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  • 07/25/15--11:52: Hidden delights
  • I mentioned on Thursday that I was almost positive I'd found all the North-South routes in the area, but I've still been poking around on the map, which is how I spotted this:

    (Actual Google Street View image! Not bad, eh?)

    Yesterday"s awesome walk, 4.48 miles in 1:30, 9,644 steps, 456ft gain
    4.48 miles in 1:30, 9,644 steps, 456ft gain

    That street view screenshot is point A on the map. I hoped it might lead to point B, but instead, the trail wraps around the backs of the houses on three cul-de-sacs in this neighborhood. It's not very long, so I can't imagine it gets much use. The local teenagers probably have clearings in the woods nearby to do their teenager stuff, and good for them if that's the case. This neighborhood is very far from literally anything.

    There's a little park and wooded area you can walk a ways down into at C.

    Dumbest place ever for a basketball hoop

    That is such a stupid place for a basketball hoop. I wonder how many people have missed and watched their ball roll downhill into the woods, never to be seen again.

    I also explored a little neighborhood shortcut, point D. It doesn't really go anywhere, but I'm sure it's handy for the people on that side of the subdivision. Once I emerged from that neighborhood, I basically had three options. Double back the way I came, which would have been boring, take the awesome street down that I took the day before, or head over to the Narbeck trail I posted about here. That's what I ended up doing, and I'm glad I did. It's an awesome climb, even if the death stairs are a little scary.

    What I didn't really make a note of last time is how well-maintained this trail is.

    Narbeck trail

    That thing is 3-8 times wider than any other similar trail I've seen. It's quite nice. I'd love to know who does all this work.

    One strange thing I saw Friday was a pink Honey Bucket at a construction site. I've never seen one before that wasn't green or gray.

    Pink Honey Bucket

    This has been a truly wonderful week. I want to walk at least 30 miles every week, and this was the first week that I've managed to in over a year due to back pain.


    It lists seven workouts but only shows six walks. The seventh was mowing the lawn. :)

    I also recently passed the 3,000 mile mark since I started keeping track of these walks. That was a pretty cool milestone.

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  • 07/26/15--12:47: Picking up where I left off
  • I mentioned the other day that I could have taken a different turn and added another four or so miles to my route, but wasn't looking to commit to that much distance. I woke up today ready for it. One thing that helped was that it rained throughout the night and it was so nice and cool outside. I'm glad I pushed it, because today's ended up being the longest walk I've taken in Everett. (Here's my previous longest Everett walk.)

    Today"s awesome walk, 8.04 miles in 2:45, 17,291 steps, 734ft gain
    8.04 miles in 2:45, 17,291 steps, 734ft gain

    Now that I know a reasonably easy way to get up out of the gulch and over to Seaway Boulevard, longer routes are easier to plan. I was a bit worried about how the trails might be after the rain, but since there's no way to find out without seeing for myself, I decided to just go for it.

    I left the house without drawing the route out on the map, and hoped I'd be able to do a couple of quick calculations in the car once I got to the dog park. I couldn't get enough of a signal to do that, so I checked routes that people have posted in the MapMyRun app hoping to find that someone had done something similar. Nobody had, but I saw that the gulch trails are more popular than I'd realized with mountain bikers. I don't know how they do it, as I can barely stand to walk across a lot of parts of the trails.

    I realized today that I still don't have much of a concept of distance when I'm on the trails, and even when I've walked in an area before, my memories of those hike definitely compress a bit. I'm always surprising myself, thinking I'm "just about there" before turning a corner and discovering I'm really not. Today, I thought for sure that I was emerging from the trails at the ball fields like the last time I went that way, but it turns out I found a path off the trail that I walked right by before. Instead of point A, I found myself on the service road, point B. I'm curious why anyone bothered to carve that trail out to there since nobody's supposed to be on that road. Oh well. I made my way to the rec center and onto the road leading out before anyone said anything.

    I'd only ever walked on Seaway going the other direction and hadn't noticed how insanely tall this hill is.


    I wanted to do the perimeter trail at Narbeck Wildlife Refuge (C on the map), but I'd remembered it as closer than it was and didn't want to add another 2-3 miles today. Another time.

    Insert MST3K reference:

    Insert MST3K reference

    It felt like it took forever, but I finally got back to the gulch. The mist coming off the trees looked awesome.


