Thursday, October 13, 2016

Seattle Stairway 100K - stage 6

Beacon Hill to Mount Baker

This stretch was cut short due to rain... But we also added some wanderings in the wild at the beginning. And, as always, it's cool for me to see the route laid out on a map like this:


We started by taking the bus and the light rail to Beacon Hill. There's a lot to admire about the public art in and around the station, but I especially love these textile patterns on the station plaza. This work, entitled "Common Threads - Community Patterns" is by local artist Carl Smool, and features textile patterns from the cultures and heritage of Beacon Hill residents. 


Then we were off ... I tweaked the route a little so that we could make a swing past Katie Black's Garden, which I first learned about in a series of Flickr photos from the Beacon Hill neighborhood. Assuming that Katie Black was perhaps a friend of the photographer, I assumed that I wouldn't be able to visit ... but, no, it's a little public park with a nice history. 


Katie Gilmore Black was an early Seattle settler. Her husband, Frank D. Black, offered to take her on a Grand Tour of Europe, but she asked, instead, for a Japanese garden. The garden is a small piece of the Black family estate, and was restored and purchased by the city of Seattle in 1992.

The garden features a brick path that winds around two small ponds -- sadly, now dry -- and an arched stone bridge. It's a "stroll garden" because visitors see changing views as they move around the park.

In addition to the ponds ... you guessed it, some handsome stairs!

stairs in Katie Black's Garden
The lovely stone detail is repeated around the estate -- including, charmingly, on a condo development built next to the park. A nice touch. 

stairs in Katie Black's Garden
Our route then was supposed to turn to the east ... but we decided to go poke around the Pacific Tower building.

Opened in 1933 as a Marine Hospital, the Pacific Tower served as the Amazon HQ for a decade, and now houses Pacific Medical Center and some additional businesses. It's a lovely Art Deco design by Carl Frelinghuysen Gould from the Bebb and Gould architectural firm. And, unsurprisingly, it's on the National Register of Historic Places, and it's an official Seattle landmark. And, pretty.

Pacific Tower
The terra cotta at the entrance is particularly pretty:

nice chevron treatment over the entrance ... reminiscent of evergreens and mountains
We poked our heads in the entryway... well, just inside the outside doors, which were unexpectedly cracked open. These loooooooong decorations sit just on either side of the entryway. 


Having gone off-route, we ... went farther off course and admired the Seattle skyline from Dr. Jose Rizal Park.


Nice views, some pretty art -- I'd like to come back on a nicer day.


FINALLY, we made our way back to the route and arrived at the top of our first set of stairs: the Atlantic Stairway.

Atlantic Stairway; 120 stairs
These stairs dropped us down the edge of Beacon Hill; a bluff so steep that the stairs had to run parallel to the hill for a long stretch.

down, down, down...
We went *slightly* off course to make our way back to Rainier Avenue South, shifting over to the I-90 trail, where we fretted that we might end up crossing the bridge. But of course we didn't...

After crossing Rainier Avenue (glimpsing the Oberto outlet, and remembering meeting Mr. Oberto years ago at the hydroplane races), we started heading uphill again, passing the Northwest African American Museum, and Jimi Hendrix Park.


(The purple concrete is a nice touch, don't you think?)

The hill got progressively steeper -- why didn't it occur to anyone to put stairs in??? Whatever.

We reached the top of the ridge at 31st, and then dropped into Colman Park.


We realized we had been on these stairs before -- while following one of the Stairway Walks book routes.

ARE these stairs???
The path ... okay, long, winding, dirt-and-wood-and-concrete stairway ... went down through Colman Park.


Under boulevards ...


... and down some more ...


... and down ... 197 stairs in all.

We came to another tunnel with a pretty arch:


and an especially pretty graffito:


Why, yes, it *is* nice. I am going to try and remember this more often.

Then we popped out of the part at the lake, getting its Autumn on.


And then it was time for the Olmsted brothers' famous stairway -- the Dose Stairway.


The base of these stairs is so pretty -- and the stairway just goes on and on.


The swirly finish to these stairs is so pretty!


And then we climbed, 138 stairs in all.


And a nice view looking back down the stairs:


After a minute to recover -- 138 stairs, man -- we turned down a narrow path back into Colman Park. And other set of "stairs" ... sorta ...

Colman Park path ... or stairs ... or whatever
We left the park and angled up 36th to reach the foot of these babies: the Day Stairway (East).
Day East Stairway, lower section
These stairs just seemed to go on and on and on, in a series of sections.


We took a tiny break on Lake Washington Boulevard to pop out at the overlook on top of I-90.


And then up the final stretch from 33rd to 32nd ...

someone is ready to be done...
And then it started raining...


We reached 31st just as a particularly blustery squall set in. We were supposed to go another mile or so... but just decided to call it a day. We called an Uber... and couldn't figure out why the wait time went from 2 minutes to 8 minutes ... and then 10 minutes. (Spoilers!)

Since we were standing next to a bus stop we looked up the next bus ... 15 minutes? Cool. That gave us time to stop at the cute little bakery before jumping on a bus to downtown, and then home.


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