Thursday, June 30, 2011
Etta and I have made it to the beautiful state of Idaho.
I delivered Io Palmer's Hand to Hand gloves to her boyfriend John at their home in Moscow Idaho. She teaches art just over the border at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. Io is in Greece on her way to India for an artist residency, so John is accepting them for her. We're holding her 7'H x 2"W ladder made of twisted newspaper Iraq war stories and bobby pin rungs. The white gloves are chopped up and intended to be in a heap on the floor. We're in front of two of Io's Dad's carved wood sculptures.
After the delivery of Io's gloves, and a coffee with John, Etta and I drove through the undulating hills of Idaho to our peaceful campground at Dworshak State Park.
This hilly area is called "The Palouse" and reminds John of Mongolia, or perhaps Teletubby Land. The landscape is very wierd. To me the hills seem like huge ocean waves.
Our campsite on the edge of The Palouse was tucked down a deep canyon road with 10 mph switchbacks that went on for 3 steeply descending miles, eventually dead-ending in the park. The campsites are tucked around a lovely mountain lake inhabited by little squeeky squirrel-like short tailed rodents, deer, rabbits, pheasants, owls and singing birds. Etta went wild diving into critter holes.
The day began at 9AM with beautiful weather in Seattle. I'm traveling East for the first time on this journey–heading in the direction of home. Miss Etta and I are going solo again, camping rustic style until I reach Iowa City where the next glove artist, Dana Haugaard lives. We hit a misty rain driving over the mountains of the steep Snoqualmi National Forest.
This quickly changed on the other side of the peaks. The temporate, rainy coastal zone gave way to scrub brush, windy desert areas, irrigated farm and grazing lands and rugged outcroppings of basalt from prehistoric lava flows. The landscape of Central Washington was a surprise. It resembled the semi-desert areas of Arizona and New Mexico, minus the heat. The temps were pleasantly 70-ish.
After crossing the Columbia River near Ellenberg WA, I picked up the two lane state road 26 and first encountered the wavy, grassy, tree-less hills and holes of The Palouse. The depth and drama of the dips and rises of the landscape slowly increased as I crossed Washington and entered into Idaho.
Evening arrived in a flaming palette of orange sky splattered against a silhouette of dark green pines.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
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
I’ve arrived in Seattle along with a gentle off-and-on-again rain–the first precip since beginning this journey nearly a month ago. This is Scott Schuldt in front of his home in the Capitol Hill District. It’s an area rich in history and old money, spiced up with a hip influence, young residents and creative offerings in the neighborhood shops and eateries. Coffee here is king and queen, prince and princess. I’m staying here two nights with Scott and his wife Sarah Rosner. Scott has figured out a way to cordon off the interior of the house so Etta and the cats are separated. I can breathe easier. Etta is just hard-wired to chase critters.
I returned Scott’s six etched copper and kevlar armored Iraq War gloves from 2007. We're standing in his home beneath "The Re-education of Smedley Butler", one in his intricately hand-beaded flag series pieces. This flag addresses America's military involvement in the "Banana Wars" in the early part of the 20th century, supporting governments that allowed American corporations, like United Fruit Company to operate freely in third world countries. See more of his interdisciplinary and socially conscious art in media as diverse as beadwork, photography and map-making at http://scottschuldt.com/
Scott and I had pizza and beer for lunch at Palermo’s in his district, then off we went on a brisk walking tour of the area.
We traveled past imposing mansions on the hill on our way to Volunteer Park, and the 75-1/2 foot old Water Tower.
Scott, Etta, and I climbed the 106 steps inside to the top of the tower, and viewed the city from several angles. I tried to interest Etta in being in the picture, but no dice.
The menu for dinner was broiled, seasoned chicken, sweet potato soup with a dollop of goat cheese, broasted fingerling potatoes, baby field green salad, and homemade rhubarb crisp, topped with vanilla rice cream. Yum!
Monday, June 27, 2011
This is Joel, his Dad Bob Adams, and my daughter Ayla, with Puget Sound and a faint Mount Rainier in the distance. We’re in the back yard of the Adams’ summer place near Olympia Washington.
The front of the funky house sits down from a secluded gravel road. The back overlooks the water.
Another day of rest, mid-70s weather and quiet pleasure. Ayla snapped me writing this blog on the front deck, and I took a picture of Bob and Etta James watching a Pidgeon Guillemot swim and dive for fish in the rising tidal waters below. http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/pugetsound/species/pigeon.html
A burping seal swims by. We only glimpse its head. A screeching seagull chases a bald eagle across the water back to his aerie in the pines.
We share a final meal on this last day before I resume my solo journey. Hamburgers,salad and cooked greens from the Portland garden, and ESB brew in a mason jar from Amnesia Brewery back on Mississippi Avenue.
Mount Rainier seen from the deck, dissolves across Puget Sound in the fading light of dusk.
Goodbye to Joel and Ayla. On to Seattle in the morning.