Monday, January 23, 2017

Seattle Stairway 100K - Stage 8

This is a LOOOOOONG overdue recap of a stage of the Seattle Stairway 100K that we walked IN NOVEMBER. Yep, that long ago.

This stage was an odd one ... with a whole lotta stair-free traveling. But we did get a beautiful day for it!

We started on the waterfront, still a bit of a mess from all the tunnel construction and seawall repairs. Clearly the work has disturbed the sealife ... I had to rescue Wil from this land-lubbin' giant squid.

Art? Bike Rack? Beached squid? All three?
Then we climbed up the super boring stairs (which essentially wrap around an elevator ...) and made our way across town. This was so boring that I didn't take ANY PHOTOS. But we sure did eat up some distance!

Eventually we headed up the ramp that would take us over I-5 on Lakeview Boulevard... which I always think of as the start of the final stretch of the Seattle Marathon.

This path offers a glimpse into the express lanes, weirdly quiet that morning.

We then veered onto Lakeview Boulevard proper, and at one point we were directed to go up some stairs that would take us up underneath Saint Marks ... but we saw no such path. We did poke around a little, but it had rained torrentially recently, the hillside was muddy, and there really didn't look like any place to go. So we soldiered on, knowing that the route would drop back down to Lakeview after a few blocks. Why? This:

Though we would miss descending the Blaine Street Stairway, when we met it would would drop into the I-5 Colonnade: a forest of pillars like a gritty, urban, hypostyle hall. Okay, not so majestic, but I do love the built environment.

okay, so it's no Karnak, buuuuut....
Underneath I-5 there's a mountain bike park, running trails, public art, some picnic areas, a dog park, and stairs. Lots of stairs. Look, I don't know why anyone would want to picnic under a noisy freeway, but it's still nice that they're there.

We dropped out from under I-5 at the bottom edge, headed north for a block, and then arrived at the Howe Stairway ... at 388 stairs, it's the longest continuous outdoor stairway in Seattle, And it's badass. I sense that we'll be paying frequent -- weekly? -- visits here as we prep for Kili.

You can't really see what's coming....
Originally built in 1911 to connect two streetcar lines, the stairs go on and on...

Much huffing and puffing here ... but pretty quiet on this Black Friday. Guess most people were shopping... Now, I know that the GPS on a phone isn't particularly perfect, especially when hampered by a massive overhead highway ... but this close-up of our route up the stairs is pretty funny:

 This sort of thing may explain the weaving...
Wil striking a pose...
...aaaaaand more steps. 

Finally, we arrived at the top and walked up Howe Street to the crest of the hill, just past the edge of Lake View Cemetery. We contemplated stopping to visit Bruce Lee's (and Brandon Lee's) grave, but just kept going until we arrived at Boren Park and this view:

view from Louisa Boren Park
Yep, we live in a very pretty place.

We then headed down the eastern side of the ridge, entering Interlaken Park -- yet another one of the parks in our fair city that I had only visited as part of a half marathon. The park has lots of nicely maintained paths, complete with wooden stairs...

And lovely, mossy trees. I don't know why people hate moss so much, I think it's gorgeous. I wonder if I could go full moss on my garden and just forget this whole "lawn" thing?

We left the park all too soon ... and were back on neighborhood streets, and then BAM, another stairway.

22nd Avenue East Stairway : 107 stairs
 I love that Seattle still lovingly builds and maintains our stairways.

We followed 22nd Avenue East for several blocks, coming across an "outdoor gallery" from the Montlake Experimental Secret Art Society -- a collection of collages and quotations that had been laminated and then stapled to light poles.

At some point around here my watch died ... but we were in the home stretch. We crossed the Montlake Bridge, another handsome drawbridge. Apparently the first structure was a makeshift walkway, made from a series of barges, set up to help football fans cross the cut for the Washington/Dartmouth game in 1920... It was so frequently used that it proved the need for a permanent bridge, finished in 1925. 

View to the west of the Montlake Cut from the bridge -- love that autumn color!

And then, finally, we arrived at the edge of the University of Washington campus, where they had set up a handsome monument to Wil for being so damn awesome:

Then home on the bus, and another stage of the Stairway 100K complete!

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