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

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Walk By The Lake

Every year at this time, when Les at A Tidewater Gardener posts his Winter Walk-Off meme, I feel torn. I want to participate, but walking on a normal winter day here in the PNW is a cold, wet prospect, and on a dry day (of which we've actually had more than our usual number this year), I feel compelled to garden. I'm also often at a loss to figure out what to show you on my walk that might be interesting to look at, given the rules preclude me from showing any shots of my own garden. I suppose I could show you my neighbor's front lawn, and its junkyard chic over-abundance of working and non-working cars, parked willy-nilly on the grass. Or maybe I could just walk around the inside of my house, and show you pictures of my kitchen and living room. But I think not.

After giving it some thought, I realized it might be fun to show you Lake Tapps, but that requires about a 4-mile round trip walk, which given how slowly I walk, would take a large chunk of time. So, I decided to drive to the lake. Or, what used to be the lake, but this winter has been transformed into a rather large mud puddle.

Lake Tapps is a reservoir that was created in 1911 by Puget Sound Energy, through construction of a wooden flume that diverts water from the White River. Originally, it was used to generate hydroelectric power for the region, but it no longer is used for that purpose. In 2009 Cascade Water Alliance bought the reservoir from PSE, and this winter, lowered the lake level drastically in order to assess the condition of the entire system used to fill and empty the lake, and to replace the old wooden flume with a concrete structure. For more information about the improvement projects, click here.

Click here to see photos of the lake level as it was lowered by the Cascade Water Alliance back in September.  Click here to see photos of the wooden flume demolition and new concrete flume construction.

To see a photo of Lake Tapps from above, click here.

I've been strangely fascinated by the empty lake bed.

Normally, the concrete pylons of that dock behind the now amusing sign are completely submerged in water.

Those floating docks are for boats

Here's a summer shot, showing what they normally look like

A little further along -- note the many tree stumps, usually submerged

If the day had been clear, you would have been able to see Mt. Rainier above that tree line

Like this (from summer)

A panorama shot of the boat ramp, using my cellphone

On the way back to my car, I focused my attention on some of the lakefront properties.

I found a rather large lichen-covered branch at the side of the road, and was tempted to make a spectacle of myself by carrying it back to my car.

Old gnarly flowering tree near the parking lot

Petal-strewn dew-covered lawn

Petals on concrete

So, that's my Winter Walk-Off, finished just in time (it ends tomorrow). Maybe I'll go back to the lake today, and get that branch, now that I'm not burdened by my camera.


  1. My first thought was--That's a lot of unhappy homeowners there. I bet they're anxious for the lake to be restored.

  2. Junkyard chic - that made me laugh Alison :) the empty lake bed, there something nicely haunting about it looking like that for now.

  3. This will probably sound strange but I've always loved the name of that lake. Thanks for the closer look!

  4. Great winter walk-off! Love the look of the nearly empty lake! Have you gone back to get that branch yet?

    1. Hah! I did. I felt very conspicuous hauling it back to my car. I'm sure everyone who saw me thought I was absolutely bonkers, but...well...they're right.

  5. Pick up that stick next time. Hold your head high. If anybody asks, you're doing your part to get rid of debris that fell by the road.

  6. This is very interesting!! and it brings me good memories of my visit to Mt Rainier this summer after the fling. What a beautiful part of the world you live in!!

  7. I guess if the lake was hiding any secrets they would have been exposed by the low water levels, and being the diligent blogger you are, you would have reported them. I guess instead of secrets it should be nice to merely see some tree stumps and not a bunch of trash. Around here when the tides go extremely low, you often see sunken boats, rusted bikes, tires, shopping carts, etc... Thanks for participating in my Winter Walk-Off. I hope to get the wrap-up posted this weekend (he says with fingers crossed).

  8. My first thought when you mentioned that the lake currently being a mud puddle was : oh no, I didn't think the drought in the PNW was that bad! I'm glad it's not and I hope you have your wonderful lake back by summer.

  9. What an interesting post. I didn't know the history of Lake Tapps. In fact I have never been there.

  10. I'll bet those folks living on this lake will be relieved when it is all filled in again. I always wonder what is under the water surface. Very cool! And thanks for the explanation as to why it was lowered. Your state is beautiful. Someday I truly hope to visit as I hear it is a gardeners mecca. Going from Massachusetts to Washington must be quite a change. I am originally from Maine and now live in Tennessee-a change there too!


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