Giraffes are both elegant and fascinating.

Although necking might sound like a salacious after-hours activity, it's the way a male giraffe asserts dominance.  Yes, they use their necks as weapons.

Dreaming of Gazelle

I wonder what this jaguar dreams of.

Chasing gazelle?  Making baby jaguars with his (or her) cellmate at the zoo?  Finding a way through the glass, for a tasty meal of one of those unfit humans?

Cross Country Meet

A gaggle of Grade 5 girls from a number of different schools competes at a cross country meet in Lower Woodland Park.  They were running a one mile course, and looked seriously tired pulling into the finish.

NE 45th St, Sunset

Northeast 45th street follows the contours of Seattle, with the University District (and the campus' tallest building, the UW Tower) on the horizon.  Looking closely, a queue of cars eastbound down the hill is waiting to get onto Montlake.

The cause of the slowness was an inefficient diversion to allow for the weekend construction of a pedestrian bridge between the new light rail station and the university campus.

Floating Bridge Pontoon

This is longitudinal pontoon U of the new SR520 floating bridge, temporarily moored in Puget Sound before being floated through the Ballard Locks to Lake Washington.

Tall and Skinny

This "tall & skinny" new house is being constructed on a 3000 sq ft lot that was subdivided before 1957, but not built on until a recent sale of the adjacent property.  Amazingly, opponents of houses like this managed to get emergency legislation passed by city council, and there will be a one year moratorium on new permits on undeveloped lots smaller than the 5000 sq ft required by the current code.

I'd imagine that it should be possible to allow smaller homes than this to be built on these small lots, and perhaps sensible code permitting that will be written in the coming year.

Pterospora andromedea

This fruiting Pterospora andromedea is another mycoheterotroph, a plant lacking chlorophyll and entirely reliant on soil bacteria to provide nutrients for growth.  Unlike the orchid I reported earlier, this one is most closely related to blueberries and heaths.

The common name pinedrop explains the location, in the rich bed of a pine forest.

Sea Plane Crossing, Lake Union

Kenmore Air's "Maggie II" (N50KA) takes off to the north from Lake Union.  It's a DHC-3 Otter in King 5 Evening Magazine livery.

A kayaker had best be aware of air and marine traffic, as it's a congested lake, especially in good weather.

Carbon Glacier

This is the terminus of the Carbon Glacier, an impressive mass of ice that comes down to an elevation of just 3500ft in the northwest corner of Mt Rainier National Park.  This concludes my tour of Rainier for 2012, whose three vistas are within 20 miles of one another.  Although my visits were on three separate days, it would take over six hours to drive a circuit taking them in.  RAMROD is a ridiculous annual one-day bike tour taking basically this route.

The road to access this area has been washed out since 2006, and the park service has no plans to put it back.  Consequently the access to the trailhead is either a 4.5 mile (one-way) hike or mountain bike ride.  It certainly cuts down on the number of visitors.

Paradise, Rainier

Genius marketing christened this viewpoint Paradise.  It's the place most trekkers come to ascend the summit of Mt Rainier via Camp Muir, and indeed on my visit there were plenty of parties heading out for an attempt.

Sunrise, Rainier

Sunrise offers summer-only access to a viewpoint at 6400ft on Mt Rainier.  There were plans for a grand hotel in the 1930s, but the park gained control of the development and the buildings there only serve as a visitors center today.

The Emmons Glacier is visible here, and offers one of the possible routes for climbing to the summit.

Kendall Katwalk

The Kendall Katwalk is a path for pedestrians and stock, blasted into the side of a steep granite slope.  It is a bit over 5 miles north along the Pacific Crest Trail from where it crosses the I90 in Washington State.

The whole PCT is 2663mi from Mexico to Canada, hence I covered 0.2% of it on this hike.

Western Pasqueflower Fruit

These Anemone occidentalis (Western Pasqueflower) are in fruit in an alpine meadow around 5500ft.  Their flowers are white or purple and are visible for only a short while, but these seed heads will remain glorious until the fall snow arrives.

Great Blue Heron In Flight

This Great Blue Heron has just left its perch on a fir tree and is flying to another location.  It uses the ground effect close to the surface of the water to reduce effort needed to stay airborne, and glides beautifully when in stable flight.

Backlit Deception Pass Tourists

Tourists peer over of the northern bridge at Deception Pass (which actually spans Canoe Pass).  They are viewed from a sightseeing boat 180ft below, on water that is always lively from tidal effects in the narrow channels.

The bridge is a Public Works Administration project of the 1930s, and is a delight to visit.