    I was only at about 7.95 miles when I got back to the car, so I went a little further and doubled back so it would break the eight mile mark. :)

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    Apparently the perimeter has been breached.

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  • 07/27/15--09:18: Nu Shooz
  • I knew after yesterday's eight miles that I'd be a little sore heading out today, so I figured I may as well break in my new shoes.

    New shoes

    If these look familiar, it's because this is my tenth or so pair of the same shoe. I like this kind a lot, and they went on sale for $25 pretty frequently. I think I paid full price exactly once, and would buy every pair my size they had any time I could find them. Alas, the streak's over. They were on clearance the last time I saw them for sale, and none of the local store locations had any my size. The pair I wore today's been waiting in a cabinet for five months or so.

    I guess this is the kind I'll try next.

    Pretty similar. I'll grab some as soon as they go on sale.

    Spotted this lovely slug as I set out on the trail. I love the ones with patterns.

    Slug of the day

    Sketchy as hell.


    Come on, Daniela. If you're gonna litter, you need to tear your name off first.


    No need to post today's route because it was that "default" loop I've posted about before. I briefly considered popping back into the gulch on the West side now that I know a couple more entrances. I stayed on my route, though, because I worried that the route would be shorter if I went in, and I need at least 4.5 miles a day the rest of the week if I want to hit 30 miles again.

    My neighbor's daughter's visiting and her dog is running around in the back yard. I've already told her it's ok. All the neighborhood cats get to run around in our yard, no reason we can't have the occasional dog visitor.

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    Steve's hacking up a hairball and Sam licked his head a few times as the ordeal started. It was like a cat version of a girl holding her sorority sister's hair back while she puked. Adorable.

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  • 07/28/15--11:55: Northern exposure
  • The last time I walked at the North end of town, I noted that there definitely needs to be a crosswalk at the intersection near Legion Memorial Park. I did my civic duty that day and filed a report on the city's website, and am happy to say they got back to me very early the next day! They're aware of the need, and have applied for a grant that they're pretty sure they'll get based on the feedback they got on their application. Unfortunately, it'll take a year for it to be installed, if indeed it does happen.

    Today"s awesome walk, 5.04 miles in 1:32, 10,833 steps, 273ft gain
    5.04 miles in 1:32, 10,833 steps, 273ft gain

    Point A on the map is what I'm referring to, and while it's treacherous to cross there no matter what, it's particularly difficult when heading North because the road curves away from your line of sight in both directions. I crossed the other way today, and it was pretty easy, though that was early and I bet it takes forever to get a break when there's a lot of traffic. Part of what I wanted to check out today was what the journey's like between that point and the next crosswalk a half mile away, point B. But I saved that for the end.

    I took this picture to remind myself to put some damn sunglasses in the damn car.


    This is the Legion Memorial Golf Course, as seen from point C.

    Legion Memorial Golf Course

    See how the map shows the whole thing as Legion Memorial Park? I was quite surprised the first time I went over there and discovered the park is just the part in the black box. The rest is golf course. Womp womp.

    The walk back along W Marine View Drive was pretty unpleasant. It's a loud highway and any views that it might have are blocked by trees. There are some smelly industrial areas, too. I'll stick to the West side when it's necessary to take it down to the waterfront or back up to the nice neighborhood, but I don't see a need to hang around the Eastern side again.

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  • 07/28/15--13:21: It's that time again
  • It"s that time again

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    1) The ball of my right foot has been sensitive for a few weeks. Not while I walked, but at home when I was barefoot. It already feels much less so after just two days in the new shoes, so I guess it's good I finally tossed that last pair.

    2) Yesterday I saw two woodpeckers fighting over territory. They were shuffling around a telephone pole and I was really hoping to get a vine, but one took off across the street and the other chased after. I love woodpeckers. They have such a cool look with that wedge for a head and the tail streaming behind. I even like that sound they make, though I've never heard it from any closer than across the street. I imagine it might be annoying if one was on the house.

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    My iPod's pretty old. I'll keep using it until it dies because it can hold our entire library, and I mostly prefer to listen to the whole thing on shuffle, skipping whenever something comes on that I'm not in the mood for. There are a few corrupt tracks here and there, and when the iPod lands on one of those, it stops. It doesn't freeze, it just sits there. Hitting play or skipping to the next track doesn't work, but shuffling again does. This happened today as I set out on my walk, and when I shuffled, it landed on a track from Faith No More's debut album, We Care a Lot, an album I hadn't heard in nearly 20 years. Until recently, I wasn't sure I'd ever hear it again.

