance, occasionally interrupted by a restaurant on a pier.  On the other side of the road are the busy railroad tracks where trains rumble through frequently.  Across the bay is a view on Vashon and Maury Islands and West Seattle in the distance.  On the Water there are a number of freighters underway and sailboats.  Parasails are out there constantly, I walked by their start point.

There is a  7k version of the walk gets to the end of the waterfront sidewalk and returns, and that in itself would be a beautiful walk.  The 10k leaves the water and heads up into the Proctor district.  There is a bit of a huff and puff hill once you leave the water, but it levels out nicely, and after a few blocks wanders into the High Rent district.  The homes here are both beautiful and, in most cases, historic.  Most of the lawns are cropped so close they look painted.    There's a fun commercial district, with restaurants expanding into the sidewalks, old books stores and the like. 

The route wanders through it all, with occasional overlooking views of Commencement Bay, before dropping back down to the starting point.

This was a winner.
dolphins_log: (Lombard)
[This walk took place Sunday August 15th]

Last Sunday Juli went with me on a volksmarch in Port Townsend.  She had an another motive.  She needed to perform some customer service for her work at "Maximum Savings Store".  A customer's purchase didn't make it into her bag, so Juli volunteered to bring it to her.

We had intended to walk the Waterfront Walk that we had reviewed on the internet, but when we got to the starting point and examined the maps of all four walks we chose the "Officer and a Gentleman" Walk instead.  This walk went from the Waterfront of Port Townsend to almost reaching the Point Wilson Lighthouse, passing many of the filming locations for the movie.  It was an 11k walk, but we easily made it 12 k as we couldn't pass up getting that close to the Lighthouse without walking around it.

As with all volksmarches, we got way out into the nooks and crannies that you don't normally see when you visit a town.  The paved trails through the experimental wheat field was interesting.  They are growing archival wheat from the turn of the 1900's without using irrigation.  They are using this wheat because it was what was available before pesticides, and they're looking into how hardy it is.  Bad summer for it, I would think, but is seems to be working well.

When we got out to the Straits the cool air coming from the west was wonderful.  While Port Townsend wasn't forecast to get up to the 90's that the rest of the Sound was getting, it did get close... 89.  But the air off the water on the Straits was oh so nice.

I'd give this one a 2 on my 1 to 10 scale [1 is Cannon Beach : 10 is a march through nettle fields wearing shorts].  Juli, however, said the "two grumpy hikers" made an appearance on the way back from Fort Warden.  The heat was getting to us and ... well.. when it comes to hills Juli pushes hard.  She was a bit out of breath, and it was a very steep trail.  While I didn't feel any grumpy hikers, I've put in 240k this summer and Juli has only had time for 40k.  I'll cut her some slack on this one.

 
dolphins_log: (Pagoda)

Never been to Buckley.  Well...I might have been through it as a child on my way to Mount Rainier, but passing through would not have been memorable.

Which brings up a good point about Buckley.   Buckley is okay.  I'm glad I got out of the car and walked around. 

I'd give this walk a 6, with potential of bettering itself.  The first 2 miles of the walk was a "There and Back Again" hike on part of the Foothills Trail.  This is a continuation of the same trail that I walked on in Orting.  The problem with this stretch was that I could see all the way to  "There" from all the way "Back".  It was one long straight trail through the woods. 

I talked with a few passers by.  They say that there are three pretty cool wooden bridges that have just been completed about two miles further down the trail, complete with trusses and arches.  They hinted that it was made to look like the rail bridges that were removed many years ago.  The Foothills Trail has been under construction since 1980 or so, and is being built on the railway that use to go all the way to Mount Rainier National Park.

Speaking of "The Mountain"... Wow!  One of the things that made this walk a 6 and not a 5 was the ever present and looming mountain.  Rainier is seen from almost every point in town.  Just the dome though.  Buckley is just so very close to it!  It's quite dramatic.
dolphins_log: (Coquille River Light)

I'd give this one a 5 on my 1 to 10 scale.  I'm upgrading it by one point because I stumbled across the Sumner Summer Festival on the same weekend.  I'm sure if  "The Mountain" was out then it would be even better.

The walk goes through pretty much the entire community, old neighborhoods, new neighborhoods, Main Street, the church and school zones, etc.    The only green lawns though are bank and store landscapes.  Yards may be manicured, but they are quite yellow.

[livejournal.com profile] miko2 asked me if I listened to music on these walks.  More often I don't.  I like hearing the areas as I walk through.  Freight trains are rumbling and signaling through Sumner Constantly.  The Festival was full of people sounds.  There is the sound of yard equipment, and children playing and Parks full of people.  As in Shelton, the parks are full.
So I tend to leave the iPod home on a Volksmarch, but if I'm walking around Port Orchard just to get a walk in, then I have it on.

Dragons at Festival Beyond This Point. )

dolphins_log: (Lombard)
--[I took this walk on Sunday, August 1]--

Shelton looks a bit run down.  It might be because I was there on Sunday and they roll up the streets on Sunday, or it might be because the lumber industry is suffering.  It still has a lumber mill, and a lot of other things going for it, but there are a lot of antique looking buildings that are simply bars and the like.

Still...  It has an Americana feel.  Even if the streets were empty, the parks were full of happy people.

