NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

What to Do?

It was one of those days that doesn't quite pan out.  Cory and I started the day by heading out to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, just to discover it's one of those outdoor small parks that is best suited to parents with toddlers...and warmer weather. 


The ticket booth attendant recommended the Seattle Aquarium for a larger indoor venue so we will try that on Monday.  On we drove through the cold drizzle, eyeing up sights and hoping to stumble upon something else to do.  Unfortunately it was too early for lunch or I would have stopped at this place just due to the cool mural.


I thought about heading to Bremerton where I used to live as a toddler myself but decided it would just make for too long of a day.  We passed by Tacoma, where I stopped for a minute when I saw their Old City Hall.  Unfortunately the building is not open to the public.  The Italian Villa style building has a clock tower, and the bricks are believed to have come from ship ballast from China, Belgium or Italy.


The clock and bells were cast by the same foundry who did the Liberty Bell.  The building is owned by the city and they are trying to get a sale going to revitalize the grand structure, preferably a boutique hotel or other similar venue.  As I circled the building I came across an interesting mural that I assume has its roots in the Asian culture of the area.  There is a website for public art in Tacoma including murals, but this piece was not listed.


Onward to Auburn where we saw a few pieces of their Downtown Sculpture Gallery as we motored through. On Sunday we are moving to a different hotel in Auburn so I'm sure we'll get a closer look at more of the art featured there, plus we'll be revisiting Tacoma so maybe we'll see some murals as well.


I brought Cory back to our hotel and then headed back out myself to hunt down a place to walk.  Washington Trails Association has a great website for this purpose and I've used it to scope out where I'm going to try to fit in a few hikes without running into snow capped mountains hopefully. Today I settled for a 3 mile hike at King County's Lake Desire Park. 


Nothing fancy, tucked behind a residential area, it was a nice oasis after a day of driving around larger cities filled with weekend traffic.


There is no shortage of lichen and mosses in the Pacific Northwest, they love the damp air here. Though my shorter haircut isn't faring so well, it is proving to be a waste of time to straighten it in the morning!


Tomorrow morning I am lighting out very early to trek on out to Snoqualmie Falls and see what hiking I can find before the crowds show up. Then we have to move to our new hotel and hope to have time to check out the Museum of Glass in Tacoma and Dash Point State Park.


Friday, February 23, 2018

Tiger Mountain's Happy Hiker

Cory and I made it to Washington!  We're unpacked in our hotel in Kent just outside of Seattle, and of course you know it didn't take me long to hunt down a trail.


It barely hit 30F on Tiger Mountain today, but I didn't let that stop me.  No wind, no precipitation?  Good enough!


This is the coldest day of our upcoming stay, the rest of the time the temps will be in the mid 40's, which ironically is the same weather that Wisconsin will be getting.  Most likely they will be getting wind though, and the wind makes all the difference at those temperatures.


Here in Washington there are new things to see and do, even if it isn't any warmer than it is at home.  And this time next week I'll be on the trail with Linda in her beloved Columbia Gorge...unless the forecasted rain turns to ice so let's keep our fingers crossed!

Tiger Mountain State Forest south trail

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Cougar Sightings in Wisconsin

I'm sure this isn't national news, but there have been 5 confirmed cougar sightings in Wisconsin since December.  The DNR is pretty sure that the recent sighting in Brookfield as well as the others are the same cougar, a young male looking for new territory which would require a mate and food source.  To their knowledge there is no breeding female here.  First a fox sighting, then a wolf sighting, will a cougar sighting be next? Guess I better be alert on the trails as I travel around the state and not just assume I am seeing dog tracks - and maybe start carrying my hiking stick just in case!  Seriously though, the risk is small to a grown adult, only 13 people have been killed in the last 100 years in all of North America.

hiking last week near on IAT in Monches, about 20 miles
from most recent cougar sighting - all I saw was deer tracks 


If you click on this Wisconsin DNR link and then click on the sightings tab you can get access to a list of the confirmed sightings accompanied by photos.  I'm not going to be hiking in Wisconsin for the next week and a half because by the end of the week I will be hiking in the Seattle area!!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Pymouth Post Office Mural

Another post office mural has been crossed off the list in the town of Plymouth, Wisconsin.


