The Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop Walk

Before I begin, please notice that I have installed a navigation widget on the sidebar of my blog where I placed all the posts from our Erie Canal Walk in chronological order. This is very exciting for a couple reasons. First, the navigation menu makes it easier for readers to read the posts in order, without all the troublesome scrolling and secondly, I figured out how to install the widget all on my own, acquiring some new terminology along the way. ( :

Also, you can always open the blog to your browser by clicking on the title. (You probably know this!) You can also open the video to full screen, which just makes me so very happy every time I watch it…about 100 times so far!

The Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop Walk

This walk is PURE JOY, especially when you walk it on a gloriously beautiful day as we did a couple days before Thanksgiving this year. We were going to Seattle to see David Sedaris at Beneroya Hall and decided to take an extra day to do this walk…again. We had walked it a year earlier and I was hoping to return in order to share it with you.

Since the walk is a loop, you can hop on at any point but I believe beginning at Lake Union Park at the southern tip of Lake Union, where you’ll find the Museum of History and Industry, is the perfect ‘putting in’ spot. From there, you can see the entire lake laid out before you and attain a sense of where you will be going. We were staying downtown with about a 20 minute walk to the lake. We walked in a clockwise direction and, for the most part, paralleled Westlake, Northlake, and then Eastlake Boulevards as we circumnavigated the lake.

The loop is 6 miles around. You can pack a lunch or grab some on the route. At about 2 miles, if traveling clockwise, the trail takes you right through the Fremont neighborhood, which has numerous restaurants including the Fremont Brewery, a PCC (Puget Community Coop), Starbucks, etc. You will cross the historic Fremont Draw Bridge (it went up right after we crossed!) and the University Bridge. You will go under the Hiway 99 and I-5 Bridges. The trail connects numerous neighborhoods and parks, some huge and rolling like Gasworks Park and some tiny and unassuming, no bigger than my living room…these are very special and a testament to why Lake Union is affectionately referred to as “A Lake at the Heart of a City.” The lake slightly resembles a heart…

Map of trail at Lake Union Park
Close up of where we began the walk
Sign at Lake Union Park

Before I end and leave you with an awesome video collage of our walk, I have one piece of advice: you must be diligent in looking for the trail signs, especially once you get to Fremont on the north and then coming down the eastern shore of the lake. There is so much to see on this urban walk that one could easily miss a sign. The upside is that if you just keep the lake on your right (or left if you’re traveling anticlockwise), you’ll be fine. Download map here!

Happy Walking!





The Western Washington University Outdoor Sculpture Collection Walk

On a personal note…

This is my first post in quite a while. In late March, I fractured the 5th metatarsal on my left foot, resulting in a complete cessation of any walking. Four months later, I’m up to about an hour of walking every couple days and lots of yoga. That is all my physical therapist will allow. We’re looking at six months to full recovery and that’s only if I’m ‘good’ and follow his advice. It’s been a real learning experience. I’ve learned about patience, how to care for oneself, how it feels to be disabled, how society views, cares for, and accommodates the disabled, and the precious gift of health. May I never take it for granted…

Western Washington University…

WWU, Garden Street entrance

Western Washington University began in the 1890’s as a “State Normal School,” eventually becoming a college devoted to education majors. Since then, it has become a larger learning center with degrees offered in many majors.
This was a perfect day to stroll through the hillside campus of WWU in Bellingham, Washington. It had rained in the morning leaving the air fresh and the earth well-watered. The temperature was cool but not too cool. The campus looks out over Bellingham Bay and the distant San Juan Islands. The grounds in summer are spectacular. Century old trees, fragrant rose gardens, and native plants are cared for in a manner that support the ideals of education: imagination, vision, beauty, balance, and purpose. The natural world that has been artfully created on WWU’s campus, invites the visitor and student to stand up straighter and lift their gaze to a higher potential and goal. So, in addition to the sculpture garden, there are the nature gardens too…an added treat.