I'd give the Shelton walk a 5 on my 1 to 10 scale [Cannon Beach being a 1].  It may be a bit run down, and part of the walk went by a mobile park full of mobile homes that will never move again,  but it had a lot of shiny surprises.

 
Dragons Find "Lots" Of Shiny Bits Beyond This Point )
dolphins_log: (Lombard)
Walked on July 30, 2010

I've never been to Orting.    There really isn't a reason to head out that way unless you want to see cool things.  On my scale of 1 to 10, 1 being great [Cannon Beach],  I'd give this one a 3.  I'd have given it a one, but it's a "there and back again" trek, and the turn around point is a gravel parking lot by a highway. 

The rest of it is great.  Orting is an old railway station for one of the historic Transcontinental Railways.   The storefronts are in good repair and very clean, though the town has suffered a bit with the economic downturn.    I see a number of signs in store fronts that say  "No Trespassing, Owned by Bank." 
The town does seem to be working on a bit of a recovery though.

The beginning of the  walk is through the town, but 8 of the 10 k walk is along the "Foothills Rail to Trail" path along the Carbon RIver.   It's a paved path that goes for miles.  From what info I could find on it, the plan is to have the trail run from the Tacoma Waterfront to Mount Rainier National Park.  Most of the trail is in place.  What an undertaking!

Orting is nearly at the foot of Mt Rainier, the Mountain dominates the skyline.  I was definitely in the Lahar Zone.
dolphins_log: (Sea Dragon)
Friday I walked 2 marches.  My pedometer read 34,012 steps that day.  Surprisingly, while I have a few blisters to show for it, I am not wiped out.

The first walk was in Dupont.   I think I remember [livejournal.com profile] dehd , and his son, Valentine, reporting on this walk once, though I may have misunderstood about a lookout over the Nisqually Delta. In any case, on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the best [Cannon Beach], I'd give this one a 2.

It's a walk through some old homes and new housing developments.  The new portion is old enough where all the broad leaf trees have grown enough to shade your walk.  Very refreshing on a hot day.    The lawns are well manicured and park like.  Lots of flags out, being so close to the military base. 

There's a new commercial center there.  There was a Starbucks that was mighty tempting and just within the Volksmarch route.    Some years ago, Juli and I commented while on a number of our trips down I-5, that they were building overpasses to nowhere.  "Nowhere" built up into this community.

The walk passed by a grassy knoll that has remained undeveloped.  I think the plan is to leave it undeveloped as it is the former location of Fort Nisqually, the fort that was picked up and mover to Point Defiance and is currently on display there.  There isn't a marker on this knoll, just a couple of pick-nick tables.  But there are houses all around it.

The last third of the trail is on access roads through a marsh.  The roads go straight a s a ruler, and could be considered somewhat boring.  Through if you take the time to look around as you walk it's still entertaining


The Fort Steilacoom walk is through the large Fort Steilacoom Park and around Lake Waughop.  There is a  HUGE field that the walk wanders about.  Part of the field is a fenced of Bark Park that is so large dogs could get lost in it.
The walk It returns through the grounds of Western State Hospital.  There are some historic buildings here that include  the last remaining buildings of Fort Steilacoom, still standing here and in use.

I'd give this walk a 3 only because part of it is on a main commercial thoroughfare.  I have to admit though, the Albersons was convenient for a quick refuel.  Near the end of this walk, being the last kilometer of a 20 K day, I was slowing up a little.  A voice behind me said "excuse me can we get by?"   I was being past by a mom pushing a fully loaded double wide stroller.  I guess I was walking a bit slow.
dolphins_log: (Sea Dragon)
Yesterday I took time out of my gardening work to take the historic town walk in Steilacoom.   I've never been to Steilacoom.  I've known that the small Pierce County ferry to McNeil and Anderson Islands departs from here.  I was not aware that there was a third tiny island named Ketron, 2000 census population 24, that the ferry also served.

This walk is a winner, though it needs to be done in the Summer Sun.  I got lucky and had just that.  The walk takes you down to the waterfront and the many parks there.  You have to cross the tracks to get to them and the trains go through at a great clip.  However even though there aren't any barriers at the pedestrian crossings, they do have loud speakers that augment the train signal well in advance.  It makes it feel like the train is right there even though it's probably a mile away.  Still takes less then a minute for the trains to get to the crossings though.

There are many old structures here.  It's the oldest incorporated town in Washington.  It was the Pierce County Seat and a candidate for the Capitol of the Washington Territories.  It's just a cool little town.
dolphins_log: (Kid Keith)
I showed up for my first "Event" and was told that I was too late.  It was 2 pm and they pull up stakes at 4 pm.  They wouldn't let me sign in.

So since they threw down a gauntlet I power marched through the 10 k walk in 1 hour 40 minutes.

Unfortunately they pulled stakes early and were gone when I got back.

It also means...
There are no dragons beyond this point.
 
dolphins_log: (Lombard)
Lots of woods on this one.  ...woods with nettles.   And me wearing shorts because it got over 90 degrees.  At least I got the hike in before the heat of the day.

...and the hills are impressive.  

I would give the Kingston walk two grumpy hikers.  But both of them got stung by nettles and went home.

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