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Published: April 16th 2009
As ever driving into places with the Tomtom is about as easy as it gets. We came into Gigs harbour across the famous Tacoma Narrows (site of the Galloping Gertie, or first bridge to self destruct due to resonance see
). As we arrived into Gigs Harbour we were taken aback by it's beauty. Gigs Harbour is a gorgeous little town about 1 hour outside down-town Seattle. With a great view down the harbour to Mt Rainier which we took some really cool pics of.
Denise parents were super cool and very welcoming, their house was huge and really homely (Sam however was most impressed by Denise's dads 52' plasma!) We had a great family home cooked meal the first night (which was most welcomed as we got a very tired of eating crappy diner food on the road) The other thing that impressed Sam was the sight of his first hummingbird. (Sam here I took about 50 photo's trying to get one of the little fulla not blurred, they are amazing creatures and I've included two of my favourite shots.)
The next day we had the opportunity to go snow shoeing in 'Mount Rainier' which is a volcano about 2
hours from Gigs Harbour. I was quite surprised that there was so much snow still on it but it made for great snow shoeing. From the top of our climb we could see Mount Baker and Mount St Helens two other volcanoes (mostly made famous by blowing up a few times). We stopped to take some pictures of the breathtaking view and in the silence we could hear the glaciers creaking which i have never heard before and actually was a little un-nerving although interesting. After a few hours hiking we headed home and watched a movie( Twilight actually which is the best movie I have seen in ages if you haven't seen it you MUST) and crashed out ready for our next fun filled day.
Tuesday we woke up and headed to Tiger Mountain which is THE place in Seattle to Paraglide. Denise and her partner Doug both run a Paragliding school so they treated Sam to a day of gliding. We hiked to the top so Sam could get kitted out. The view was amazing and it was a perfect day for the flight. While Sam headed off the top I made a nice decent with Denise to
the top via foot, I prefer it that way!!
This paragliding experience was very different to my last one off the Lions Head in Capetown. There it was, launch off and glide straight down. In this one Stef (my tandem pilot) introduced me to ridge soaring. Ridge soaring is where the paragliding pilot uses the pressure wave caused by the wind hitting the hillside ahead of a ridge to "surf" the ridge catching up-currents and staying at altitude for an extended period. Stef and I soared this ridge for 45 minutes, gliding just above the tree tops at times. You can also find thermal patches where you use the more traditional gliding techniques of tight circling in a up-welling to gain altitude. This is about as close to flying like the birds as I've been and pretty special. Watch this space for future flights.
After the flight a Denise, Stef (Sam's Pilot), Sam and I headed to a pub and had a delicious dinner in the beer garden, the chocolate cake was also pretty good.
The next day we said our goodbyes to Denise's family and headed into Central Seattle for our last day in
the US. We met Denise's friend Tim who owned Kayaks and they thought it would be a great way for us to see the city. So we drove straight to the pier got into our kit and headed for the water. We continued down river to the central port via downtown and had a look at some of the really cool house boats (hardly like a boat- think of Sleepless in Seattle) they were so nice!!! After plodding around the bay for a while we got dry and fed and then headed to Pike Market which is a legendary spot in Seattle. It started out as a fish market and grew and now has loads of cool old shops including books and a comic and film original collectors store (which had a life size pic of my new hero from Twilight as mentioned above, Robert Patterson.) We got some yummy food and also got a look at the very first Starbucks ever opened(see pic). Then we headed to Tims place who kindly put us up for the night and then had great food, wine and company..After a great night we hit the sack as we had an early start to
catch out train to Vancouver the next morning..
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