Sunday, August 4, 2013

Arboretum Outing

Tom's cousin, Kristine, and her husband, Daniel, were in town a few days ago. We hadn't seen Kristine since she was 13, so we were delighted when she contacted us and asked if we could get together on Friday afternoon. We settled on an outing to the Washington Park Arboretum, an amazing botanical garden on the shores of Lake Washington. Its 230 acres feature a wide variety of plants, hiking trails, waterways for canoeing, a ball field, and a Japanese Garden, along with the Graham Visitor Center, which houses an information desk, a gift shop and an auditorium. While we were there the patio of the visitor center was being set up for a wedding.
Tom at Visitor Center
We walked through the park, along trails through old native plants, stands of tall, stately trees, through areas of families of trees (such as magnolia, larches, and walnut) and through the woodland garden. The hydrangea were just beginning to bloom.

View of Seattle from the park
In the middle of the park we had stopped to look around when someone pointed out an owl in a tree. His mouth was opening and closing and his head bobbed as he ate. He saw us, even looked us in the eyes, but he seemed undisturbed by our presence. We watched him for quite a while, then, suddenly, he stretched out his wings and drifted to the ground landing perhaps ten feet from us! He landed on his belly, as if he was pouncing on a mouse,  his wings still outstretched, and lay flat. Sometimes he'd turn his head around or stretch it way back, so that you could see only feathers and not his face. He sunned himself for perhaps five minutes. As quickly as he had touched down, he flew back to his branch.

When we arrived at the Japanese Garden at the far end of the park -- our destination -- we found that it had closed early for a fundraiser dinner!  So we continued on to a lovely pond and sat beside it to rest a while.

We said our good-byes at QFC at University Village where we had gone to purchase -- what else? -- chocolate! Every good trip deserves chocolate!

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Here is a map of the Arboretum. Why not check out this gem of a park. Wear good walking shoes!

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