Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Seattle: an urban hikers dream

Seattle is absolutely nothing like Phoenix.
For starters it’s on the coast, so there’s water, a site that pretty rare in the Valley of the Sun. Second, it’s March and it’s about 40 degrees, a temperature that translates to outfits that include sweaters, scarves, winter coats and boots. I pretty much packed everything warm I own, which these days isn’t much and can fit into a carry-on bag.
It rains almost every day. In Phoenix, it might rain 10 times a year and when it happens it sends residents into a tailspin. They forget how to drive, arm themselves with umbrellas for even a sprinkle and are completely disgusted that their plans have slightly delayed by a five-minute rainstorm.
My friend Angela and I were planning to hit a hiking spot called Discovery Park, but it rained in the morning, then it rained again the afternoon and later rained at night.
There was no way it could happen, not in the gear I had on, none of which was waterproof. It didn’t even cross my mind to bring and umbrella. Wow.
And finally, I did not see the sun one time. Not even once.
Throughout the day the lack of sun had me completely confused. Was it 10 a.m. or 3 p.m.? Is overcast the weather every day or is this a fluke? How do the people that live here ever find weather that works for the beach? Do any of them own sunglasses?
This was very strange and I swore after a day of not seeing even a glimpse of the big orange ball, I was started to go a little mental.

But Anglea, who lives in Seattle, told me that this is completely normal. The overcast. The rain. The no sun. You get used to it, she said.
And she would know. After all, she moved to Seattle from Miami and loves it.
I quickly learned she was right, that Seattle is way cool.
And when you’re running around the city discovering it on foot through miles of urban hiking, this becomes apparent immediately.
Take Pike’s Peak for instance, Seattle’s famous fish market that has a labyrinth of restaurants and shops, many of which are underground. Huge fish were on display on ice and you can get the best bowl of chowder and slurp it down while looking out into the Pacific Ocean’s coast.
We hit the library (most unique public library I’ve ever been inside of), the art museum and even stopped to get a bite to eat where Tom Hanks dined in Sleepless in Seattle. And we downed crab legs at the Crab Pot.

Everyone is this city is pretty laid back. And it was quite refreshing to see people sporting hooded sweatshirts and sneakers.
I have no clue how many miles we walked, but it was a lot.
Seattle is also a city with vertical hills and trust me, those get your blood pumping and your calves hurting.
It’s a really cool city, but I was freezing and started to miss the sun. It’s nice to be back in a tank top and flip-flops.
We are really spoiled in Phoenix. Sometimes we forget.

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