Friday, August 04, 2006

ballad locks + fish ladder = watery awesomeness!

last night i promised you stories from the ballard locks and stories from the ballard locks you shall have!

the first rule in taking what really amounts to a field trip is ALWAYS PACK A BANANA!

don't ask me why. i'll just answer "potassium".

the bus was actually on time so i arrived at the locks around 10:30 or so which meant that i was too early for the guided tour.

i did watch 7 minutes of the 12 minute film, however, strictly to stay in the field trip spirit.

the locks, as some of you may know, also have a fish ladder so that the salmon that are returning to spawn have a way around them. if you didn't know that the locks had a fish ladder, this sign might be confusing.

i mean, fish squiggle up? (i'm kidding, of course. i really like this sign.) thankfully, i'd watched the film and was well prepared. (also, living in seattle helps. people always ask "how do i get to the space needle/market/salmon ladder thing/etc?". ok, they don't ask how to get to "etc" but you get my drift.)

to get to the salmon, you have to cross over the locks. on the way to the fishy goodness there is an "escape hatch" for younger salmon. it's the white water being channeled through the tube.

(i don't really understand the specifics of that section, sorry. i kind of nodded off during the always happens. i'm old.)

this next section is for the fully mature salmon. there is an observation area under the ladder so that people can view the fish swimming against the current. it's quite cool. here's the long shot:

and a photo to illustrate that salmon are FREAKIN' HUGE! (although not as freakishly huge as the battle scarred russian sturgeon that i saw at the tennessee aquarium. that guy was scary!)

as much as i loved the ladders, there was an entire seven acres of gardens and such to explore so i walked out to the locks to watch the boats. (the locks are situated in an area where fresh water meets saltwater. and it looks like i've forgotten what that type of area is called. oh well. anyway, here's the view facing vaguely seaward.

the locks were really neat. they don't use pumps and instead use gravity to raise and lower the water levels. i know that seeing photos of different stages of water levels isn't the most interesting thing in the world but here are two anyway. before the gates close:

and a few minutes after:

sorry that they weren't taken from the same vantage point. i moved further down the dock area because there was a screaming kid that was getting on my nerves.

i did a bit more exploring around the grounds and found an old skool bronze fishmonster

and some pretty purple flowers that pants says are some sort of butterfly attracting plant.

also around this time i ate my banana. the potassium, she was wonderful.

the walk back also had its share of photo opps like this skull and bones reflecting a lumber yard. or, as it's known in the business, a "lumber bones".

(i made the "lumber bones" part up.)

also, a monitor by the side of the road.

i don't really know why it was there. maybe because it was too much of a pain in the ass to get it recycled. (you're required to recycle old monitors in seattle but you can't place them by the recycling bins. you have to take the blasted things either downtown or to a staples. it takes time. this is why leff and i still have our old monitor in the kitchen next to the recycling bin.)

here's the letter a.

it's a good, functional letter that doubles as an article.

and that, my damies, was my day at the locks. i spent some time in the library waiting on leff, s and a to take a lunch break (thai cafe. excellent!). i mention this because i need to tell alberto to look at this month's "art in america". so, alberto! if you're reading this, pick up this month's "art in america"! it has a whole article on "supernatural" photos.

now i've got the day job thing to do. hopefully, i can make a short day of it because it's really too nice outside to be stuck inside a building with no windows.


jens~ said...

Aah, finally some ships in Seattle, and a lock. And some Sommerflieder. I don't have a banana right now, but you had a really nice day.

r4kk4 said...

yes! lots and LOTS of ships!! :D!

i like that those flowers are called "sommerflieder" in german. pants said that we call it "buddleia davidii" (the scientific name) or "butterfly bush".

you should always hava a banana around the house. they're potassi-yummy. HAHAHA!