It was painted by Charles W. Thwaites in 1942 and is titled "Making Cheese".  If you like murals Plymouth is definitely the place to go, they now have 23 of them throughout downtown painted by The Walldogs.


As you can see this one is on the side of one of the offices I visited for work!  If you want to come and find them all, here is a link to a mural map.

Linking up to Monday Mural.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Kenosha in a Snow Daze

Lake Geneva just had their snow sculpting competition this month, and apparently this is the 5th year that Kenosha has hosted a family event called Snow Daze which features ice sculpting.


Unlike the snow sculpting competition one group made all the ice sculptures for the event, and it was pretty obvious that the Olympics were the unifying theme.


Wayne has had the Olympics on our TV most of the time this past week.  I don't mind it, but after an hour or two it starts to get tiresome.  I need a story, watching people do stuff just isn't enough for me.


Though I did enjoy Shaun White's comeback gold medal performance, I will admit.


Years ago Katrina and I never missed the figure skating events, but since they changed the scoring system the sport has truly suffered in its artistry.  Again, I like a story, and figure skating used to be like going to the ballet but on ice.  Now they are so focused on the most difficult aspect of any turn or edge that most spins and footwork look slow and awkward.  It just took the fun out of it for me.


A few more ice sculptures were scattered around downtown, including in front of my favorite neon sign in Kenosha.


The ice sculpture was even a replica of the sign!


A mural pointing the way to Modern Apothecary attracted my attention.


And there were a few cool things inside, though not cool enough for me to bust out my credit card.  I did enjoy the icy rendering of the heart on the sidewalk outside.


And the store carries Cognitive Surplus notebooks, which I would buy in a heartbeat if I had anything to write down!  But I am a digital girl, living in a digital world so I just took a photo instead.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Feeling Light

I'm so busy these days with work I never even have time to get a haircut! It might have been November the last time I went to the salon in Kenosha...

Sculpture at dusk near access for North Pier Light in Kenosha

I felt so "light" after cutting off inches of hair that I headed out to the North Pier Light in Kenosha to enjoy the windless day.  Temps just under freezing?  No big deal with no wind, I'll take it!

Chin length for the first time in years, feels great!

We've had about a foot of snow here in southeastern Wisconsin over the past week, and with temps consistently below freezing for weeks there isn't much melting going on.

Ice forms along shoreline from wave action - beach actually quite a ways back

If you take the walkway out to the Light make sure to watch your step, a lot of ice built up on those windy days when the water sprays up over the walkway.


It's been a long time since I walked out to the light, and never in the winter.  Everything looked so clean and fresh.  The snow helped, but I noticed last summer that the Light had a pretty fresh looking paint job.


Complete with a little bird, not mention the "smile" sign to remind you that you are under observation.  Still, someone tagged the door with some grafitti unfortunately.


I could hear the ice groaning and moving since the air was so still, I don't think the video picked it up, but here's a short view of the ice moving in the harbor. Click to go to YouTube if you want to see it larger, though the quality isn't that good so really no need.


I saw more ice when I left the pier, I'll share it next post!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ice Fishing?

It was snow sculpting time again in Lake Geneva.  I happened to be in town to pick up a prescription last weekend and got a quick look at some of the entries.


Life below the water seemed to be a big theme this year, with bird related sculptures coming in a close second.  The Octopus playing chess against the crab took first place.  It was a beautiful piece of whimsy, very deserving of its win.  Sculpting team was from Wisconsin, because we know all about snow and ice!


Either I failed to notice who got second place because I didn't appreciate the subject or it was located elsewhere, but the crabs fighting over what I assume to be a pearl got third place. The sculpting team was from Nebraska.


The school of fish winding around the coral involved some very tricky looking work with a lot of air in between fish that I thought probably increased the difficulty but it didn't place.  Another lovely piece from a Wisconsin team.

photo not taken by me, I stay away from frozen lakes

Speaking of ice and fish, here's how Wayne spent his weekend.  Um, I'll take doing laundry and watching HBO over that, thank you very much!