An Unexciting Walktober

The Breezes at Dawn blog runs a blogging event called Walktober. The idea is that everyone who wants to participate takes a walk (jog, bike ride, etc.) between given dates in October and then makes a post about it with photos.

I think it’s a neat idea and wanted to do it, but the weather hasn’t been cooperating. (We’ve had an unusually wet October in Seattle!) I didn’t get out on my walk until Saturday, just squeaking in under the wire of the Sunday end date.

I should have picked somewhere to go that had lots of maples for autumn color. But I had a narrow weather window with the end date looming and had also been wanting to visit the pumpkin stand in the Wedgewood neighborhood. So I combined the two and opted for Magnuson Park for the walk because it was relatively near the pumpkins.

 

Boy Scouts pumpkin stand in Wedgewood on the way to Magnuson Park.

Boy Scouts pumpkin stand in Wedgewood on the way to Magnuson Park.

 

At Magnuson I decided to take a path I hadn’t been on before around the east wetland ponds that sit between the park road and Lake Washington. There wasn’t much leaf color to speak of since most of the growth is bushes and young alders.

 

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Unfortunately, my hip was bothering me a lot and a short distance down the path I was already desperately wishing for a park bench. I’d have happily settled for a log, but the few along the path were small, much too low for sitting.

I came to a path intersection where going right would take me to a spot where I could view the first pond. But I could see that the left the path would take me to the park promenade and I thought I might find a bench there, so took the left path.
I came out at the Magnuson promenade and beyond that, across an expanse of lawn, was a bench by the lake. Yay! I headed for the bench.

 

There's a bench over yonder!

There’s a bench over yonder!

 

Some cottonwoods by the lakeshore finally provided a splash of autumn color with their yellow leaves.

 

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As I approached the bench across the lawn I got an unexpected treat. The mountain was out. Even though the sun was shining there were a lot of hazy clouds so I’d assumed there’d be no Tahoma sighting. She wasn’t particularly pretty that day, but still always impressive. The bench was perfectly angled to gaze at the mountain through the dock posts of the nearby boat launch.

 

Tahoma (Mt. Rainier).

Tahoma (Mt. Rainier).

 

The bench provided a needed rest for my hip, then I used it as a base to wander around the area with being able to sit in between. The temperature was about 60 degrees and the sun through the high haze was surprisingly warm since there was no breeze to temper it. I’d actually gotten overheated in my fleece vest and ballcap during my short walk.

 

My savior bench in a lovely spot.

My savior bench in a lovely spot.

 

Water swirling around a barely submerged rock.

Water swirling around a barely submerged rock.

 

A higher peak in the Cascades was sporting its new jaunty cap of fresh snow, a gift of the very rainy week we’d just had, and was looking quite dashing. I messed up focusing, so the shot is blurry. (sigh)

 

Fresh snow on an out of focus mountain.

Fresh snow on an out of focus mountain.

 

While I was wandering nearer the shore a man approached the boat launch from the lake in a pedal boat. Unfortunately I noticed too late so didn’t get a pic before he was between the docks. I’ve only ever seen pedal boats at places the public can rent them for touring around, not privately owned like this one.

He had a pretty sweet setup. Two fishing rods were standing upright in a rack behind his seat. And in the small open area aft of that was his dog in a life vest. The two had obviously been out enjoying a quiet Saturday afternoon of fishing together on the lake.

Then I was rewarded with a western grebe swimming by. This was the third I’d seen on Lake Washington in recent weeks and I haven’t noticed them before. I’m guessing they’ve migrated in from their summer nesting areas to spend the winter fishing here. They can swim surprisingly fast.

 

Western grebe.

Western grebe.

 

The hazy clouds were getting heavier and the sun weakening considerably, so I decided it was time to head back. As I was approaching the promenade from the lawn a middle-aged couple walked by holding hands. That always makes me smile. But as I crossed the promenade to the gravel path I got a strong whiff of her perfume. Ladies, if your perfume is lingering in the park air thirty feet behind you, you’re wearing way too much!

 

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I took the wetlands path so I could get a peek at the first pond. The viewing spot was only a very short distance to the side. No birds unfortunately and the light was rapidly deteriorating.

 

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I knew I wasn’t up to continuing on to the second pond with no benches in the area, so I returned to my car the way I’d come in. Even though it wasn’t far, by the time I got near the car I was having to stop and rest my poor hip every few steps.

My Walktober outing was a disappointment, in that there was little in the way of fall color and I was so physically hindered I didn’t get to the better pond and couldn’t enjoy the walking part at all. It was a struggle. I didn’t even end up with really good photos to show for it.

However, I’m still happy I did it. I wouldn’t have gone to the park this weekend at all if not for Walktober, and it was good to be outside and soak in some sunshine while I had the chance. More rainy days coming this week it looks like.

 

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12 thoughts on “An Unexciting Walktober

  1. I didn’t know what “the mountain was out” meant until I got to your photo. Then I said “oh” out loud it was do beautiful! And I loved the mountain with the snow too. And the swimming grebe. I don’t think we have those here. All in all I think it was a lovely walk and I’m glad you took us along.

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    • Thanks, Dawn. I’m glad I learned about Walktober on your blog. I’ve really enjoyed reading about all the walks.

      The mountain is out is a saying specific to Seattle. Mt. Rainier is about 50 miles away, but so prominent it can be seen from far away. It’s often obscured by clouds or haze, so it being “out” is as much a comment on the weather as it is the mountain. You can live here your whole life and still gasp whenever you get a glimpse.

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  2. You got a lovely shot of Tahoma! I’m glad you got out for your Walktober walk too. Your Saturday outing was more successful than mine. We went to Buck Island in Monroe only to find it was closed. We had a hyped up dog that insisted on walking immediately, so we walked through a rather rundown neighborhood by the train tracks. I didn’t even get my camera out. We did catch a glimpse of the mountain but only while we were driving and there was nowhere to pull off the road.

    I usually love October but this has been the most blah one ever!

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    • I’m sorry your Saturday outing was a bust. I can picture what it was like with Smarty though. He knows going in the car means a good walk, and then there’s no way to explain to him the park is closed! I haven’t heard of Buck Island before, I’ll have to look it up.

      I agree about this October. It hasn’t been too cold which is nice, but so many dark and rainy days! It’s raining again as I write this.

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  3. The park is officially called Al Borlin Park, I think. My husband grew up on one side of it so he calls it Buck Island, like he did as a kid. It’s mostly a gravel loop through the woods but it’s pretty this time of year with all the maple trees.

    I feel like we’re in for a wet, dreary winter. I started using my Happy Light every morning to try to keep the winter blahs at bay.

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  4. I think was a beautiful walk, and not disappointing at all! I live in a very flat place, and I love mountains so it was wonderful to see them. Your images are wonderful, too. Thank you so much for participating in Walktober. 🙂

    I apologize for taking so long to come over and join you on your walk. Some unexpected events have put me behind in all things blogging.

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  5. Pingback: Walktober wanderings – breezes at dawn

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