Thursday, January 26, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 283

S.S. Beaver, 1858, painting by Kenn E. Johnson, Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma, Washington

This postcard with a painting of the S.S. Beaver was found while visiting the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, Washington recently.  The card was made by Dexter Press, Inc. of West Nyack, New York and printed by Ellis Post Card Co., Arlington, Washington.  It has the number 20419-C at the lower left corner of the reverse side.  The painting by Kenn E. Johnson is of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s steamship Beaver as it looked in 1858.  This is the first steamship that operated in the Pacific Northwest.  She serviced remote parts of the Canadian coastline from the Columbia River up to Alaska and was used for maritime fur trading also playing an important part in maintaining British control of British Columbia during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush of 1858-1859.  The Royal Navy chartered her in 1862 for surveying the coastline of British Columbia.  Although the Hudson's Bay Company sold her in 1874 she continued to work these waters for several more years.  Her years of work extended from 1836 to 1888 when she ran aground on rocks at Prospect Point in Vancouver’s Stanley Park.  The wreck was stripped by locals and finally sank four years later in 1892.   In the 1960s divers made attempts at salvage but found she had mostly rotted and disintegrated.  A plaque commemorates the site.

The postcard painting shows the Beaver sailing off the coast of Steilacoom City.  The ship was built in Blackwall, England and made of oak, elm, greenheart, and teak, copper fastened and sheathed with a Boulton and Watt vacuum engine.  Seawater was used with low pressure and blow downs to prevent salt build up on the plates.  Even so saltwater would eventually rust out the boiler wall and the boiler would need to be replaced every seven years or so.  Note the side paddle-wheel, there were two one on each side.  An 1870 photograph shows the placement of the wheels further forward and the ship looks significantly different than it did in 1858.  I found it interesting that when the ship left England in 1835 the paddles were not used and she came under sail power only.  The paddles were shipped separately and then the boilers and engines were connected after she was anchored off Fort Vancouver, Washington. 

What was her size?  She was a little more than 101 feet or 31 meters long, had a 33 foot or 10 meter beam, with an 8-foot draft.  The sail plan is given as Brigantine.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

XC skiing at Leavenworth

We have been talking about and wanting to cross-country ski at Leavenworth for awhile now but the weather and pass conditions did not provide an opportunity until last week.  It is a fairly long drive for us to get there from here so it meant an early start and a late return on whichever day we selected.  About a week earlier we had decided to try until the morning of our departure and a check of the weather report had Leavenworth at -5 F or -15 C.  Brrrr, too cold for us so we went to Hyak again instead where it was a balmy 14 F or -10 C.  Last week a check of the temperature in Leavenworth online showed it at 30 F and predicted to be cloudy with some new snow.  As it turned out it snowed more or less the entire time we were skiing but that was okay because there was little to no wind and the temperature was about 30 to 32 F all day.  

 Views from the car window of the snow covered trees and winding mountain road

I had never been there to ski and Bob had not been for several years.  The ski trail is located along Icicle Creek near the Fish Hatchery and the Sleeping Lady resort.  It is comprised of a couple loops each one 4 km or about 2.5 miles that wind in and out of an open pine forest, meadow and along Icicle Creek.  There are nice curves and several small hills that provide variety.  Most people we met the day we skied were doing the short route but we were still energetic at the turn around point and ready to try to try the full 8 km or 5 mile double loop.  The course layout is really nice and the grooming was excellent.  Another nice feature besides it being a one way track is in most places there are two sets of tracks allowing a couple to ski side by side.  We did not take many photos partly because my camera battery fails when it gets too cold.

Some views from the ski trail

 Two sets of tracks for side by side skiing

After assessing a rather large hill near this spot shown above we decided to detour around it.  Bob had to break trail for me through deep powdery snow.  All went well until we had nearly rejoined the groomed trail.  My left ski slipped out of the track he had made and dove under approximately 2 feet of soft snow.  My poles could not find solid ground and kept going down.  One of my legs was buried pretty much all the way up and the other leg was at a funny angle on top of the snow.  There was no way I could have gotten up without his help.  One option is to take the skis off to get up but I could not get at the buried release button.  This was the first fall for a long while and it was in soft snow, not ice, therefore not too bad.  Just a nuisance.  Bob said it really wasn't a complete fall since I didn't topple over, just a half-fall.  Nevertheless when we got to another place with no tracks, a curve, and a steep downhill I took off the skis and walked down not wishing to experience a true or full-fall.  The smaller hills are no longer a scary problem for me but prove delightful for coasting or schussing.

Views from the bridge near the junction between the two loops of the trail.  The long trail crosses the bridge over to an island and then along the side of the island before ending up back at the bridge where the return route diverts from the outward track.

Just across the street from the start of the XC trail is a small restaurant, O'Grady's, that proved to be a convenient place to enjoy a delicious, very hardy sandwich and salad after a delightful day of skiing.

The pictures below are of the town that were taken on an earlier day trip when we went over to see the Christmas decorations and do a little shopping. 

 Business signs similar to those we saw in Salzburg, Austria

 Tall decorated pole

 Many of the buildings in town have murals painted of them.  All the buildings have a Bavarian theme.

