Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Keek at the Sea

Raise your hand if you know what a keek is...

Saturday was a strange day. I've been ignoring the house work for about a couple of months now, and desperately need to do some cleaning and sorting out. When I finally get around to vacuuming, I'm going to be able to make a third cat from all the fur the vac sucks up. My son will be here to visit in only a week, so I need to get a move on.

But on Saturday instead of cleaning, Nigel and I decided to hop in the car and head to Woodland Park Zoo in North Seattle. We never got there. Actually, we got as far as the parking lot, which was full, and full of cars waiting for others to leave so they could park. So we turned around in the lot, and headed for the closest Starbucks to rethink and regroup.

Why did I want to go to the zoo? Well, besides animals, zoos also often have interesting plants which they've used to give the animal exhibits the look of an authentic habitat. I'm planning to redo my front garden in a tropical theme, and I thought I might get some ideas and inspiration from the zoo. I could have gone to the Tacoma Zoo, which is closer, but the Seattle Zoo is bigger and recently announced the birth of a brand new baby giraffe.

Anyway, over drinks and a croissant at Starbucks, we talked about what to do instead of the zoo. Sky Nursery was nearby, but I wasn't in the mood for buying plants in pots. I wanted to see an artful display of plants in the ground (either the work of a gardener or the work of Mother Nature, it didn't matter which). Although it's a wonderful nursery which I've posted about here, Sky doesn't have a display garden.

What was nearby? Carkeek Park. What is Carkeek Park? A Northwest Seattle watershed, with "220 acres of forest, meadows, wetlands, creeks, and beach formed by the magic of water and time." From the beach you can see across Puget Sound to the Kitsap Peninsula and the Olympic Mountains. 

We actually lived near Carkeek Park our first year here in the PNW, when we rented a house just a couple of miles from the park. I was always curious about it, but we never explored there.

So that's where we went.

Our first stop was the Environmental Learning Center at the park entrance.

There's a pretty little garden bed with an enormous Joe-Pye Weed outside the Environmental Learning Center at the entrance to the park.

The beds outside the center are edged with recycled broken concrete.

We parked our car further into the park, and walked the trails to reach the beach.

Near the beach is a large meadow with BBQ facilities and picnic tables, as well as a play park for kids. I loved this cool crosswalk. Can you read the words?

A colorful mosaic near the play area.

The North Sounder commuter train travels along these tracks right beside the water. Occasionally in the winter the tracks are blocked by rockfalls.

That dark silhouette between the water and the clouds is the Olympic Mountains.

Horsetail rush/Equisetum is ubiquitous here in the PNW. It's a native that spreads aggressively.

There were lots of barnacle-covered rocks on the beach. Not a beach for walking barefoot.

We watched the waves come in.

Like most Washington beaches, this one was strewn with enormous driftwood.

Piper's Creek is a watershed creek that flows into the Sound.

There's a raised wooden walkway that goes through the wetlands by the creek.

And there's Nigel, sitting on a piece of driftwood, waiting for his wayward wife.