Today was an exploration day. There were a few things I wanted to check out in Seattle and we checked off all but one (Pike’s Place). To start- REI. I knew the flagship REI in Seattle would be different, but I had no idea it would be to such an extent. You are greeted from the outside with a natural-looking waterfall that cascades into a pool surrounded by mini-versions of hiking and mountain biking trails- all created for testing out the gear they sell. Walking into the entrance, a giant fireplace (yes, lit even in July!) is placed in the center of your eye line. There are three or four stories to search through. And this REI has their members-only “garage sale”, a semi-annual event in our area, every day. It would be dangerous if I lived here.
Needless to say, we spent a lot of time there. I picked up some under $5 things we were lacking on the trip and then headed out, completely bewildered by the amount of outdoor items I had just seen up close and personal. It reminded me of the trade show I attend every year in Salt Lake City.
We headed over to Feathered Friends, a climbing shop that shares the same block with REI. I’d suggest heading there first if you are looking for just climbing/mountaineering items. The people here are very knowledgeable and friendly. They have some great products here, things we were drooling over but of course can’t afford at the moment. We bought the essentials- blocks of climbing chalk- and talked with the staff for a good while before heading to Ben’s favorite fish place, Lockspot Café for fresh seafood. By the way, order the clam strips here- they’re even better than the fish.
After eating we walked over to the waterside to check out the salmon exhibit. You can watch these giant fish swim upstream here in a self-guided tour. You actually walk in the underwater level so the fish are swimming alongside you. This is a great way to get dinner and a show.
On the way out, we found ourselves stuck behind a gate about 15 feet tall. The guys had a good laugh (and me too) as I got stuck mid-way down the other side. Of course, they cleared it easily, but I was left hanging on while Ben openly teased me about needing a spotter to jump down, a nice reference to bouldering. I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t see and was hanging onto the gate for dear life until I could catch my breath. I didn’t hear the end of it the rest of the evening. Steve got a good laugh out of it, so, in reality, I won’t hear the end of it for the next four months.
We did make it to Gasworks Park, which I was stoked about. I did a study on it during my time studying Landscape Architecture in university. It’s unique in that it took land that was abused because of being used as a gas refinery and turned it into a park without losing ties to its past (the industrial structures are still in place). The day we arrived, a lot of the park was roped off because of 4th of July preparations, but it we were able to spend some time watching the colorful boats on Lake Union and see the Seattle skyline. We never made it to Pike’s Place, a place I’ve wanted to check out for ages. Next time. Period.