I’ve been catching up on some video editing while stuck indoors. During the Christmas break, mum and I took a walk along the Sammamish River. There were lots of geese floating downstream and they were busy washing themselves. This involved a lot of flapping and inverting themselves in the river. Of course, when I got close, they stopped doing it while their buddies further downstream seemed to be busy washing. I did finally get some footage of it so here is a short video of geese! Bet that’s just what you wanted to see today!
When we still lived in Lancashire, we made a trip to Shropshire to visit my uncle and his family. As part of the visit, we went to Ironbridge. For those not familiar with industrial architecture, this is a significant place for the bridge made of iron (you’d never have guessed) that was a major innovation at the time. There is a great museum nearby which has old buildings and forging/casting techniques still practiced. Here is a view of the bridge itself and the steeply sided river valley that required it. Maybe we will get back there at some point on a future trip. We have friends that aren’t so far away!
November and December in Washington were pretty dry. For a state known for damp winters, we were rather lacking in rain. January and February decided to make up for that and we had days of rain and not just showers but really heavy rainfall. Local rivers are in flood all over the region. Snoqualmie Falls were on TV as the flow over the falls was raging. We have seen a variety of flow levels in our different visits based on river levels and the power generation requirements. This looked more than we had seen before and a visit seemed worthwhile.
We weren’t the only ones with this idea. Plenty of people were there and, talking to others after our visit, they all seemed to have visited too. The full width of the falls was covered and the roar of the crashing water was impressive. What was also dramatic was the impact on the viewing areas. The spray from the falls was being driven up the side of the rocks by the wind and so, while the surrounding area was dry, in the immediate vicinity of the falls, it was raining pretty heavily. One guy I talked to had his camera stop working it got so wet.
This made getting photos quite tricky. While the cameras I had were up to the task, keeping the front of the lens dry was a difficult task. The sun angle also meant any water on the lens was more conspicuous than normal. At first I tried to keep it clear but I soon gave up and just went with whatever I could get. We then went to the river in order to walk up towards the bottom of the falls. However, this had been closed off, presumably because of the river levels, so I couldn’t get the other shots I was hoping for.
While walking along the Sammammish River Trail, a couple of Mallard Ducks flew by me at low level. I pulled the camera up at short notice to get a shot. No time to change the settings so this is what I got on the spur of the moment. As it happens, the shutter speed did a nice job of blurring out the background and making them look super speedy. I kind of like it!
The drive across Vancouver Island on our way back to the ferry was exceedingly pretty. The temperature in the passes was pretty low and what I imagine happens is that the mist freezes on to the trees. The result was these beautiful white trees looking like they had been created as some Christmas decoration. We were on a main road so no chance to stop and photograph them but, as we got down to Port Alberni, the mist was still around.
As we crossed the river, we got a view along the water between the trees with the mist hanging over the surface. It looked really beautiful. I stopped further along the road where I found a gap in the trees and could get down to the bank. Once out of the car, I figured that the cold temperatures could be handled for a short while and walked back to the bridge. We had a ferry to catch so I wasn’t going to spend too long exploring but this might prove to be a very photogenic place to explore if you had the time.
We have a park very close to the house with Little Bear Creek running through it. There is a circular trail through the park but I had previously only been on one half of the trail. I finally took a walk around the whole thing and was pleasantly surprised to see that you have a nice view over the creek at a couple of locations. I only had the phone with me, but I got some shots and also put together a pano of the scene. I will have to stroll here more often.
Newhalem is a company town. It seems to exist purely for Seattle City Light – I assume they are the operators of the three dams on the river with the associated power generation capacity. The town doesn’t seem terribly large and the housing looked like it was for the power workers. Even so, the small downtown area was worthy of a walk around.
Aside from the local shops and parks, more of which will appear later on the blog, there was a suspension bridge across the river. It led to a trail through the woods which, had we had more time, we would definitely have explored. Instead we appreciated the views of the river, the bridge itself and some of the local buildings including one which was once a hotel but is now a museum – sadly closed on the day we visited.
Two of the later obstacles in the Spartan Race involved water. The first was crossing a small river. It wasn’t too deep but the cold water on tired leg muscles was not nice. The banks were also getting very muddy and slippery given the number of contestants that had been before. Then there was a second water crossing. This was across and back the river with bank climbs on both sides. The water was also a lot deeper and the bottom of the river was uneven. Here people really struggled and the tiredness was really showing.
The Sammamish River Trail runs through Woodinville and heads south towards Redmond or west through Bothell. We decided to try it out one weekend day. We were not alone as there were plenty of walkers and even more bikes. It was a pretty warm day and sections of the trail are exposed which made it hot. However, as we got closer to Bothell, tree cover meant it was a lot more comfortable. Plenty of people were also on the river in kayaks and canoes so the river does seem to attract a lot of users in one form or another.
The Riverwalk along the Chicago River takes you under the bridges. Each bridge is on a cycle for refurbishment so, while they are repainted regularly, they do progressively show signs of weathering. Some of them are rather old structures with the iron and riveting being something of a period long gone. I stopped for a while to look at the different colors that the gentle corrosion created. Nothing too drastic but an interesting contrast with the original paint color.