    We Care a Lot was originally only released on cassette and vinyl, and I had the cassette. It was one of just a few that I played a lot during shower time at my parents' house, and since there were only those few, I heard this album many times over. It only occurred to me a couple of months ago before their concert in Seattle to see if it had ever been released as mp3 in subsequent years, and it turned out it had! Amazon started selling it about a year before I checked. Anyway, I hadn't actually listened to it since buying it, so I did that today. The nostalgia was wonderful.

    The sky was pretty as I set out, but I could tell by looking that it'll be pretty hot later. Thankfully I walk early enough that it's never an issue, and I don't have anywhere I have to go later.


    I have a new talent. Somehow I keep choosing to walk in neighborhoods on their specific garbage day.

    Somehow I keep going to each neighborhood on its garbage day

    Today"s awesome walk, 5.33 miles in 1:51, 11,471 steps, 511ft gain

    5.33 miles in 1:51, 11,471 steps, 511ft gain

    I've been thinking about modifying my default loop by heading back into the gulch at the community garden, then exiting at Goat Trail Loop Road, but I worried that it would be shorter if I did that, which would impact my weekly mileage total. I finally plotted it out on the map and realized it wouldn't be any shorter, and did it today. It was really nice! I got to avoid a lot of the roads that I hate because they force me to cross again and again because there's only shoulder on one side and that side keeps changing. And it was more time in the woods. Since the entry and exit points are at the same level on the same side, there aren't any slippery climbs, either. I'll consider today's route my new one when I'm over there.

    I've previously noted that I could tell parts of that area in the gulch were set up for mountain biking, and today I saw my first biker. I've always worried about having one of them run into me on a trail, but I saw him in plenty of time and was able to step off to the side. Nowhere in that area has scary dropoffs or anything, so I'm not particularly worried. The idea of running into a biker on the Eastern trails is what worries me.

    At point A on the map, there were signs saying some construction would happen today and tomorrow, and I figured I was in the clear because I got there half an hour before the time it was supposed to start. However, there were flaggers setting up at point B. That's why I tried to go West and work my way around, but there was an endless stream of cars coming up from a ferry. After about five minutes, I finally gave up and turned back. I ended up having to walk by this big smelly thing:


    No need to see and smell that thing again tomorrow, I'll just go somewhere else.

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    Me and Snoopy and a real dog

    I believe that's Smoky, the dog who went into Lassie mode and brought help when my brother David got stuck in the hole I got stuck in trying to help me get out. And of course, Snoopy's under my arm, as always.

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  • 07/30/15--11:04: Progress and Rewards
  • Once I decided yesterday that I wouldn't be heading West this morning to come back to the car, I figured today would finally be the day I explored the rest of trails on the East side of the gulch, near the recreation center. Turns out those are the nicest ones, which makes sense, since Boeing maintains them for employee use.

    My most common routine of climbing up via the center trail has been pretty good to me. It's a challenging climb, and I'm feeling the benefits from doing it so often. Spending so much time on the trails is helping, too. I can navigate them more quickly, using momentum from downhill spots to launch me partway up the next slope. The way trails are built into the terrain also influences how I carry myself along them; it's better for a trail to zig-zag up a steep hill, and by turning my feet out a bit, I can climb a steeper trail without overextending my foot.

    I knew I'd probably end up heading down one of my least favorite spots to head down, but it was worth it.

    Today"s awesome walk, 4.31 miles in 1:43, 9,271 steps, 457ft gain
    4.31 miles in 1:43, 9,271 steps, 457ft gain

    The woods in the morning are so magical, I don't know why more people aren't out enjoying them.


    The area down below the ballfields (A) is pretty neat. I think I've gone that way from the South, but approaching from the West, the view was pretty great. There's enough of a clearing and enough of a drop that you can see across the gulch to the other side with the morning sun behind you.


    That drop is where I found myself stuck off the trail that one time. It's pretty from above but pretty inhospitable if you end up there.


