Blogging the Centurion Achievement Challenge in 2013 #100
Each month I have a standing date to go on a hike with Carol. We’ve known each other for years and even though we have done a variety of walks, she had never been on a Volksmarch. I invited her to join me as I hiked the final walk of my American Volkssport Association Centurion Achievement Challenge.
Walk number 100 would be Queen Anne Hill in Seattle Washington. There are several walks that include this neighborhood just north of downtown Seattle. I chose Year Round Walk #1530 “Queen Anne Counterbalance” because Carol would appreciate the elevation gain and loss and I appreciate the trip through family history.
The walk starts at the top of Queen Anne Hill at the Bustle Café. They are such gracious hosts. We sat a table in the back room and I showed Carol how to register for a year round event.
Exiting the Bustle, we walked down the steep North Slope of Queen Anne and into the campus of Seattle Pacific University. It is a beautiful campus, and my parents’ first home previously stood where the student union building now stands. Crossing the street was walked along the ship canal toward the Fremont Bridge. (FYI, Fremont is the self-proclaimed center of the universe.)
Leaving the canal we find a staircase hidden from view and begin our first set of stairs going up.
We walked up stairs, through a pleasant park, walked down a steep street, found more stairs up to another park.....and repeat. This was like a game of chutes and ladders and a real thigh burning workout. Finally reaching the top, we walked across the top of the hill to the west. Looking for the checkpoint we found this this character in a tree. Smaug?
Starting down the west side of the hill, we passed within a block of the apartment building my grandfather owned and lived in when I was small. Carol insisted I have a look. (I discovered the 5 unit building is now 7 units, and the ones in front have a lovely view that I never appreciated.)
More down hill and up stairs until we came to this lovely brickwork staircase.
The instructions for this route would have us bypass this and continue down hill, but we had to walk it and see the view from above. Lovely. At the top I saw we were near Kerry Park and one of the most photographed views of Seattle. I had to take Carol to see it.
We rejoined the route and walked up the eponymous “counterbalance.” The South slope of Queen Anne Avenue is called this because street cars travelling up and down this hill would hook up to a 16-ton weight attached to a cable that would move the opposite direction of the street car. The weight aided the electric cars in climbing the hill, as well as reducing the use of brakes on the downhill route. The cars have been gone since the 1940’s but the name sticks.
At the top of the hill, we stop into the 5 Spot Café for lunch. Then back to the Bustle to finish walk #100.
We did make a few side trips so instead of 6.2 miles my pedometer reads 7.