Hiram M. Crittenden Locks

The Hiram M. Crittenden Locks in Seattle can raise a 760 by 80-foot-wide vessel 26 feet from the level of Puget Sound to the level of Salmon Bay in 10 to 15 minutes. There are two parallel locks, one for large vessels and the other for smaller craft.

We showed the adjacent Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden yesterday.

Pedestrians can cross locks

There is considerable pedestrian traffic crossing the locks. Cyclists have to walk their bikes, but I counted a dozen or more using the gardens and park as a shortcut.

Locks form permeable barrier

The locks form a permeable barrier between Lake Washington’s freshwater ecosystem and the potentially damaging saltwater of Puget Sound. They are designed to allow the passage of vessels while minimizing saltwater intrusion, something we Florida folks understand too well.

Second Renaissance Revival Style

When engineer Hiram M. Crittenden arrived in Seattle in 1906, he saw a shallow canal used for floating logs from Lake Washington to Puget Sound. His notebooks show that he envisioned a set of locks big enough to accommodate The Lusitania, the largest ship of her day.

What had begun a shallow log flume became an 8-mile-long canal, 100 feet wide and 30 feet deep, a park brochure says.

The construction of the locks began in 1911. Crittenden retired in ill health before his project was officially dedicated on July 4, 1917.

The administration building was designed in the Second Renaissance Revival Style in 1914. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Fish ladder constructed in 1916

As salmon move upstream from saltwater to the fresh water to spawn, they have to pass the locks and dam. In 1916, the Corps of Engineers constructed a fish ladder consisting of 10 steps.

I’ve seen and been through enough locks that they didn’t interest me that much. The fish ladder, though, plowed new ground.

Ladder replaced in 1976

The original fish ladder was replaced with a 21-step ladder and underwater viewing gallery in 1976. Program director Jay Wells had his audience’s rapt attention until someone noticed some Sockeye salmon heading up the ladder behind him.

Those babies are HUGE

The Sockeye was impressive enough to this 3-Mile Creek fisherman, but then a King came into the chamber.

That’s the kind of fish they were tossing around in the photos of the Pike Place Fish Market. We’re talking about something the size of a respectable log with fins.

Some of the fish were netted and tagged as they passed through the facility.

Crittenden Locks Photo Gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.

Seattle’s Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Gardens

When we visited with the Seattle Seyers, Ralph and Debbie said we had to go see the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. It had all kinds of things: fish ladders, unique boat locks and a beautiful garden. The best part was that it was free, except parking.

I have to admit that I was a little concerned about the parking when I saw a sign that said this was a high crime area or something equivalent. The sign didn’t worry me as much as the broken window glass littering the parking lot. I took all my camera equipment with me and stuck the GPS under the seat (like they wouldn’t look there).

Parade ground turned into English-style garden

We were early for the guided tour, so we elected to wander through the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden. The locks were built and maintained by the Corp of Engineers, which has a military mindset. It had parade grounds in mind when it came time to transform a gravel construction area into something more useful.

They hired Carl English in 1931 for the project. The Corps must have been distracted because English gradually transformed a manicured lawn into a world famous English estate style garden.

Ship captains delivered seeds

Working with little money, English established connections with other botanists and horticulturists all over the world to exchange specimens of trees and flowers. Ship captains going through the locks would drop off plants for the garden.

573 species of plants

English heard about the discovery of a dawn redwood in China, something that was previously only seen as a fossil. He arranged to receive some of the first seeds ever shipped to the United States. Eight of these grow in the park today.

Botanical Garden photo gallery

Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.

Seattle’s Pike Place Market

Lamberts might be the home of “throwed rolls,” but the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle is the home of the flying fish. Fishmongers got tired of having to walk out to the Market’s fish table to retrieve a salmon each time someone ordered one. Eventually, the owner realized it was easier to station an employee at the table, to throw the fish over the counter.

It’s become part street theater and part efficiency over the years.

Customers get in the act

Not only can you watch employees flinging fish here and there, customers can get involved, too. Caron St. John of New Jersey was told to practice using her “eagle talons” to grab the fish when it came flying at her.

Caron celebrates catch

She must have paid attention, because seconds later she was holding a hunk of salmon in her arms.

