Category Archives: Exploring

Go up to Kerry Park (78)

Kerry Park has been on my list to do once I learned I was going to graduate school in Seattle. I had seen photos taken from this picturesque location and was stunned by the great viewpoint of downtown Seattle. What brought me to Kerry Park for the first time was not actually my list, but rather another assignment. I am currently in a group where we are required to make a video, so I decided to head to Kerry Park to shoot some b-roll and watch the sunset over the sound.

My journey actually starts at a beer store in Wallingford called Bottleworks. At around 1 PM Bottleworks tweeted that they had a beer I was looking for in stock, Stone Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout, so I quickly hopped on my bike to go grab a few bottles before they were all gone. Bottleworks is a great beer store, often getting rare beer but always having a great collection of craft beer. The growler bar in the back has several beers on tap, but I had never actually sat down in the place and enjoyed a beer. When I got there, 2 guys were unloading the massive shipment of beer in the middle of the store and chatting. I entered and started to look around before talking to one of the guys about what I was looking for. I told him, and he told me that hadn’t even unboxed it yet but he would certainly grab me a few bottles. I also asked if he had any more Pliny the Elder on tap, a Californian beer ranked  #6 currently on BeerAdvocate.  He said yes, to his surprise they hadn’t sold out yet, so I sat down and enjoyed a pint of this fine beer. Pliny is often sought after by craft beer aficionados and I only had the privilege to enjoy this Imperial IPA once before, so I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to have it on tap.

As I was sitting in the store, I decided to look up the sunset times in Seattle, because it was a rare blue-sky day. 4:33- Quite early, but winter is coming. It was almost 2 o’clock and I was still drinking my beer, so I decided to finish the tasty brew and bike home. I wanted to make sure I was at Kerry Park with plenty of time to claim a spot and set up my camera, so I caught a 32 bus over to Queen Anne that would arrive at 3:30. To get to Kerry Park, I recommend you get off at the 3rd and Mercer Stop. It is a short, but intense, 5-block walk up an extremely steep hill before you reach the small cliff that is Kerry Park.

5 Blocks of this!?

Other than the view, there really isn’t much to do at he park, but it is more than enough to keep you in awe. A couple of benches, random statue, and a playground make up this park perched on the hill. But honestly, none of it matters other than the view of downtown. With the city on your left and Puget Sound on your right, this view does a great job of capturing what makes Seattle, Seattle. On a clear day you can even see Mt. Rainier behind the city, which glowed a nice pink as the sun went down.

Kerry Park

After snapping a few pictures and walking around, I set up my camera and starting recording the time lapse. I had never done a time lapse before, but knew I needed to film with a steady camera for a long period of time. There are other methods, but I decided without proper research to film then speed up, rather than take a picture every 5 seconds using a special device. I ended up filming for about an hour straight, capturing the sun going down on the city and the beginning of the lights coming on. I was the lone hold out, arriving well before everyone else and being on of the last to leave. Once the sun went down, the temperature dropped quickly and my battery died before I was able to capture a night shot, but I had got what I needed. Or at least I hoped. As my camera and phone simultaneously died, I took my frigid bones back down the steep hill and to the bus stop. Luckily the bus came a minute after I got to the stop, so I could quickly warm up and get home. It took about 30 minutes each way via bus, but driving will get you from the U-District to Kerry Park in 10 to 15 minutes.

Overall, Kerry Park is a FANTASTIC free destination in Seattle that is awesome for every age. It has a playground for kids and view that doesn’t get old for everyone else. I recommend you drive, but a bus gets you extremely close. This is a place I will definitely be back to visit when it starts to warm up and skies are clearer.

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Bottleworks

Kerry Park

Seattle Sunsets

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Go to Discovery Park (79)

Friday night Ian and I were sitting around the table drinking beers discussing our weekend plans. We both agreed we wanted to do something new, so we planned to meet up at noon on Saturday to head over to Discovery Park. I had heard of Discovery Park and knew the hiking is rather mild, so it seemed like a good way to get out of the U-district and explore some of scenic Seattle.

