Reserve Eploration

You’d think with the extended 4th of July weekend we’d be travelling somewhere far away for our weekend adventure, but sometimes you just need a relaxing break with no big plans.  We still wanted to enjoy the excellent weather though, so I was given a tour of the nearby Washington Park Arboretum, just south of the University of Washington.

Dock_Ducks

Ducks enjoying the weather

The park is a nature preserve known for its wildlife and urban trail network.  Many people rent canoes and kayaks to float through the wetlands.

Boardwalking

Boardwalks and lilypads

It was a perfect summer day for around along the waterfront in the heat.  Turtles, ducks, and flowering marsh plants greeted us at every turn.

Lily

Flowering waters

Some of the more stagnant pools were completely covered with tiny algae leaves, which created some neat patterns with the dancing shadows.

Floaters

Natural pond scum

My favourite picture from the day comes with a bit of a history lesson from the area.  During the highway boom there were extensive plans to build freeways throughout the Seattle Metro area, the most infamous of which was named the R.H. Thompson Expressway and would have cut through part of the reserve.

Highways

Passing over serenity

The proposed route would have connected to the existing highway (SR-520) at this location with a huge interchange over the wetlands.  The plan sparked protests and was eventually defeated by a special election in 1972.  Despite its defeat some of the connector ramps had already been built above the reserve and these still exist today as a reminder of what might have been.  A recent art installation entitled the “Gate to Nowhere” coated one set of columns under one of these ghost ramps in metal, creating an eerie portal you can float through.

Gate_to_Nowhere

The Gate to Nowhere

We didn’t jump in a boat on this trip, but I’m sure we’ll be back before the summer ends to cool off again.  Plus I need to enter the gate before the ghost ramps are removed as part of the floating bridge replacement project in the coming few years.

Photos taken 6 July 2014 with a Nikon D7100

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