Friday, June 12, 2009

wednesday field trip – an educational post

so this post is going to be mostly pictures. on wednesday, i went with my kids and my parents over to the hiram m. chittenden locks – better known as the ballard locks. i hadn’t been since i was a kid, and my mom and i had been talking all year about getting shane over there for a sort of educational field trip.

it was a gorgeous day, and there was lots of activity at the locks. in case you’re not inclined to click on the link above and are unaware of the functions of the locks, this is directly from that site:

The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks are a complex of locks that sit in the middle of Salmon Bay, part of Seattle's Lake Washington Ship Canal. They are known locally as the Ballard Locks after the neighborhood to their north. (Magnolia lies to the south.)

The locks and associated facilities serve three purposes:

The complex includes two locks, a small (30 x 150 ft, 8.5 x 45.7 meter) and a large (80 x 825, 24.4 x 251.5 meter). The complex also includes a (235-foot, 71.6 meter) spillway with six (32 x 12-foot (3.7 m), 9.8 x 3.7 meter) gates to assist in water-level control. A fish ladder is integrated into the locks for migration of anadromous fish, notably salmon.

we’ll just say that it is fascinating! my favorite part was this tugboat which was pulling a HUGE barge/warehouse through. pay attention to the water level in all these pictures. here it is totally full. they are coming from the lake union side, and heading out into the sound, likely on to alaska.012      see the water level has gone down some.022 024 028      and even more…029      and more…032      this is all the way down.039       the walkways are on top of the ‘gates’ which open and close to let boats in and out and/or keep the water in when the levels are different.040      now that the water level is down and even with what’s behind those gates, they open them (after everyone is off the walkway, of course).042 044        all the way open.046      and here goes the tugboat.049 051 054           and there goes the barge.058      and out into puget sound.061 on the other side, are the smaller set of locks, for smaller watercraft, such as sailboats, commanded by shirtless, kilt-wearing pirates.035 036      here they are, tied up, water level high…038      and here, with the water level all the way down.060 and there they go… i’m not sure whether to wish them “ahoy, mateys” or… whatever the traditional scottish thing would be to say in such a situation.064      and now for some pictures with actual people in them.004 013 021 063  066      next to the locks is a dam. you can cross it (WAY outside my comfort zone, but i did it) and down underneath, they have windows built into it where you can see various kinds of salmon migrating upstream. 065     well, you can, but not in june. these 3 tiny fish were about all we could see, so it wasn’t very exciting.070           not sure if that bird was a crane or a heron or what, but it was huge and went swooping over us while crossing the dam.071 072     after this, we headed over to greenlake to have lunch at SPUD – the BEST fish n chips EVER!!! why i didn’t take a picture of my lunch, i don’t know. maybe because it was GONE before i had a chance to think of it. YUM-O! after that, i took the kids across the street to run around a little and check out the lake, where we saw lots of…076            DUCKS! 078 082     layla was ready to jump right in, and shane asked if we could come back later so he could bring his swimsuit (it was already close to 3, so that was a NO). i’m seeing plenty of trips over there this summer though.

well, i’d say that’s about enough educational stuff for one post, eh?


  1. It looks like you had so much fun. I love trips like that. I have been trying to find stuff like that to do here with the know me...
    :) I can't believe how big Micah looks. I haven't seen a picture of him for quite awhile. He is total little boy now!

  2. That looks like a really fun day! Can you believe I've never been to the locks? Mom says I have but I dn't remember, so it doesn't count.



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