Sunday, June 21, 2009

Yep, That's a Paddling

So today we went canoeing on Lake Washington. Yeah, I know, those of you familiar with my previous adventures with small craft are already backing away in horror from the machine, expecting some tale of sunken ships and drowned rats.

No such luck this time, though I will admit I preferred to being kneeling in the canoe as opposed to sitting on the seat provided. Mainly because I have a rather large center of gravity and would prefer it to be as close to that of the boat itself (similar the Spelljammer "gravity plane") as possible. As a result of my caution, there was no tippage involved. So there.

In any event, we canoed around the Lake Washington Arboretum for a couple hours. It was a warm day, not too chill on the Lake itself, and the lake was filled with families celebrating Father's Day (Hi Dad!) in aluminum boats. Far to the south a line of rare thunderstorms were marching across the horizon, but save for the occasional rumble of thunder (which caused all typical Seattlites to look that direction, amateurs that we are), there was no real threat on the lake (thank you convergent flow, which kept most of the bad weather outside of Seattle).

It was also a special day in that they closed I-520, which runs along the northern end of the arboretum. And by "along the northern end" I mean through the area that consists of Duck and Foster islands, and the area where all the canoeing/kayaking/rowboating occurred. As a result, there was a sudden ABSENCE of car noise in the area, and something that I had not heard before while visiting - birdsong.

It was like visiting one of those "After Man" specials on the Discovery Channel, particularly paddling under abandoned and partially dismantled overpasses. But in this case it was "After Cars" instead - the bridge was a ghostly structure, while the water was alive with families in boats.

And alive with other things as well - turtles, ducks, a large number of blue herons, a eagle, a beaver house, and a kingfisher (with fish). And the water lilies were in bloom, creating a Monet-like landscape, in particular where the footbridges arched over the lake itself.

All in all, a wonderful experience, and one I recommend. the 420 should close more than a few times in the next few years, as they replace and expand it. And while the fate of the arboretum end is still up in the air, now is the time to check it out.

More later,