The first building on the campus was the 3-story, 36-room, “Old Main.”
Rose Garden to the side of Old Main.
Edens Hall

The Sculpture Garden…

The sculpture garden is overseen by the Western Gallery. There are 27 sculptures on the sculpture garden map. It seems you can pick up a handy booklet about the sculptures in the Western Gallery but I used only the map and it was fine. I want to take this walk with Aaron soon so we will pick up a booklet then. Honestly, it was enjoyable just contemplating the artist’s meaning of the sculptures rather than reading the meaning. When I have the booklet, I’ll be able to see how close I came to understanding the artists’ messages.
The map uses letters of the alphabet (A to Z to AA) as a key to the location of the sculptures. For the most part, it was accurate. I expected the sculptures to be in plain sight and and most of them are. Some are more difficult to find as they are on walls, in buildings, or off the main trails, which added to the ‘discovery’ aspect of the walk. There were two that were missing (I could see where they had been) and one that I searched and searched for but never found. It was disappointing too, as it has the most interesting title, “The Islands of the Rose Apple Tree Surrounded by the Oceans of the World For You, Oh My Darling.” Who wouldn’t want to see that sculpture, right?!
Parking can be tricky at WWU. I was lucky to get a parking spot on Garden Street just below the campus. One could easily take one of the numerous public buses that go up to WWU from downtown too. After parking, I walked up (and I mean up) to Red Square, the heart of the campus, where exhibit A was waiting. I followed the ‘alphabet’ on the map, making it a scavenger hunt of sorts.

“Sky Viewing” by Isamu Noguchi ~ The first sculpture on the map, under construction.
“Scepter” by Steve Tibbetts, 1966. I am amazed at the age of some of the sculptures. This is in Red Square about 30 feet from the previous one. It has stood there for many years, quietly observing campus life. I had to wonder if anyone takes much notice of it. It was one of my favorites.
“Scepter” from another angle.
Here are the previous two sculptures from across Red Square. You can just make out “Scepter” to the left of “Sky Viewing”
“Wall Relief” by Norman Warsinske. This was difficult to find because I hadn’t expected a sculpture to be on a wall. There were supposed to be two of them, one on each end of the Humanities building, but…
…all I could find was where it’s pair had been.

Some of the sculptures are favorites of the students and visitors for obvious reasons…this would make a great walk for little people, as many of the sculptures are interactive, as you’ll see.

“The Man Who Used to Hunt Cougars for Bounty” by Richard Beyer
“Bayview Station” by George Trakas. This was made from railroad track and wood, hence the name, Bayview Station. It also looked out over the bay, making a great hang out spot.
“Bayview Station,” WWU Outdoor Sculpture Garden
“Wright’s Triangle” by Richard Serra. This makes for an awesome hide and seek type game!

“Log Ramps” by Lloyd Hamrol. I think this is the same family that was climbing on one of the previous sculptures.
“Stadium Piece” by Bruce Nauman. This one just makes you want to run to it. Kids were on it and under it…
“Stadium Piece”

We’ve seen this next one for many years but have never gone up to it and inside it. It has a quality like no other. It is titled, “Stone Enclosure: Rock Rings” by Nancy Holt. I felt an inner quiet immediately come over me like never before.

“Stone Enclosure: Rock Rings” by Nancy Holt. The setting is breath-taking.
“Stone Enclosure: Rock Rings”
Looking all the way through to the green beyond…
Contrast between styles…

The map takes you all the way to Fairhaven College. This is not to be missed. The campus is designed in such a way that you feel you are at a mountain retreat. It would be great place to have a picnic lunch…
After Fairhaven College, you walk over to the state-of-the-art Wade King Student Recreation Center. Wade King lost his life as a youngster in the catastrophic Whatcom Falls Park fire. His family has given countless dollars, in his name, to promote the education of youth in Whatcom County. I was struck by the symmetry of the flags leading to the Center and the next sculpture, a water sculpture, dedicated to all those who served in WW II.

Wide open walkway leading to the Wade King Student Recreation Center, WWU

Here is a  video of the water sculpture, “Rain Forest,” by James Fitzgerald at Wade King Student Recreation Center, WWU.

and another…

Here are a couple more of interest. One is inside the library. One is below a sky bridge of sorts, which given the layout of the sculpture was the best place to view it.

“Minds Eye” by Mark Di Suvero is inside the library. You can see it through the window as you approach.
“Untitled” by Meg Webster as seen from above.
These playful turtle-like characters, found in Haskell Plaza, are titled “Feats of Strength” by Tom Otterness.
Pretty cute…

As you can see, this is a wonderful walk. The pictures in this post are just a handful of the entire collection. The campus is built on the side of a hill so the walker can get their muscles working. The sculptures are varied and artistically and thoughtfully created and placed. They are truly beautiful and inspiring. I ended up buying lunch from one of the vendors outside the student union and ate at a picnic table on the plaza outside the Performing Arts Center with it’s fabulous view of the bay. The book store is worth a look too. I was on campus for about 3 hours total. This is a wonderful walk for visitors and locals alike!

