Monday, February 18, 2013

Seattle Trip

Last week month I went to Seattle to visit my good friend Tricia.  I've been meaning to get up there since she started her PhD a year and a half ago.  After spending two weeks in San Francisco for the holidays and working out of the office there, I figured I could probably work out of the Seattle office just as easily and still hang with Tricia in the evenings.

So Saturday morning I made my way to Seattle.  That afternoon we explored the Fremont neighborhood.  Such a cute area!  After eating lunch/dinner in a diner, we headed over to Theo's chocolates which Tricia insisted was a must see.  They had samples everywhere! You could really eat a whole meal out of chocolate in that place.  I bought a chocolate covered apple cider caramel.  I really want to recreate it, now that I know how to make caramels!

The next day we got up to go for a run.  Tricia is a fantastic runner; I am not.  Fortunately, she is also a fantastic friend, so she ran at my pace with me for a couple miles and then ran again later (while I took a nap).  But she took me to Magnuson Park which was right by her house.  And what did I see? Wetlands!  It was a park with wetlands- so awesome! And we ran along Lake Washington too- so pretty.

Later that morning, we went to Ballard (another Seattle neighborhood) to check out their farmer's market.  It was fair- I wasn't impressed.  We stopped in a little cafe to get some coffee.  I love the little designs they made in my latte!

After the market, we went over to check out the locks.  I was fascinated; Tricia was cold.

It was quite the engineering set up.  There were the locks, a spillway,

and a fish ladder.

Fish jump from step to step and use the pools to rest in between

The goal of the system is three fold: keep the higher lake elevation at 20-22 ft above sea level (the bay is at sea level), move boats between the two elevations, and keep the salt water out of the lake.

A boat that wants to use the lock enters between the two gates at whatever water elevation it is coming from.  So for example, a boat trying to go from the lake down to the bay would come into the lock at a higher elevation.  Then the lock operators drain (using gravity) the water within the gates and the boat leaves at sea level.  We watched a boat coming from the bay transition to the lake.  First, the boat enters the gates at the lower water level.

Then the gate closes behind the boat,

and then using gravity again, the lock operators allow lake water to drain into the lock and raise the boat.

Then the front gate opens, at the boat can leave.

So what about the salt water mixing with the freshwater, you ask? Super cool- since salt water is denser, it will sink to the bottom of the lock and the freshwater will float on top.  The lock has a small step that keeps the salt water on the bottom from flowing into the lake when the gates are open.  Pretty cool stuff!

Later that night,I got to meet Tricia's man- we had delicious Chinese food for dinner.

The next day we went snowshoeing!  What a blast.  I had never been before, but it was so fun. 

We did one flat path that was near a creek- I loved the mix of water and ice. 

Tricia liked the icicles that were on all the trees.

The next place we checked out was more of a hike.  My shins started bothering me, so we didn't make it too high up.  But beautiful views!

That night we had dinner with Molly from my work.  Her daughter joined us and we talked a lot about education (her daughter is a teacher, Tricia and I did Teach for America, and Tricia is studying charter schools).  It was really nice to see Molly- she used to work in the office behind my cubicle in San Francisco, but she eventually returned to Seattle.

The next day I went into the Seattle office while Tricia went to do work.  The whole office was so friendly!  I grabbed lunch with a few people who do similar work and it was just really nice.  It's interesting to me how different office have such different vibes.  It took me quite a while to make friends in my current office, but the Seattle folks were just great!  I'm so glad I went in and worked there for the two work days I was there.  

So big apology for how long it has taken to post this and get back to the blog.  The good news is it is because I've been... social!  Hopefully I'll be able to recap some of the fun things I've been up to in the next few weeks.  Hope you all have been well.

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