Journeys Around Seattle, #46: Ship Canal Trail

November 24, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Several days ago, during a November cold snap in Seattle, Lisa and I drove out to the north edge of Seattle Pacific University. Lisa had recently attended a conference there, and spent her lunch break walking along the Ship Canal Trail, which is a bike and pedestrian path that runs along the south side of the Ship Canal. The Ship Canal follows the path of an old railway and complements its big brother to the north, the Burke-Gilman Trail. The area it passes through, in the northern part of the Queen Anne neighborhood, is an interesting mix of nature and industry, so on a cold Sunday morning we took our cameras, bundled up, and headed out to the area for a walk.

We parked near West Ewing Park, where many of the trees were still decked out in the yellows and reds of autumn, though with the cold snap I suspected they wouldn't stay that way for much longer. There were quite a few ducks hanging out along the shore, which kind of surprised me-- if I were a duck, I'd have been somewhere in the vicinity of San Diego by this point in the year. But nevertheless they seemed to be contentedly swimming and napping on the edge of the water.

After we left the park area, the area quickly became more industrial. We passed several shipyards, where boats were undergoing maintenance, many of them sealed under huge tarps that must have been the size of football fields. We passed giant ship propellors and other parts stacked up in yards, and as went further, we passed a big training area, where rescue teams could train on various fake ships and other props.

At points we could actually see remnants of the old railroad that the Ship Canal Trail had been built along; steel bars and railroad ties still visible in the grass beside the bike trail. Eventually the trail passed across the still-operating railroad, and we walked along the edge of a huge rail yard on the edge of the canal. At that point we were getting cold and didn't really feel like walking all the way to Ballard, so we turned around. We made our way past a junkyard that had a festive little Christmas tree perched on the old rusting body of a pickup truck, and eventually we made our way back to West Ewing Park. We said goodbye to the ducks, who were definitely weathering the cold better than we were, and headed off in search of a warm lunch. 


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