Topic: Mount Baker
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June 21, 2013 at 6:28 PM
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.
June 17, 2011 at 6:36 PM
Sketched June 14, 11:12 a.m.
I long for summer to start every time I see the lifeguard chairs and diving boards at our city beaches. They bring to mind warm sunny scenes that can be painted with colors other than Payne’s gray.
But, after five years of living here, I know to wait well past “June-uary” 21 — the official start of the season — to put away the raincoat and reach for the sunscreen.
Senior lifeguard trainer Alvin Barnes, 30, said the lingering June gloom is disappointing for the nearly 90 lifeguards who will staff nine city beaches beginning June 25, but it gives them more time to train before better weather draws bigger crowds. Part of their job is to swim 500 yards every day.
Barnes, a certified Seattle lifeguard since age 16, has a hard time recommending a favorite beach. He said Madison is good for the high diving board, Pritchard for the nice showers, West Green Lake because it’s close to shops, and Madrona, where I sketched, for the family atmosphere. “Just try them all and don’t forget to say hi to the lifeguard.”
Sketched June 15, 1:44 p.m.
Info on beaches and free swimming lessons: seattle.gov/Parks/beaches.asp.
One day I may be able to sketch every single beach in Seattle, as Barnes suggested, but this week I only got to visit one more: Mount Baker Beach. I chose to sketch the view looking towards the south — you can see the tip of Seward Park in the background. Looking northeast from where I was, I could see the I-90 floating bridge, but I tried not to move too much because I sat on a piece of driftwood that kept sinking further and further into the sand. Luckily, I don’t spend more than 45 minutes on a sketch or I may have ended up stuck in the sand and swallowed by the tide.
Mount Baker Beach doesn’t have permanent swift rafts like Madrona but there is Y-shaped pier that takes you more than 100 feet into the lake.
Sketched June 14, 1:44 p.m.
Coming up: My once-a-month exploration of Seattle-area communities following your recommendations is coming up. Where should I go? Send me your suggestions via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!
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