    I normally don't like turning back and going the way I came, but I decided to do that a few times today so I could see more of the trails. That was a good choice because I found another way onto the trails, point B. A little bit after that, something I've worried about finally happened. I turned the corner on a trail, and just then someone right above me where I was just before said hi. He was on a mountain bike, and there was enough room for me to quickly step aside. We exchanged good mornings, and he said it was him and two more bikes behind him, plus a dog. I said thanks, and that I had no idea how they do it. He shrugged it off and said it was a lot of fun.

    The dog was pretty far behind them and he ran past me like I wasn't even there. A nice change of pace from all the dogs who have jumped at me while their runner owners barely paid attention.

    And speaking of dogs, the dog park was hopping when I got back to the car. There's usually maybe one or two cars when I get back, but today there were seven or so. It was so odd that I got distracted and almost forgot to turn off the walking app when I got back to the car.

    I suppose my next step is to do a big loop around the gulch instead of starting in the center. I think it's doable if I go counterclockwise. Maybe Sunday.

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  • 07/31/15--05:12: SchadenFriday

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  • 07/31/15--14:07: No more shortcuts
  • Today I checked the last of the spots where I suspected there may be shortcuts allowing North-South passage through the region where I've been walking. I found a shortcut today, but it only led to the street next to the one I was on instead of the one across.

    I spotted this retention pond on the map recently and hoped to be able to go around it on the West side, but there was only a way by it on the East, which is how I got to the next street over.

    Where I emerged is point A on today's map.

    Today"s awesome walk, 4.6 miles 1:37, 9,886 steps, 364ft gain
    4.6 miles 1:37, 9,886 steps, 364ft gain

    That street was much nicer than the one I climbed up. Absolutely beautiful. And the views were crazy. Today was the first time I ever saw Jetty Island from up above like that.

    Jetty Island

    True to form, I was there on garbage day.


    Even the weeds in that neighborhood are beautiful.


    The landscaping at that particular house is really, really nice. I regret not grabbing a photo, so here's the Street View version. Picture this, but with a few more years of growth and maintenance. Gorgeous.


    After exploring those two streets, I'd only gone 1.7 miles. I needed a little more distance for the day, so I decided to head over to Howarth Park (point B) to answer some questions I've had.

    Was the renovation at the restrooms complete? Yes! and they used that pattern that used to be on the tables at Wendy's. Odd choice, but I love it.

    Park bathroom decorated with the old Wendy"s table print

    Does the water fountain near the restrooms work? No. I can't think of a working outdoor water fountain anywhere in Everett except Forest Park. It's frustrating.

    Is that bridge still out down below? Does it lead to the beach?

    Well, the staircase is scary as hell.


    It's a neat little path down there, and I can see that it's not impossible to go where the bridge used to be. But it's pretty steep and I won't do it. At least not until the beach is officially open. I feel like maybe I've gone down there before, but I'm not positive and it's not worth searching for the answer. :)

    Did those guys I saw with a bucket at Harborview Park (C) know a way down to a beach? And if so, did they have plausible deniability since it's almost certainly off limits?

    Maybe. I found a cleared path and there was a sign that a bunch of people had spraypainted over. It probably says No Trespassing.

    Today's walk made the second 30+ mile week. I'm very happy about this.

    This week"s awesome walks

    I'm also glad it's Friday. It's good to have a break after six days straight.

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  • 08/01/15--06:23: CATURDAY

  • BONUS Saturdogs

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    Pulled my hydration pack out of the closet yesterday and cleaned it so I could use it today. I wanted to go even further than last week and knew it would be dumb to head out without it.

    Let"s get physical, physical #yesfilter

    If you're thinking that photo looks like an Instagram shot, it's because it is. I got a new phone yesterday and finally decided to join. If you'd like to connect there, my handle is xtopher575. I'm sad I couldn't get christopher575, or c575, or x575, or even fivesevenfive. Oh well.

    The new phone's got a really wonderful camera.


    I stopped here for a photo so I could compare the quality to the one I took a week ago with the old phone.


    The only thing I set out to do specifically today was the perimeter trail at the Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary.


    It's a pretty nice trail, though I don't know how often I'll go back. Their hours don't work too well with how early I'm out walking these days. When winter comes, I might go out later since it'll be pitch black when I like to go now. Anyway, the trees were nice.


    The phone does quite well close up without even having to change modes.


    Today"s awesome walk, 9.44 miles in 3:10, 20,298 steps, 652ft gain
    9.44 miles in 3:10, 20,298 steps, 652ft gain

    Once I was done with the wetland sanctuary, I had a few choices. I decided to explore the roads in the upper portion of Boulevard Bluffs since I'd never been there before. I decided to just enter the neighborhood and follow the sidewalk all the way around the entire thing, taking every right turn. It's a pretty neighborhood with some nice views, but kinda cookie cutter and dull. Definitely a nice quiet place to go when I want to get some miles in without having to go very far away. I went almost four miles just in that one neighborhood!

    As I got near to where I parked, I realized I still had quite a bit of energy left, so I went over to the trails for a bit. I didn't enter where I meant to, but I did manage to walk a nice section of trail I didn't recognize.

    I went ahead and paid for a year of MVP on MapMyRun because I was curious how many walks I've done that were longer than today's. MVPs can export their walk history into a spreadsheet, so I did that and sorted it. Today was my 30th longest walk. I've had:
    14 of them between 9 and 10 miles
    12 between 10 and 11
    3 between 11 and 12
    4 between 12 and 13
    3 between 13 and 14

    And finally, my longest walk ever was 14.54 miles. I've recorded 1,073 walks totaling 3,071 miles, in 1,016 hours.

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  • 08/03/15--11:20: Take it easy, on yourself
  • After such a long walk yesterday, I figured it'd be best to do something easy today. The easiest walk I know is the Lowell Riverfront Trail, and I haven't spent much time there lately, so I headed down. And I planned ahead for all the gates to be closed, since I always get there too early. Fortunately, it's easy to park on the street nearby and enter the trails from a pedestrian bridge that goes over the railroad tracks. It's quite lovely once you enter.


    I thought I'd be able to see how much progress they've made on the new subdivision down there, but they've built the terrain up surprisingly high. It wouldn't be impossible to climb up and have a look, but I also don't feel like it'd be worth it. The hills look neat with all the heavy equipment tracks.


    It was really pretty out. I took a lot more pictures than I'll include in this post, but they're on flickr if want to see.




    River panorama.


    I saw a hot air balloon, which was pretty unusual for Washington. I'm from the hot air balloon capital of the world, so it was neat to see.


    I don't know what these are, but they remind me of an old department store logo from back home.


    Saw a set of Truck Nuts in the wild when I got back to the car. I don't think guys who have these have given much thought to the images they conjure up. I mostly just picture them bent over for a buggering.


    Today"s awesome walk, 4.09 miles in 1:34, 8,789 steps, 51ft gain
    4.09 miles in 1:34, 8,789 steps, 51ft gain

    Not sure why I bothered including the climb info, 51 feet is practically nothing.

    This place is the most popular walking spot I've been to in Everett and I'm a little baffled by its popularity. It's nice and quiet, and flat, but it's also a bit out of the way, and it's also the place where I've seen the most evidence of camping and other sketchy activity. A lot of it is paved, which I suppose is a big plus for a lot of people.

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  • 08/03/15--15:44: Recip-ease
  • I don't know exactly when I started my part-time veganism adventure, but I think it's been about six weeks. I'm reaching a comfort level where I'm not particularly worried if I can't find something or need to make substitutions. The challenge can be fun! I'm getting ready to make a batch of Thai noodles tomorrow and realized when I was at the Asian grocery that I'd forgotten all about grabbing some frozen stir-fry vegetables. I'm glad I did, though, because I decided to just browse around and find new and interesting things to cook up instead.

    I decided to make that recipe this week, along with some spring rolls, because we're having dinner guests over soon. They're vegetarians so I'd just as soon make a vegan meal since I'm already doing those, and I wanted another practice round. I don't want to actually cook that day, so I'm also seeing how good everything is if I make it the day before.

    I also discovered they sell pre-cooked pho noodles, and am beginning to believe all the restaurants use them. They just have to be dunked in hot water for 15 seconds, and I've seen that happening in kitchens plenty of times. Restaurants probably focus more of their energy on the broth. Looking forward to seeing how the ones I bought turn out. I'm also curious if restaurants use the same noodles for salads, but without heating them up. Or maybe they have to heat them, and let them dry out a bit. Who knows? I'll be experimenting.