Ian made his way down to my place by noon and we caught the bus around 1. To get to Discovery park is not the easiest without a car, requiring two bus rides through residential neighborhoods. I would recommend downloading an application that has detailed bus information, such as City Maps, if you plan to use public transit. The weather was breezy, a bit drizzly, and chilly. I only wore a flannel with a windbreaker over that so I wasn’t the most prepared for multiple weather conditions. I was comfortable at first but would later be sweating. Ian, who is used to the perfect Southern Californian weather, was wearing a thermal shirt, a sweatshirt, a winter coat, and a beanie.

After an hour bus ride we got off at the stop for Discovery Park and made our way up to the visitor center. The park is poorly labeled so we wanted to stop in the visitor center to hopefully grab a map. All we got was some poor advice from an old woman. We listened to her advice and eventually found the loop trail, but often found ourselves second-guessing the correct direction through out the trip.

The trail is 2.8 miles through all types of terrain. We started in this open meadow known as the “historic district” which had some old houses and military residence. We were able to see a sneak peak of the views over the bluff, a giant cliff overlooking the Puget Sound. In the distance were cloud-covered mountains on the other side of the sound. We knew the views would only get better so we entered the dense forest that took us down towards the beach below.

The stairs were slick, but the overall steepness was moderate. Every 100 feet or so were wooden overlooks that offered a nice break on the knees and offered a different view. We stopped at each one but eventually made our way down to the bottom and onto the rocky beach. It was windy and the water was rough, but the sun was coming out blinding us but warming us simultaneously. As we made our way down the beach we were approaching the lighthouse, the main attraction of the park. Upon reaching the lighthouse we were met by giant rocks and the point of the park leaving us standing there with nearly 270 degrees of water surrounding us. We stopped to enjoy the scenery and used it as a chance for a quick break.

At this point in the hike, Ian and I are ready to make our long journey back to the University District to watch some college football and warm up. Unfortunately, the curse of having poorly marked trails haunted us again. After making our way up the slippery stairs, we wandered for about an hour until we finally found the visitor center. I probably underestimated the ability of the hike because my legs were a bit tired at the end.

Utilizing the lovely iPhone to get our buses back, we hopped on the first one with hopes to get to Fremont with ease. Rather, we missed our connecting buys by 2 minutes. Left out in the cold by a busy, breezy street, we had twenty minutes to kill. We ended up freezing our asses off, trying to take our mind off of the chill.

We decided to stop in Fremont to get a cup of coffee before going back home because Ian had never been and it was on the way. Trusting technology again, we selected Caffe Ladro, which got fine ratings on Google and yelp. We both ordered a cup of Medici, which is a mocha drink with a hint of orange. The coffee was delicious and the barista was friendly. He even put in some pizzazz, decorating the top of our coffee using milk. You don’t get that type of service in Jersey! One negative of the place was the vibe. It was well decorated, but all the tables were filled with people sitting in silence. It was more like a library than a bustling coffee shop. We drank our coffee then ran to catch the bus so we didn’t have to stand out in the cold again. We made it home in time to watch University of Washington get destroyed by Arizona in football.

I think Discovery Park is a great place to walk and enjoy if you live in Seattle. It’s close, free, and peaceful. As for the quality of the hike, it is relatively easy and rewarding. If you want truly spectacular views though, there are plenty of places surrounding Seattle that can blow you away, if you have access to a car. I may not be back to Discovery Park right away, but I think it would be a beautiful place on a clear summer day, especially because of its affordability.

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My Trip to Fremont!

Caffe Ladro

Discovery Park

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Explore Fremont (49)

Fremont. Quite a cool place. I woke up in the morning knowing I wanted to do something on my list. Weather is perfect, leaves are changing, and I needed to get out of my small apartment. I have heard great things about Fremont and have already been to the troll, so I took the opportunity to get to know the area conveniently close to University of Washington.

