Cliffwalk – A Feat of Engineering

One more post from our visit to Capilano.  The deep valley that the river runs through and that the bridge crosses has some steep, rocky sides.  These have provided another opportunity for the owners to add some interest.  They have mounted a walkway along the cliff face.  I don’t know what inspired this but if you have seen the walkway at the Grand Canyon of the glass boxes on the Sears Tower (watcha talking about Willis) then you see a similar them.

These paths run on structure built in to the cliff face.  They are shaped so, while you have normal width handrails, the foot section is narrower so you have a more obvious view downwards.  You have no doubt how high up you are.  Meanwhile, you get to see the mounting points that have been driven into the cliff face to support all of this.

One section of the path is a semi-circle that is suspended by cables mounted on the cliff face.  It is a dramatic part of the structure and everyone is fascinated by it when they get there.  Don’t anticipate moving through this section too quickly because it does tend to back up a bit.  A little later I walked above this section and found a spot where you can look directly down on the curve and it takes on a whole new perspective.  I think it is quite beautiful.  Winding your way along the face of the cliffs on these walkways is very cool and is definitely not to be overlooked if you visit.

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An Old School Cobra

The Cobra is still a big part of Marine Corps aviation with the Zulu model the current favorite as it replaces the previous Whiskey models.  However, the Cobra started out life as an Army attack helicopter.  While they are long retired from Army service, old examples still are airworthy and one of them was performing at the Olympia air show.  I was rather pleased to see it when it initially arrived and then it performed a flying display alongside a Huey.

A lightly loaded Cobra is still an agile beast and this one was being thrown around with some zeal.  Unfortunately, the sky was rather overcast so the shape was a bit disguised by the shadows but it was still great to see the narrow fuselage combined with the broad chord rotor as it thrashed its way around the display.  What a cool looking machine.

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Snoqualmie Falls Video

I shared some photos from our visit to Snoqualmie Falls in this post.  While I was there I did shoot a little video too.  Here is a sample of that video since, with something like flowing water, stills don’t always give you quite the sense of the flow and power of the falls.

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Departing Dreamlifter Finds the One Cloud

A convenient departure of a Dreamlifter from Everett meant I could get up there to see it go.  The day was very nice so I was optimistic of getting a reasonable shot of it.  I saw it taxi out at the far end of the field (that extra tall fin the 400LCF has makes it easy to see over the ridges in the field) and it turned towards me and accelerated.

The light was shining off the fuselage and it rotated as it came over the ridge towards me.  Just as it got airborne and into a nice position, it found the one shadow that was anywhere in Snohomish county at that point.  It isn’t awful but it was pretty bloody disappointing.  As it climbed away, back into the sun of course!

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Otters on Speed

Otters are known as being playful.  However, having watched a bunch of them at Woodland Park Zoo, I have to think that they are on some serious drugs.  The speed with which they flew around the enclosure, wrestled with each other, lay in the water getting blasted by the water jets and generally acted like hooligans, you would think this was a vast waste of precious energy for a creature in the wild.  I think they must metabolize something in their food to create something like cocaine or speed.  What other reason could there be?

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Portland Eagle Launches

The F-15s based at Portland International Airport are an active bunch.  From what I understand, they tend to launch two waves of jets a day, one first thing in the morning and the next around lunchtime.  I was there early waiting to pick up some colleagues from a flight.  I was sitting in the parking lot waiting for the message that they had landed.  I wasn’t even thinking about the Eagles.  My camera was in the trunk.  Then I heard a noise and rapidly realized what it was.

I was never going to get out of the car, open the trunk, get the camera out and on in time to get the first jet but I was ready for the second and third.  It was a cloudy day so not exactly ideal conditions for shooting a gray jet but they were F-15s so who is complaining.  After a brief gap, some more jets launched as well and this time I was ready.  Just as they cleared me, I got a text from my colleagues saying they were ready to be picked up.  What excellent timing.

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Hwy 99 Crosses the Water

To get from Seattle to Fremont, you have to cross the water.  Highway 99 runs across a high bridge to get from one side to the other.  Being underneath the bridge you have a very different perspective on things.  It is an old bridge structure with concrete piers supporting the roadway.  From underneath, the symmetry of the structure is quite appealing.  What is apparent when you are there but is not so clear in a picture is the steepness of the hill as it drops away down to the water.  The gradient is pretty dramatic.  The bridge does climb a bit but the ground falls away far faster.

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My First Avanti in Ages

I do love Avantis but, for whatever reason, I have not seen one in ages.  The distinctive sound used to be something I would see quite a bit in the Midwest before Avantair went bust and their frequent appearances abruptly stopped.  To see this one show up was a nice treat.  I have yet to see one of the latest EVO versions.  They have a five bladed prop instead of the six bladed version on the previous iterations so I have yet to find out how much the tone has changed.

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Snoqualmie Historic Trains

Snoqualmie has an active historic railroad.  While we were at the falls, a couple of times we saw a tourist train running along the opposite side of the falls taking visitors on a trip.  We never got too close to the train itself while we were there but we did walk past one of the stations.  It was a nicely restored building and contained some exhibits on the old services that used to operate there.

Also, parked out of the back was an old locomotive.  It wasn’t going anywhere anymore but it did provide a great example to the visitors of the sort of steam loco that used to operate.  Now it was possible to get up close and look at the amazingly complex mechanisms it included.  Just outside town was another exhibit.  This was a snow clearing machine for the railroad.  Rather than a plow, it had a cutting head mounted on the front of the vehicle and a blower that could throw the snow in either direction as required.  This example had been rebuilt a number of times prior to retirement but now it sat by the road for visitors to check out.  (Being a black vehicle on a high sunny day meant it was also a pain to photograph!)

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The Only Airworthy Huskie

This one is about as rare as something gets.  If you are the only airworthy example, the only thing that is going to beat you is the only example at all.  The Kaman Huskie is a neat little helicopter.  It features the Kaman intermeshing rotor design which removes the requirement for a tail rotor and results in a pretty compact configuration.  These used to be in widespread service with the US forces.  Now they are scrapped or in museums.

This one lives in Olympia and it comes out to fly at their annual air show.  Apparently, there are only about 14 hours left on the rotor blades and there are no more blades so the flying is rationed carefully to get a few more years out of her.  Kaman’s rotor blade design includes control surfaces on the blade so these are not a simple item.

Seeing her towed out was a lot of fun and I was delighted when she taxied out and took off for the display.  What a fascinating shape and something genuinely different.  I was so pleased, even if the light was rather sketchy.  A cloudy Huskie is better than no Huskie at all.

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