Happy Walking!
Yours Truly,


My lunch spot, with Bellingham Bay below, on the plaza outside The Performing Arts Center at Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington





The Bellis Fair Mall Walk

Early Morning at Bellis Fair Mall, Bellingham, WA
Early Morning at Bellis Fair Mall, Bellingham, WA…welcoming the Mall Walker Community

Have you ever gone to the mall to walk? Before this week, the idea of mall walking was a fuzzy concept for me, hovering somewhere between “I’ve heard of it” and “you’ve got to be kidding.” I might have even rolled my eyes and chuckled at the thought. Well, my experiences of the past two days have totally humbled me. I am now a champion of mall walkers everywhere and their mission to maintain and enhance their physical and emotional health and well-being by taking advantage of this clean, warm, indoor venue for walking.

Strong winds are common in the Northwest’s Puget Sound, making walking in our thickly wooded parks and streets, a bit risky. These strong winds frequently topple trees and any wind advisory means walkers should stay out of the woods until the winds calm down. It was this scenario, a few days ago, that gave me the idea to try mall walking and I wasn’t the only one! There were probably 50 – 75 seasoned mall walkers there. All ages. All abilities. All cool.

Family of three walking at Bellis Fair Mall
Family of three walking at Bellis Fair Mall
These people were MOVING! I thought they would lap me twice, and I'm no slowpoke! ( :
These people were MOVING! They lapped me once and I thought they might lap me twice, and I’m no slowpoke! ( :
Mall walking is awesome for those needing an even surface
Mall walking is awesome for those needing an even and stable surface
This gal pushed a stroller with her two dogs. Sometimes they walked and sometimes they strolled.
This gal pushed a stroller with her two dogs. Sometimes the dogs walked and sometimes they rode. Pretty sweet.
As people warm up, they leave their coats and hats on the food court chairs
As people warm up, they leave their coats and hats on the food court chairs and keep on moving!
Apres-Walking social time at Starbucks, open at 7 am
Apres-Walking social time at Starbucks, which opens at 7:30 am, in the food court
A train of walkers in Bellis Fair Mall
A train of walkers in Bellis Fair Mall

Tips, Suggestions, and Observations from Two Mornings of Mall Walking:

  • Our local mall, Bellis Fair, opens its doors at 7 a.m., year round, Monday – Saturday, to provide a warm and welcoming space for walking. It is located just north of Bellingham, at the intersection of Meridian Street and I-5.
  • There is mall walking etiquette. Everyone walks anti-clock wise. I suppose you could walk clockwise but no one did.
  • Mall walking is an inclusive and social atmosphere. People greet you and say ‘good morning’ and seem genuinely happy.
  • I walked during the holidays, so the music was 100% Christmas. I’m thinking the music is normally soft rock.
  • Some people had ear buds in, listening to news, music, books on tape, This American Life, or whatever. Great idea!
  • You don’t need to bundle up. The mall turns the lights and heat up at 8:00 a.m. because the big stores, such as Target, Kohl’s, and Macy’s, open then. During non-holiday hours, lights and heat probably go up at 9 a.m.
  • After my walk on my first day, I went to Macy’s (Yes Lisa, my Macy’s guru, I thought of you!) and did a little shopping before it got busy.
  • This could be a great way to entice teenagers to walk with you. First a walk, then a shop!
  • This is the ultimate window shopping experience. I was told once that modern malls are the equivalent of ancient shopping bazaars with their textiles, food vendors, jewelry, etc. and it’s so true!
  • There are bathrooms and water all along the way. Never a bad thing.
  • One seasoned walker told me that “one full lap, without cutting corners, and twice around the food court,” was one mile. I would agree. I did four laps minus the “twice around the food court,” in just over an hour.
  • Here’s a very informative booklet on the benefits of mall walking published by the CDC and University of Washington: Guide to Mall Walking
  • Mall walking is a good use of this huge, vacant, indoor space and it’s far more interesting than walking on a track.

Mall walking is a definite alternative to walking in severe weather. It’s a good “go-to” walking venue when the winds are strong. I’ll probably continue to walk primarily in nature, but it’s fun to mix it up and experience another community that promotes walking. See you at the mall!