Sleepless in Seattle
We spent the 4th of July engulfed in Americana. Remember the Twilight Zone episode entitled “Willoughby”: the one with the disillusioned man and the tragic train ride? The anachronism of the town he finds, named Willoughby, was mirrored by our first stop yesterday: the town of Issaquah, Washington’s 4th of July parade. The street was full of happy townspeople garbed in old-timey red white and blue attire, kids rode around on bicycles or in the back of wagons pulled by parents or an older sibling, and people’s dogs were even dressed up for the occasion. It was joyous, festive, and completely unlike any celebration I had ever seen in its effortless wholesomeness. Phones were put away, no alcohol was to be seen, and grinning people everywhere were just happy to celebrate the summer holiday. Perhaps most charming was the apparent lack of distinction between parade observers and parade participants. The crowd melted into the parade which was mostly comprised of cohorts with community banners and parents with kids throwing candy to their classmates on the sidelines. It was lovely, simply put.
After checking off the patriotic celebration box, we headed off to see one of Seattle’s most popular destinations: the Ballard Locks and accompanying salmon ladder. I wasn’t sure why water elevators were so exciting, but the 1 million people who flock to the site annually seem to catch something I don’t. The locks are an impressive engineering feat, especially considering that they turned 100 years old last year. As we arrived, they were about to change locks and some 70 odd vessels were getting ready to move up to the next level. The Ballard Locks system was an interesting mix of nautical jargon thrown at confused yachters and extremely technical operations. I was glad to see that the structure was also used to generate hydroelectric power and to keep native salmon species safe by providing a ladder for them to migrate.
Lastly, everyone headed to Snoqualmie Falls, which is as beautiful as it is hard to pronounce. My sister Sarah joined us yesterday, along with my dad, so it was a group effort to figure out which of us pronounced it right (definitely me, though.) Thankfully, it wasn’t too crowded, and we got a chance to bask in the serenity of the scene unfolding below.
I was reminded of the two other water falls I’ve seen up close: Niagara Falls from the Canadian border and Montmorency Falls in Quebec most recently. Unlike when I viewed Montmorency Falls, I managed to not get soaked this time, as the park had provisions posted against leaving the viewing outpost. Wise choice, Snoqualmie, wise choice.
This concluded our day in Seattle, which I’m convinced has the largest population of dogs and backpacks per capita in the country. The amount of happy people I’ve seen with knapsacks and golden retrievers is near alarming. Stay tuned for today’s exciting events, and happy belated 4th of July!