I’ve decided I’m going to start adding little blurbs to some of my pictures to give some back story and hopefully make them more interesting.
I posted this one a while back but enhanced the colors a little bit, which may make it seem exaggerated but actually is closer to what it looked like in real life.
In mid-October of last year Karen (bright green jacket) and I drove up to Mad River Glen to meet up with Jesse (dark green jacket) for a 3-day backpacking trip on Vermont’s Long Trail. Jesse was about halfway done with hiking the entire 273-mile trail from North to South, which runs the entire length of the state of Vermont.
We took the chairlift up to Stark’s Nest Cabin where we would stay the night - enjoying the peak season Vermont foliage on the way up.
We woke the next day, much to our surprise, to a think blanket of snow outside. Realizing it was not going to melt anytime soon, we made our way onto the trail. As the day went on, the snow down in the valley melted away, but remained on the ridge line. We stopped at the rock outcropping pictured above and took in the scenery - a natural gradient made possible by Vermont’s famously fickle weather.
As much as I love New England - the winters there can be brutal, and this one was no exception.
"Winter" in the Pacific Northwest so far has been a welcome change. Yeah, it rains pretty frequently - but then you get days like this. Blue skies, light-jacket weather, flowers blooming - in February!
My first PNW snowboarding experience at Crystal Mountain last weekend. I was warned beforehand that conditions would not be good. Crystal got 7 feet of snowfall the previous week, which unfortunately only lasted a few days before it rained and basically brought the mountain back to square one in terms of snow.
However - a bad ski-day on the West Coast is still pretty good by East Coast standards, so I had a great time.
Had it been a clearer day, you would be able to see the entirety of Mount Rainier in this picture but as it was you can only see the base of it. The mountains here are gargantuan and prone to avalanches. Daunting - but you can’t really beat that view.
View from the balcony of my new apartment - unfortunately I’m only subletting until June, so I’ll have to make the most of this awesome view while it lasts.
Apart from being surrounded by natural beauty like the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges, the city of Seattle itself is really beautiful, from almost every angle. I’ve never seen one quite like it.
Typical Seattle winter weather - not really raining, but definitely wet. I’ve already gotten into the habit of wearing a raincoat every day, just in case. Interestingly, most people here don’t bother with umbrellas.
I actually kind of enjoy the misty weather - the skyscrapers start to look like they’re about to disappear.
Driving a car from Vermont to Seattle for a friend in October of this year.
We took a pit stop in Montana in an area that basically consisted of hills, dirt roads, lots of sagebrush and not much else.
Sagebrush happens to be one of my favorite plants - burning it is supposed to bring clarity and peace of mind - it has a very relaxing scent. The Sagebrush Sea takes up just about the entire Western third of the country, and I always try to make sure and grab a little sample to take with me.
Article I wrote on the Kubota Garden for work:
Walking along Renton Avenue in the Rainier Beach area of South Seattle, a busy main road lined with restaurants, gas stations and a surrounding residential area, the word “tranquil” hardly comes to mind. And yet, nestled right in the middle of Rainier Beach is one of the most peaceful and picturesque parks that Seattle has to offer.
The Kubota Garden is a historic 20-acre Japanese-style garden established in 1927 by Fujitaro Kubota, a Japanese immigrant and self-taught gardener, and, in 1990, became one of the first projects ever funded by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP).
Kubota originally acquired five acres of logged-off swampland at the site where the gardens are now.
“It was like a mud pie, really unattractive,” says Mary Magenta, a docent, volunteer, and the Garden’s Artist in Residence, “But he was excited because he heard water and he understood as a gardener the importance of water. He wanted it not only to be a showplace but also to store his nursery stock.”
Kubota was not just creating another park – he was creating a gathering space for the growing Japanese community in Seattle.
“From what I understand he was just a really vivacious human – he not only brought Japanese gardening awareness to the Northwest, he was a real ambassador for that community,” Magenta said.
As time went on and more property became available around the gardens the whole family would chip in to reach Kubota’s eventual goal of turning the Garden into a 20-acre city park open to the public. Sadly, this goal never came to fruition in Kubota’s lifetime. He died in 1973 and his sons, Tom and Tat, worked desperately to maintain ownership of the Garden while keeping the family business afloat.
An offer from a developer to buy the property spurred the local community to come together and form the Kubota Garden Foundation, and in 1987 the City of Seattle acquired the Garden from the Kubota family. In 1990, the Garden became one of the first projects to benefit from the WWRP, receiving a grantfor an acquisition of 15.6 acres, adding a visual buffer zone to its perimeters.
The Garden itself is visually stunning. There are lush walls of bamboo and large weeping blue atlas cedars – one of which is the largest in Seattle. There are several small waterfalls and footbridges with bright red railings reflected in the ponds below.
Magenta notes the positive impact of the Garden to the local community: “We have the kind of hidden gem that is so peaceful. There’s very little [vandalism]…everyone understands what a special place this is and they don’t trash it.”
She says that she’s talked to a lot of people who have lived in Ranier Beach their whole life and never been to the Garden and she hopes to get more local community members involved in volunteering and to let them know what a special place they have right in their backyard.
“You really do feel transformed when you walk in from busy Renton avenue. I think nature is really important and we get further and further from it all the time. To have this place is just such a joy.”
For more information visit: