I've been struggling to find motivation to get outside lately. It's easy to come up with reasons not to though. Despite that I managed to get out a little this weekend.
On Saturday I went to Golden Gardens park, it's a nice little beach area. I've been reading "Walking the Beach to Bellingham" and in it he says something along the lines of the beach at Golden Gardens being the only intact beach ecosystem in Seattle. It is not large, but there is a lot of sand, a pond and a nice vegetation zone. There were currants and willows blooming near the pond. Crows were busy chasing a hawk around in the hill behind the beach. It was a pleasant overcast afternoon and I found sitting on the beach relaxing but part of me was irritated by all the people there including one guy talking loudly into his cell phone for long stretches of time.
On Sunday I decided to explore along I-90 a bit, getting off the freeway at North Bend and driving around some of the back roads finally stopping along the middle fork of the Snoqualmie at a little park I had been to once before. The weather had been partly sunny in the city but it was raining on and off when I got to North Bend, but it was nice walking through the woods and out on the sand bar in the drizzle. When I got down to the riverside I sheltered underneath a big cottonwood that had washed down. While there I talked to a nice old man (the only other person I saw there, though I saw some other people at a distance further down the river) who came to the area regularly, he told me about the flooding last fall and I asked him about what sort of animals he'd seen evidence of around there. Being there at the river made me feel wistful for a nice fishing/camping trip. As far as I can tell there isn't any fishing allowed on rivers and streams till at least March though.
From the middle fork I drove across to the other side of the freeway, I was interested in checking out the Cedar Falls area I saw in my atlas. I got back to a lake rec area, the road that went through it looked like it was normally open until 6pm, but it wasn't open when I got there so I settled for parking in the lot at the head of the lake. There were quite a few people here too. I wonder how crowded it gets when the weather is sunny. Next to the lake was a hill with an impressive looking rock outcrop at the top. I decided to try and hike up to the top, as it turned out there was a 2 mile trail up (to Rattlesnake Ridge) so my main concern was time as it was 3:30 when I started and the gate for the parking lot was supposed to close at 6. I kept up what I felt was a pretty good pace (considering I haven't been getting much exercise for quite a while) and made it up to the top in plenty of time. There was a panoramic view of the cascades and back towards the city. It was nice getting up there and looking out, but I found the uniform forest/clearcut 40 years ago look and the sprawling residential areas to be lacking aesthetically.
In thinking about why the logged over look bothers me there in a way that I haven't noticed in my experience of Sitka two things come to mine. One is that much of the logged areas around Sitka have had more time to regrow and turn into a more mature/less uniform looking forest. The other is that from the Rattlesnake Ridge viewpoint I could see for many miles in any direction and the dominant feature visible was those forests whereas the views around Sitka tend to be more broken up by mountains and ocean so if there are patches of depressing forests they don't seem to dominate the landscape in the same way.
I imagine that this posts comes across as being a bit anti people/civilization and I guess that's a bit how I felt this weekend. I'm not really sure why I felt that way because I like people and on the whole I'm a fan of civilization. Perhaps I just had a desire for some beauty, peace and solitude that I didn't end up finding in the way that I hoped.