Gasworks Park in Seattle – A Modern Park with Old Industrial Structures
When you go to a park, you usually see a playground, trees, a picnic area, grassy knolls, maybe a lake and some walking paths but you would never see a gas plant (yes, you read that right, a gas plant). But if you’re in Seattle, you will. Gasworks Park in Seattle is actually a public park on the site where the former Seattle Gas Light company plant was located and believe it or not, it’s actually pretty nice! They turned that area into a beautiful park and kept the previous plant structures to give it that a very quirky characteristic. Gasworks Park First operating as a gas plant from 1906 to 1956, Gasworks became an official park in 1975. It was designed by a local Seattle architect, Richard Haag who later on won the American Society of Landscape Architects Presidents Award of Design Excellence which is highly deserved. You got to be creative to turn a gas plant into a park! Gasworks uses a good number of the old structures as a children’s play area, graffiti canvases and ruins on display. Entrance of the park This park used to be one of my favorite getaway places during college when I needed to refresh my mind after hours of studying. It was only a little over a mile away from my apartment at UW so sometimes I’d run there or take my books and walk there to study. During the winter, it’s not that nice but during spring and summer, Gasworks Park is a popular spot for students and tourists to come and enjoy a beautiful view. Frequent visitors just take in the sight of old gas plants like normal but it is an interesting sight to see for the first time. You can sit on the grassy hills and have a picnic, fly kites, walk your dog, throw a frisbee or just sunbathe. It’s fun to watch all the kayakers, sailboaters and rowers exercise their skill on Lake Union. In the summer, you’ll probably see weddings going on here and there as it’s a popular place for couples to say “I do.” I went to a wedding here a few years ago and it was lovely. My favorite part of the park is right at the highest point where there is a sundial. That spot hosted many peace concerts back in the day and it’s also the best spot to see fireworks for July 4th, if you get there early enough! It’s popular with kite flyers and I’ve even seen people sledding down the hill without snow. You might see students doing Capoeira (form of Brazilian martial arts plus dance), playing with their helicopter drones or couples taking their engagement pictures. View from the top Is it clean? To be honest, the concept sounds like a terrible combination. An old gas plant converted to a park? Not exactly your top choice for prime park real estate. The Washington State Department of Ecology and US EPA cleaned up the park using several different processes to remove all the contaminants and particles. As of today, there aren’t any known areas with surface soil contamination so it’s completely safe but if you take a look at the lake, the water looks kind of dirty. As you walk around, you’ll notice that many of the structures are covered in graffiti art. How the artists got up to the top, I have no idea. The view is pretty spectacular so whoever chose this piece of land had the right idea. You have a full on view of Lake Union, I-5 freeway, downtown, Queen Anne and the Space Needle. Other view from the top An Important Landmark in Seattle Gasworks Park was just a park with funky old structures to me back in college but after doing some research, the historical and cultural importance of this site is fairly substantial. It is probably one of the most unique and interesting landmarks in Seattle and was finally registered on the National Register of Historic Places just last year. The combination of the old industrial age and natural beauty was most creative and highly innovative by the architect and park designer. Instead of the ugly brown towers ruining a piece of land that serves as a stunning base for Seattle landscape, they actually became impressive structures, standing out and blending in at the same time with the terrain. By doing so, it also increased the awareness and knowledge of the old industrial past in the United States. When the gas plant was created, environmental safety was not in the highest regard, but it is today and the state has done a fine job cleaning it up. The old structures represent an era of the US almost long forgotten, but it also emphasizes the country’s technological development in the past 50 years. Although these towers have not been in operation for many years now, they haven’t completely lost all of the soundness and stability they used to represent. Preserved in fairly good condition, they can be easily seen from any place on Lake Union. If you get a chance to visit Gasworks Park, definitely do so. Learn about this impressive piece of historical land that represents a Seattle in the old days and a modern Seattle in the current day. Best time to go? Summer for sure. You can see what the locals like to do on a nice sunny day. It’s one of my favorite spots in Seattle! If you like this article you can like us on FB by clicking below Location Additional Visiting Information Free parking lot No entrance fee Small snack stand with facilities No hunting or fishing allowed
The Famous Rio Tarcoles Where the Crocodiles Live