Bandstand or Gazebo in the center of the town where many folks were sledding

Leavenworth is a cute tourist village with lots of interesting shops and good places to eat as well as a wonderful nearby ski venue in the winter and hiking areas in the other seasons. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 282

Inauguration Day, 1889, Olympia, Washington

This sepia tinted postcard photograph from 1889 shows the inauguration ceremony for the first Governor of the new State of Washington, Elisha Peyre Ferry.  The photo was reproduced from the original plate courtesy of Gale Johnson, Olympia, Washington, and Outdoor Photo, Olympia, Washington, published the card.  It was one of several historical theme postcards found in the Washington Historical Museum gift shop.

Ferry, who was born in Monroe County, Michigan in 1825, had previously served two terms as Governor of Washington Territory; however, due to ill health he only served one term as Governor of the State.  Prior to moving west he had practiced law in Illinois for 23 years and had been the first mayor of Waukegan, Illinois.  During the Civil War he helped organize the Illinois regiment, Union Army, and made friends with Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln.  He was married to Sarah Brown Kellogg and they had 5 children, Eliza, James, Lincoln, Julia and Pierre.  All his children had Peyre, his mother’s maiden name, as a middle name.  He was noted for his ethical standards and was a founding member of the Seattle Scottish Rite (Masonic order).   In 1869 President Grant appointed him Surveyor General of Washington Territory and then in 1872 President Grant appointed him Territorial Governor.  He was involved in the building of the Northern Pacific Railway particularly in the planning of the extension from Tacoma to Olympia.  Under his leadership the Territory was almost debt-free by the time he left office.   He took a rest from politics and worked in Seattle practicing law and in the banking business.  Nominated as a Republican candidate for State Governor in 1889 he was elected with 58% of the vote.

During his tenure as Governor he supervised the rebuilding of Seattle, Ellensburg and Spokane, all had been almost destroyed by fires.  His health began to fail and he did not run for a second term.  Ferry died just two years later in 1895.  Ferry County is named for him.

The photo is historically interesting to me.  Olympia was named as the territorial capitol in 1853.  The picture shows people in horse drawn wagons or buggies as well as people sitting or standing before what was then the State Capitol Building.  There are banners and flags across the front of the building and a white picket fence around the grounds.  The building had been a courthouse but was used as the capitol building beginning in 1854 until 1893 when a new building was constructed.  That building also became too small and was replaced.  The capitol as we know it today has several buildings with the first ones taking about 16 years to complete between 1911 and 1927 or 1928.  More buildings and memorials including the Winged Victory statue commemorating World War I by Alonzo Victor Lewis have been added to the capitol since then.  Renovations and restoration completed in 2004 have repaired and fixed problems resulting from earthquakes and aging.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 281

Trieste, Italy

Last week I shared a vintage photo postcard showing the cathedral Saint Justus in Trieste.  This week the card has a modern picture of the Piazza Unità d’Italia also in Trieste.  This card is a Giulia Schiberna edition printed in Italy. 

Trieste located in northeastern Italy near the border with Solvenia is one of the most underrated travel destinations in the world according to Lonely Planet.  Its position is at the crossroads between, Latin, Slavic and Germanic cultures that my friend says provides a very interesting mix of cultures and languages.  

A little bit about the ancient history tells us that this area has been inhabited since the second millennium BC.  The name probably comes from a word for market.  It became part of the Roman republic in 177 BC then was granted status of a Roman colony under Julius Caesar.  Sounds like a pretty interesting place to visit to me. 

Wikipedia and Google Image photos show remains of Roman ruins in Trieste’s Old City and several day and night pictures of various parts of the city.  The Castle of San Giusto took almost two centuries to complete and stands on the remains of previous castles built on the same site.  On one side the city is built on the hillside and foot of a steep mountain while the other side drops down abruptly toward the sea.  

Trieste was one of the oldest parts of the Hapsburg Monarchy.  As an important seaport, at one time was the 4th largest city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it was involved in several conflicts at various times including World War I and World War II.

The Piazza Unità d’Italia shown on the postcard is situated between the more modern 19th century avenues and buildings and the old medieval city that has many narrow crooked streets.   It is a cosmopolitan city with a diverse culture stretching from antiquity to modern times.  Today the city remains one of the richest regions in Italy and is a center for shipping, shipbuilding and financial services.   

As always, my many thanks to my friend for sending the postcard.

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 280

Trieste Cathedral, Italy, ca 1898

Postcards are easy to store until you get hundreds of them.   They offer peeks into the past that I find fascinating and they often have photos of beautiful places or significant sites from around the globe that are interesting and different from the everyday experience.  I have been saving and collecting postcards for several years and friends who know this will send me cards they think I might enjoy.  As a result, this New Year begins with a Italian card sent by a friend who currently lives in Italy and has been taking short trips, cycling many new roads, and kind enough to send postcards from along the way.