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  • 08/04/15--11:13: The Martini Method
  • Today was finally the day I went for a full loop in the gulch without using the center trail. I'm sure that's the way a lot of people do it, but I've mostly avoided it because I don't like going down a lot of the trails. But I had a route in mind that would miss the two areas I hate the most, so I decided to go for it.

    Today"s awesome walk, 4.72 miles in 2:08, 10,145 steps, 416ft gain
    4.72 miles in 2:08, 10,145 steps, 416ft gain

    As much as I like the route today, there are some disadvantages to crossing at the Southernmost point on the trails. That's at mile marker 2 on the map, and it wouldn't really be possible if the creek had much water in it. I walked across at the water level stepping on rocks, but if it was any deeper, the only other choice would have been a "bridge" made of a single board. I'm just not an acrobat.

    Also, as I was climbing out, a dog started barking down below. Pretty sure someone's campsite was nearby. Creeeeeepy.

    Heading down that way, I realized my technique has improved quite a bit. I'm starting to understand why people like to run on trails. If you move quickly and don't overthink every step, it's much less scary. Like carrying a martini; if you keep your eye on it and go too slowly, your hands will shake and you'll start to spill. Focus on walking instead and you'll probably fare better.

    Seems a little early for Autumn, but there were leaves everywhere.


    It occurs to me that all this fun I'm having on the trails is mostly made possible by the hot, dry summer we're having. There was one big muddy spot on the trail I had to contend with, and if the rest of the trails end up like that, I'll have to stick to the center and return via the roads.

    I tried to recreate a couple of recent photos from memory with the new phone.



    At point A on the map, there was a fork in the trail, and I chose to go left because I was hoping to get back down to the center while avoiding the steep, sandy trails heading down around point B. It wasn't nearly as direct a path as I thought it'd be, and I ended up seeing a whole bunch of trail that I'd never been on before.

    I also wasn't expecting to be let out at the section of tracks that is so much higher than the center trail.


    That's just after the 4-mile mark. There was more trail I could have jumped back onto, but I was ready to get back to the car. What boggles my mind is that in all this time on the trails today, I didn't see a single other person.

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  • 08/04/15--11:21: Bonus photo post

  • Today‚Äôs theme: fallen trees


    When I stopped to get that last one, I'd been walking non-stop and looking mostly straight ahead for quite some time. Due to persistence of vision, it looked like my entire field of vision was moving away and melting slightly. That was a trip. I used to have to print tons of shipping labels at work, and if I stared at them too long, everything would flow the opposite direction when I looked away. And I had to keep my eye on them, because if I didn't fold them as they came out, they'd end up in a pile with the labels coming off the backing, making a big, sticky mess.

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  • 08/05/15--11:59: Cloudy joy
  • Decided to head back to the waterfront and do the loop I recently did starting there, but in the other direction.

    There are so many trees around here, sometimes the only place to get good shots of the sky is from big parking lots.


    I posted before about how the Westernmost residential streets overlooking the water have great views because there's about a 50-foot drop right behind them. This is what that looks like from below.


    Good advice.


    This is the spot where I was completely blinded by the sun the other day. The clouds were glorious today, plus I might have been there a bit earlier.


    There's parking across from the main part of Legion Memorial Park, and a little grassy overlook area with benches and telescopes. I think it's nicer than the rest of the park.


    When I walk in this area, I'll take pictures of a few of the houses each time.


    I love a good weeping willow. They were my mom's favorite tree.


    The last time I walked by here going the other direction, I didn't notice this bush is trimmed into a dog shape. At least, I think it's a dog.


    Grand Avenue Park

    Grand Avenue Park
    Grand Avenue Park
    Grand Avenue Park

    There are a lot of mosaics in the sidewalk at the park, so I'll snap a pic of one each time I'm there. This is the second one, I got the eagle last time. This one's my favorite, though.

    Grand Avenue Park

    Bayside P-Patch Community Garden

    Bayside P-Patch Community Garden

    I spotted this early in the walk and drove the long way home to pick it up. Upon closer inspection, it wasn't in very good shape, so I left it. I just wanted the frame.


    Today's route. Quite lovely, that area, but I do get tired of all the people. You can only say "Morning!" so many times in a walk.

    Today"s awesome walk, 5.38 miles in 1:44, 11.578 steps, 209ft gain

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