Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Day 28-June 28, 2011- Final Day in Seattle Washington
Etta and I went canoeing in Seattle today. It was thrilling. The weather was in the 70s and overcast–perfect for paddling throughout the channels, lagoons, and inlets of Union Bay. Hand to Hand artist Scott Schuldt guided my paddling style, and lead us on a water tour of the city. (I hadn’t set foot in a canoe since a seventh grade girl scout trip.) My hand is blistered, my shoulders and back ache, but I’m invigorated.
Etta jumped twice from the canoe trying to chase some ducks and a turtle. She was shocked to find it was water with no earth under her feet. I believe she thought the lily pads and the dark vegetation filled water were solid ground. The first time, we could not catch Etta’s leash, but she quickly swam around with real fear in her eyes. The second time Scott had her leash tied to the canoe, so he yanked her quickly back in the boat when Etta realized she could not catch a duck. The dog now smells like a marsh!
Scott started our adventure this morning by pushing the canoe a mile downhill from his house to the west side of the bay on an ancient Indian portage route. He crafted a super-light, collapsible, wheeled dolly for the canoe to rest upon. Etta and I followed.
We canoed through marshes and hidden lagoons, through lily pads and lotus, alongside State Highway 520, through downtown, past houseboats, factories, dry docks, under drawbridges and even had to duck to slide under an abandoned, unfinished highway bridge.
We saw the Space Needle from the water this time. At one point earlier in the day, a fallen log crossed our water path. I had to get out and balance on a part of the log while Scott carefully eased the canoe over a low point. Then I climbed back in as gracefully as possible–(Not!)
Scott has the eyes of a hawk. He pointed out bald eagles, a blue heron next to a beaver lodge, hummingbirds, blackbirds, turtles, various kinds of ducks, a marsh wren and its woven nest, coots, several beaver scent mounds of dirt impregnated with musky castorium, and gnaw marks on downed birch and alder trees.
After circling Union Bay we went through “The Cut” at Montlake under an open-weave metal drawbridge with traffic high above us.
We crossed Portage Bay by the University of Washington, and then paddled south across Lake Union where we saw Dale Chihuly’s gray waterfront warehouse home with some of his fanciful pieces in a grided glass wall.
The houseboats along the shoreline of the lake are a playful mix of serious and humorous architecture.
We took the canoe out near the dry dock industrial area and then hiked two miles home up the hills, with Scott pulling the canoe on its dolly in tow. Much harder coming up and out! A super day.
If you would like to see Scott Schuldt's latest "View From The Canoe" art project, please visit his website at http://scottschuldt.com/VTFcanoe.html