The card above is from Trieste and has a photograph taken in 1898 of the San Giusto or Saint Justus Cathedral completed in 1320.  A year after this photo was taken Pope Leo XIII granted it the status of basilica minor.  Even though the building shown was not completed until 1320 there was an earlier structure built in the 6th century upon old Roman ruins.  The building floor has incorporated parts of the ancient mosaics that show the markings of the original Christian building.  The postcard photograph is from Fotoceca Civici Musei di Storia ed Arte di Trieste

There were two basilicas erected here between the 9th and 11th centuries, one dedicated to Our Lady of Assumption and the other to Saint Justus.  As time progressed the two buildings were joined to form one building in the 14th century.  The reconstruction involved demolishing parts of each and connecting the buildings making a new footprint with the addition of a Gothic rose window and a new bell tower.  The bell tower contains five bells tuned to G major. 

Trivia:  This cathedral also houses the Carlist mausoleum, a burial chamber called the Chapel of Saint Charles Borromeo that has tombs of Carlist family claimants to the throne of Spain.  Artwork found here includes mosaics of Our Lady of Assumption and Saint Justus done in the 12th and 13th centuries are also found here.   There is an altar commemorating members of the 3rd Army who died in World War I.  Archaeological excavations revealed a two floor Roman forum and civic building and two of the columns found have been reconstructed.


Thank you to my friend for sharing this interesting photo card.

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Monday, January 2, 2017

XC Skiing, Lake Easton revisited

The beginning of the XC ski trail at Lake East State Park

We have gone cross-country skiing a couple of times already this winter.  Once at Hyak and most recently at Lake Easton State Park.  We had planned to do Hyak again but it was during the holidays and hordes of people had descended on Hyak mostly to let children play on the popular sledding hill.  There was a very long line to get into the parking lot.  We waited for a while and then Bob got out and walked up to see what the situation was like.  The lot was almost entirely full and we were in the middle of the long line of cars.  Even though we have a sno-park pass he didn't think there would be any spots left and the line of cars was not moving so we turned around and headed for Lake Easton hoping that would be less crowded.  It meant another 20 minutes or so of driving but that was better than just sitting in the car waiting for the same amount of time with no promise of a place to park.

Almost empty Lake Easton parking lot
There were very few people at Lake Easton when we arrived, one other couple with skis and two young women with snowshoes.  The trail had been recently groomed and it was quiet, calm, and peaceful.  By the end of the day we had encountered about 14 people and 5 dogs instead of probably about 200 people and who knows how many dogs at Hyak.  When we got back to the parking lot there were more cars but still plenty of spaces.  Most of the new arrivals were people with children looking for sledding places.  Unfortunately some of the kids had really trampled the ski tracks making it a little more difficult to ski but that was only in one small area near the lot.  

Beautiful tall trees with a frosting of snow and blue sky 

Views from the bridge of the stream and the lake 

 There was low lying ground fog on the snow covered lake. 

Mountain views along the way

Hyak is flat and the tracks go right along side the lake so the views are nice and I don't have to worry about falls or trying to stop on hills but there is only the one long trail.  There are heated restrooms and that is a big plus.  Lake Easton is a State Park so there is a very nice heated restroom there that has an extra room and benches so boots and clothes can be switched in warmth and comfort if desired.  

The good deed for the day--the restroom building had a big pile of plowed snow around it so we took our shovel and dug out a pathway to the doors

At Lake Easton there are lots of off shoot trails, some in the woods and some with lake views, most marked blue for easy but some moderate ones too.  There are separate trails for snowmobiles and snowshoe folks can go along side the cross-country tracks but are supposed to leave the tracks nice and clean for skiers.  The more difficult trails have steeper longer hills and more curves.  

The blue diamond shows the easy ski route the orange diamond indicates a snowmobile lane

We still choose the easy ones for now.  I was a bit apprehensive about the hills I remembered from last year when I had to take off skis and walk down but this year we found a way around the worst area and went down two smaller hills without super sharp curves.   I managed to schuss down, didn't fall, gained more confidence, and managed to do a modified snowplow--it may not seem like it but lifting one foot out of the track to make the plow while traveling downhill is not so easy to do and I often lose my balance.  I am ready to try hills again.  It felt like I was going really, really fast but Bob assured me I was not going more than 5 to 7 miles an hour.  Elation turned to a little bit of deflation with that news.  

Hands are still a bit cold

It was about 25 degrees F when we started out and my hands, as usual, were very cold and took a long time to warm up.  We have now purchased some hand warmers and will use them next time if necessary.  By the end of the day we were both very warm and I had to tie my ski hat up to cool down.  I use a baseball cap with a ski hat over it and sometimes even the hood of my jacket too.  The brim of the cap keeps the ski hat from slipping down and provides some shade for eyes as well.  My eyes are extremely sensitive to light so I either wear dark sunglasses or my regular glasses that turn dark in the bright light.  We wear lots of layers and take backpacks so we can take some layers off if we get too hot.  The net effect of the layering is that I look like Charlie Brown in his snowsuit but that is okay if I can stay comfortable.  With cold hands a factor I didn't want to remove gloves to take photos and my camera doesn't work as well in the cold so Bob took the pictures and slipped my camera in his inside pocket to keep it warm and ready to use.  

Caught tying up my ski hat