Eat a peanut butter and jelly. I am on a budget after all. Still new to the city, I had to look up which bus to take to Fremont. I hop on the 31 with ease and sit down watching streets I don’t know fly by. Freaking out I missed my stop, I decided to get off on a random busy street. I wasn’t really sure where the happening part of Fremont was, so I figured I would find it on my own. I got off and walked through a residential neighborhood. After walking up a hill I reached a highway. Obviously wrong. I head back down the hill and walk up the street to a bridge that crosses the highway. I reach Fremont Street. Seems like a safe bet to take me to a place worth checking out.

I walk down the hill, which is covered with dying leaves and big trees hanging over the sidewalk. Reminds me of the Northeast and its beautiful foliage. Heading further down the street I finally reach the lively part of Fremont. Fremont, which has the sign labeling the area “The center of the universe”, is a very artsy, fun section of the city. I walked around the area checking out the little shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Center of the universe

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Fremont Troll (32) and Gas Works Park (97)

No class on Wednesday? Why not get a jump on my bucket list!

At around 1 o’clock I decided to head over to the Fremont troll. For any non-Seattle readers, Fremont is a neighborhood in Seattle close to the U-district. Underneath the aurora bridge lives a giant slab of concrete art, better known as, the troll.

So I took my bike, my camera, and advice from Google maps and headed on my way. I am new to biking this city, so I trusted Google maps to take me to the troll. Well, I took 40th street pretty much as far as I could until I hit a steep hill. Instead of straying from my pre-calculated path, I continued up this monster. Let it be known, my bike is a mountain bike, not some light, big wheeled, road bike, so this climb was a lot more strenuous than you’d imagine. After I struggled to reach the top, I needed a break for my newly gelatinous legs.

After a short break I was ready to cruise down hill. That didn’t last long; I was soon met again by more hills. This time, with the bridge insight, I decided to walk the few blocks up to the troll as others biked right on by. I guess the bucket list item “get in shape” should be one of my priorities.

Upon arriving to the troll I was surprised I was not the only one. It was Wednesday around 1:30 in the afternoon and there were about 9 people taking pictures and climbing on the troll. Prior to seeing the troll, I really did not know what to expect. I hadn’t looked at pictures so I went in with no expectations. Well, the troll has got to be over 20 feet tall and is even holding a Volkswagen beetle. Needless to say, I was impressed and inspired. The troll was built in effort to strengthen the Fremont community through art (the community voted on the design and troll was selected). Still being new to Seattle, I can really appreciate this sort of movement. Back east, you don’t get much love for the arts, at least not where I resided in suburban north jersey or New Brunswick. It is interesting to see how, even in a major city like Seattle, community can still exist, and in fact, collectively make something that is noticed, respected, and frankly, cool.

Troll description

The Troll!

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Go up to Mt. Rainier (12)

It is hard to ignore the beauty that is Mt. Rainier when you live in Seattle. Everyday people turn to the south east to get a glimpse of the mountain that completes the powerful skyline. But this massive volcano, which is the second largest mountain in North America, is not easy to get to from Seattle. Luckily for me, I was able to get out to the mountain while my parents were still here with a car. What better way to do things on a budget than to have others pay for it?

It was our first full day in Seattle and we already had plans for the day. We knew we wanted to head up to Mt. Rainier National Park, where this seemingly untouchable mountain becomes a playground for hikers, campers, and photographers. We set out for the mountain early on a beautiful clear and sunny day. The temperature was mid 50’s as we travelled out of the urban Seattle area and into more rural towns. Once off the major highway, there were several ten mile stretches of road where not a car nor house was encountered, something my family isn’t used to coming from New Jersey. As we turned up the heat in our vehicle and watched as we lost service on satellite radio, we were uncertain of what we had gotten ourselves into, even as experienced hikers.

Mt. Rainier Entrance

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