If you want to go see some big crocodiles in Costa Rica, the Rio Tarcoles is the one you will visit. This river is one of the most well known in the country, not just for the crocodiles but for other various reasons as well. This river is of great importance since about half of all of Costa Rica’s population lives along the river’s basins. Rio Tarcoles (Tarcoles River) Location When you are driving to Playa Jaco from San Jose, you will pass a bridge where you can get out and walk onto to see the river. This area has become a big tourist attraction because of the immense population of crocodiles that live just several meters below the bridge. You can see them easily with the naked eye, they look like giant logs! The entire river watershed covers over 2000 kilometers and it is one of the most contaminated and polluted rivers in Costa Rica. Despite the contamination, an abundance of wildlife thrives and depends on the river for survival. Emptying into the Pacific Ocean, Rio Tarcoles begins at the point where two different rivers meet creating the border of the Carara Biological Reserve. Rio Tarcoles as seen from the bridge on the way to Playa Jaco Additionally, the river also helps irrigate agricultural lands and generates electricity. However the pollution derives from a combination of sewage, industrial waste and in 2000, a petroleum refinery accidentally leaked nearly 400 liters of fuel into the river. It is considered an unsafe place to swim in. Obviously. Wildlife Some wildlife that can be seen in Rio Tarcoles are migratory and native birds, iguanas, basilisk and macaws but the prize creature to see are most definitely the crocodiles. The amount of American crocodiles in this river is simply astounding. So much so that it’s considered to have the highest population of crocodiles in the world. If you have a keen interest in seeing these big reptiles up close and personal, there are several river cruises you can take that showcase these spectacular beasts. You take a nice safari ride on the river and at certain points near the mudflats, the guides will get out and feed the crocodiles just a couple feet away from you and you will see a great display of the strength and power of these creatures. Want more to know more about Costa Rica? Subscribe to us ! Rio Tarcoles’ main attraction is the crocodiles. Along the river are some hikes and waterfalls in the valley but other than that, there is not much else to enjoy at the Tarcoles River. There is the small Tarcoles town nearby if you want to explore a small Costa Rican community. It’s a nice place to stop, stretch your legs and see some huge crocs on the way to Jaco or Manuel Antonio. At the entrance of the bridge, you will see a restaurant, a hotel and several souvenir shops taking advantage of people stopping. It is quite the sight to see with so many crocodiles congregated in one area! If you like this article you can like us on FB by clicking below
Lenmar World Travel Adapter and Portable Power Pack
The thing I hate the most about my smartphone which I’m sure other people do too is the short battery life. Hearing that “beep beep” and knowing my phone is about to run out of juice is such an annoying feeling! I mean I just have to check my email and Twitter all the time yknow? In our day and age, we rely on smartphones. I hate to say it but it’s true. We use them for GPS, looking up numbers and reviews and oh yeah, make phone calls. Having a phone while traveling abroad is a huge help if you get lost or you need to look up a word in a language you don’t speak. There’s several options a traveler can do to extend the life of their smartphone. Depending on which one you have, you can buy extra batteries or an extendable battery but that’s not an option for all phones. One great way is to buy an external power source that can charge your phone on the go, without any plugs or outlets. My phone is kind of old, a Samsung Galaxy S2. Yeah it really is a grandpa phone so the battery life pretty much sucks and I always need an extra source of power for a full day (more than 8 hours). Lenmar Portable Power Pack Lenmar is a company specializing in batteries for all sorts of electronics and one of their products is the Portable Power Pack. We were given one to try out which I sorely needed since my battery life is not as good as it used to be. At first glance, the power pack looks great. Slim, light and it uses a micro USB which is perfect for my phone. You need to charge the power pack up before you can use it so I stuck it in my laptop and let it charge. It’s full when the blue light has lit all four indicators. After using it a couple times on my day trips, I’m happy to say that I found a great option to save my phone’s battery life. So when my phone was low, I just plugged it into the power pack and left it in my purse to charge. To charge your smartphone, you have to use your own USB charging cord for your mobile device (unless your phone has a mini USB charger like mine) and connect it to the power pack. When you want to start charging it, press the button. Specifications Lithium Power 2400mAH/8.9 Wh Voltage 3.7 VDC Good for mobile phones, Mp3 or anything with a USB Dimensions: 4 x 2.125 x 0.375 Weight : .15 ounces The Good Super light! It barely takes up any space in my purse Feels very sturdy, the casing gives you a good grip Strap included so you can easily carry it Charges relatively fast For a small pocket one, I was surprised at how fast it charged. In 2 hours, it charged my phone from 30% to full. The time it took to recharge the power pack after using it once was 3 hours from 2 circles until full, which took quite a bit longer than I thought. Other Thoughts I do wish that this one had a tablet charger as this is specific for mobile phones and MP3 players but they have another power pack with a tablet charger. This charger is great when I’m able to just leave my phone in my purse but if you’re planning on