The Mount Baker Ridge Viewpoint is built over a sloping terrain that used to be off-limits and covered with blackberries and trees, said David Berger, a longtime neighbor
who rallied the community to preserve the view for future generations.
Sketched June 12, 2013
I’ve yet to visit a Seattle location that says so much about our longing for sun as the Mount Baker Ridge Viewpoint.
The pocket park perched on a slope directly above the I-90 tunnel is a contemporary “Stonehenge” where you can track the star moving through the seasons.
Seven basalt stones that could be mistaken as places to sit align with the horizon points where the sun sets at different times of the year, including the solstices and the equinox.
I visited hoping to see the last rays of daylight shine through the notch on the summer solstice stone, but you can guess what prevented me from sketching that: a big cloud!
David Berger, who led the community effort to create the park, said the fascination with the sun isn’t just a Seattle thing. It’s common to many cultures, and it may have something to do with “finding our place in the universe.”
The viewpoint, which opened in 2009, is located at 1403 31st Avenue South in a small neighborhood commercial district. As I sketched, people walked in and out of a nearby restaurant and stopped to catch a glimpse of the fleeting sunset. Berger said it has become a destination for bikers and walkers who come to “watch the world go by.”
Astronomical diagrams and historical photos of the neighborhood are displayed at the park’s entrance, making the visit a unique learning experience.