Wide variety of seafood

If if lives in the water, it’s likely to be found in the market. Here is a link to the fish market’s website.

Farmers’ Market opened in 1907

Pike Place Market opened in 1907 and is said to be one of the oldest continuing operating farmers’ markets in the country. Even though tourism has caused the Market’s emphasis to shift towards crafts, there is still a lot of beautiful produce sold there.

Wikipedia has a long piece on the history of the place and how it was almost lost to development.

Produce as a work of art

It’s like walking through an artist’s palette of edible paints.

Covers nine acres

The Market’s official website says that it covers nine acres and attracts 10 million visitors a year.

That’s the good news and the bad news. They must have all been here when we were in town.

“Traffic Alert. Slow traffic ahead”

We’re leaving Seattle early, partly because it looked like West Palm Beach might be visited by Hurricane Emily on Saturday, but mostly because we were tired of fighting traffic. We couldn’t go five miles without the GPS intoning, “Traffic Alert. Slow Traffic Ahead. Expect delay of 52 minutes.”

This afternoon we wait through six cycles of a traffic light before getting through an intersection on our way to a downtown attraction. We decided we don’t have that many more years left to waste them in gridlock, so we bailed.

A tour guide said that the average Seattle resident spends 44 hours a year stuck in traffic. You can see why bicycles are so popular in the area.

There might be a couple days of no updates while we’re flying back home.

Photo gallery of Pike Street Market

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.


Can’t See Forest for the Sneeze

Today was a rest day in Seattle. I came down with a killer head cold I’m going to blame on sharing the air with 300 of my closest friends on a commercial airliner.

It started coming on late Saturday. I was moderately miserable on Mount St. Helens yesterday, where I shot this photo that sums up how the world looked to me.

Since all of the trees in the blast zone were knocked down when the volcano erupted in 1980, they had to be replanted. Because they are all about the same size, their branches line up and cause your eye to think of a fuzzy test pattern. I thought I was REALLY sick until Wife Lila said she was seeing the same thing.

Mountain from a speeding car

Once we got out of the mountains and onto the Interstate, Wife Lila took over the driving responsibilities. She’s paranoid about getting my cold, so she made me ride with my head out the car window all of the way home. To reinforce her message that I should keep my distance, she’s been eating raw onions and garlic on everything including her breakfast pancakes.

She decided the best thing we could do was hole up in the room while I slept all day.

Laptop, junk food and meds

She was doing payroll and dealing with other office stuff on her laptop while I sawed away. At one point, she woke me up so she could make a long distance call. She said I was making so much noise she was afraid the caller at the other end would hear me and not her.

Finally, she said that she had endured all the serenading that she could and grabbed the car keys to go shopping. That didn’t bother me until I saw that she had returned with a huge plastic shopping bag from Bed Bath and Beyond. A bag much larger than the bath sponge she bought would have required.

I’ve seen those stories about Dr. Kevorkian and his machines. That bag looked to be just the right size to fit over a snoring person’s head.

Don’t let cherubic smile fool you

“I don’t know what happened, officer. One minute he was making the sound of a chainsaw chewing through sheet metal, then he got quiet. I just assumed that he had turned over and found a comfortable position. Oh, officer, I’m sorry about the onions. I had a big hamburger just before you got here.”

[Editor’s note: I actually made good use of the day to work on a video of the trotline experience. Youtube told me that it was going to take 869 minutes to upload. I hope it gets done before we check out.

{Right after I had typed that – and 300 minutes into the upload – a message popped up on my browser saying that my connection with the Hampton Inn’s Internet service had timed out and that I’d have to enter the super-secret code to reactivate it for 24 hours. The desk clerk didn’t know if it would drop a connection in progress or if it only kept you from establishing a new connection. He told me to call the 800-number support line. As soon as I heard the words “ATT,” I knew I was in trouble. Eight minutes after I heard the “we are experiencing a high volume of calls” announcement, a tech came on who was as clueless as the desk clerk.

[When I didn’t see the upload incrementing, I started another session. Oh, and don’t bother to use YouTube’s Advanced Video Upload with “resumable uploads.” It doesn’t resume.]