using it while it charges, it’s kind of awkward because you have to hold both devices so try to find at time when you’re not really using your phone to charge it. It’s so nice to not worry when my phone starts making the low battery beeps and I can just plug it into the power pack. Just make sure to recharge it or it’s useless! Lenmar World Travel Adapter I love having gadgets that are all in one. Having to buy different power adapters for when I travel is slightly annoying… I haven’t had to worry about it too much since Costa Rica is the same as the United States but don’t we all multi-functional tools and gadgets? Specifications The Lenmar World Travel Adapter has: 5 foldable plugs 2 USB ports Works in over 150 countries So far, I have nothing bad to say or even any criticism for this adapter. I’ve used it several times for the USB since I don’t have use for the other compatible adapter plugs right now and it charges my phone with the USB fine. The plugs are easy to pull out and put back in and it looks kind of complicated at first with all the holes but for a small device, it packs a punch. The entire device is very solid and easy to slip into a backpack or even purse. This is something that will definitely come in handy if you’re traveling to multiple countries where the adapter is needed or you can even just use it as an extra USB charger. Both the power pack and adapter are two gadgets that are really useful when traveling. You’ll have a safety backup for when your cell phone is on low battery and you have one adapter that works in many countries. We rely heavily on our electronics and these are two great tools to help make your travels a little bit easier. You can find both these products at the Lenmar website. We were given both these products to review and all thoughts and opinions remain our own.
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – An Important Preserve for Many Species
Washington is a state known for the abundance of nature and wildlife. Being right in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Washington has an immense amount of outdoor landscapes and everything you think of when you hear the words “forest” or “mountain.” There are many national parks, great hikes, mountains, lakes, forests, rivers, waterfalls, beaches, islands and the Puget Sound to enjoy. Once you venture slightly outside of Seattle, there is so much to explore if you’re a nature, wildlife or outdoor lover. Sure it’s cold and rainy 10 out of 12 months of the year but during the summer it’s absolutely gorgeous and it’s the perfect temperature to go hiking, boating or bird watching. For those living in Washington, temperatures start climbing during spring and even if it is 50 degrees with the sun out, every Washingtonian is outside enjoying the day. One of the places many Olympians like to enjoy is the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, an unique protected area home to the Nisqually River Delta, the largest estuary in Washington and hundreds of different species of birds and other wildlife. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge The delta is where the Puget Sound and Nisqually River meet, creating a rich environment for the different plants and animals. Within the 12 km squared refuge, you can find an estuary, salt and freshwater marshes, mudflats and open fields. They have built paths and walkways where visitors can venture throughout the refuge to see the different environments and wildlife. It’s definitely a favorite place for birdwatchers and bird lovers as more than 250 migrating species make their way to the refuge during the year to breed and rest. Other animals that can be seen are mink, beaver, otter, frogs, turtles, coyotes, rabbits and various fish. Cute little rabbit The birds however are the prize animal to capture on camera. Many people bring their large telescopes, binoculars and high quality camera equipment to get glimpses of hawks, herons, eagles, falcons and other special birds. Unfortunately we saw a lot of geese and ducks but one hawk, err maybe falcon? I was hoping to catch a bald eagle on camera but no luck that day. Birds Created for the wildlife As the biggest estuary restoration project in the Pacific Northwest, the maintenance of the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is extremely important. Nearly 760 acres of the Puget Sound was reconnected with the estuary back in 2009 so that the refuge could be restored and be home to many endangered and protected species. I spent an afternoon there with my family as my first time there and was amazed at the size and beauty of the refuge. Although it is right off of I-5 the freeway and you could see the bridge far away in the background, the refuge felt like it was in an area all to its own. Luscious fields stretched for miles, the marshes were full of geese and ducks and the bridges presented a wonderful walk and way to view the river, marshes and mudflats. The refuge is a wonderful place for a leisurely hike on a beautiful day in Washington or for a full outing if you’re really interested in animal viewing opportunities and nature. It’s a great place to take your family and learn more about the ecosystem and what you can do to help conserve it. Location Some things to know before you go Hours: Everyday from sunrise to sundown. Best time to see certain bird species is according to the tides Daily fee of $3 per 4 adults. Children under 16 are free Exit 114 off of I-5 N and S Certain times of the year fishing and hunting is allowed If you like this article you can like us on FB by clicking below This post is part of Travel Photo Mondays.