Thursday, January 26, 2017

Seattle Stairway 100K - Stage 10

It's not quite the home stretch -- there would be one more after this. Stage 10 is the longest stage we would do -- but there's method to the madness. At almost 14 miles long, there wasn't a logical place to finish, at least from a public transit standpoint, without just walking 2 or 3 at the start. But the day was beautiful, if frigid, and we got a nice, early start -- so we were ready for a long day in our boots.

We started in Fremont not long after first light, crossing the Fremont Bridge. You can tell how cold it is because Wil is still bundled up in his down!

Drawbridge trivia: the Fremont Bridge is the most frequently opened drawbridge in the United States.

Gorgeous view looking west from the bridge along the Ship Canal:

After crossing the bridge, we dropped onto the Ship Canal Trail, oft-neglected sibling of the Burke Gilman Trail across the way. Much quieter and just as pretty.

Not far along the trail we spotted this Wishing Tree:

It's stuff like this that really makes me love Seattle.

Lots of people left their wishes.

Of course, I left mine, too. And, no, I didn't take a picture ... don't you know how wishes work???

We then headed up a steep hill past Seattle Pacific University -- crossing some icy bits very gingerly -- on Bertona. The original stairway walk information stated that these stairs were overgrown by blackberry vines, and in need of maintenance ... but in the intervening years I'm happy to report that they've been cleaned up. Thanks Seattle!

See? Not so bad!

looking back up the Bertona stairs

And, look -- they're going to replace the stairs this winter!

Hooray for Bertona, hooray for Seattle. Nice to see the city giving pedestrians some love, too.

We headed a block north on busy, bustling 15th before turning up the Ruffner Stairway, 107 recently rebuilt stairs. Niiiiice.

These were very nicely rebuilt with level landings and nice railings. Of course, that just means no more streetcar rails...

At the top, we turned north, then west back down toward 15th and the underpass to cross the Ballard Bridge. We saw a lot of tidy camps tucked away under the roads, but people were still huddled in their tents on that cold morning.

Then a boring stretch along the roads to Discovery Park ... though we had never actually approached the park from this direction. We passed Fishermen's Terminal, where I was sad that the fish's mouth on the sign wasn't working. (Not that I have ever seen it working, but I love the idea...)

Then across the railway tracks ...

And, then finally, we were in Discovery Park. We took a wrong turn, at first, but then found our way onto the Loop Trail and began the stretch in the park. We went down the stairs to the North Beach, again a little gingerly because it had been so frosty.

We walked along the water and around the point. Every time we come to Discovery Park we tell ourselves we need to come here more often. Indeed.

Don't let those bright blue skies fool you -- it's still FREEZING.

Nice view to the northwest of the lighthouse at the point.

And the quiet beach -- a rare sight.

Then it was time to head back up to the bluff.

Ahh, and such a view!

When we got up here we were, AGAIN, surprised by the park -- how much of it we have never visited. I foresee more exploration this year!

We popped out on the south side of the park... and headed south on 36th until... why, look, we're on Bertona again! (I am always so pleased to see streets on the other side of the city...)

Our route officially headed up the Dravus stairs, 2 blocks farther south... but I was amused to hit another section of Bertona stairs.

We meandered through posh Magnolia ("Seattle's old people live in Ballard. Their parents live in Magnolia."), admiring the houses and the fancy cars. We arrived at Magnolia Boulevard, with its  grand, sweeping views, and promptly headed down these stairs.

The 202 stairs of the Glenmont Stairway seem pretty sturdy... at the top... and of course my fellow stairway devotees will notice the RECYCLED STREETCAR RAILS as the banisters...

But then things get a little wobbly toward the bottom, with uneven concrete stairs.

Okay, it's not so bad looking back up the staircase... but looking down wasn't particularly pleasant! (More pleasant when Wil's in the frame, too!)

We arrived at the bottom on a narrow road that provides access to the waterfront properties -- very nice, very secluded. We even had some company:

Always nice to see a bald eagle, even if they aren't particularly rare around here.

The map was fuzzy at this point... would there be a partner stairway going up? Why, yes, yes there is!

The Montevista Stairs are only 154 stairs long... but they're narrow, very steep, and very uneven. We passed a father coming down with his two children -- they hadn't hit the really awkward part -- so I warned him that they're very uneven. I hope he was okay.

At the top of the stairs we emerged farther along Magnolia Boulevard in Magnolia Bluff Park. A little odd: I came across a Trip Advisor review that said this park is really just for locals, and because the grass was a little brown in the summer it clearly needed water. Oh, tourist, you don't realize that the brown lawn is a source of pride here in these parts. I bet you JAYWALK, too...

We were definitely pretty tired at this point, but for the most part we just had a few miles of simple sidewalk to cover before the end. Oh, except we did go down these little beauties that weren't even on our map!

Then back across the railroad tracks on Dravus, and on to a bus that took us home. Ring the bell, here comes the last lap!

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