Lake Washington

 Lake Washington, from a bench in Kirkland, WA

Lake Washington, from a bench in Kirkland, WA

Lake Washington is the largest lake in King County and the second largest natural lake in the state of Washington. Seattle is found on the Western shore of the lake, Bellevue on the eastern, Kenmore on the Northern, and Renton on the south. Mercer Island sits just off of the western shore, in the southern half of the lake, which you'll barely get to see if you take Interstate 90 from Seattle to Bellevue.

The lake is fed by the Sammamish River at its north end and the Cedar River at its south. However, when we talk about "rivers", don't expect the grandeur of the Mississippi or Alleghany. These are smaller rivers, akin to creeks to those of us imagining the Thames or the Danube when we hear the word 'river'.

Lake Washington is a deep, narrow, glacial trough, created by the Vashon glacier as it receded from the area, roughly 12,000 years or so ago. The lake is 20.6 feet above mean lower low tide in Puget Sound, to which it is connected via Lake Union, the Lake Washington ship canal, and the Chittenden Locks. The canal is the only discharge from Lake Washington via the locks and dam at the western end. The development of the canals, dam, and locks resulted in the lowering of the lake 9 feet to its present level

Lake Washington was named by Thomas Mercer in 1854, when he suggested it be named after George Washington, as the new Washington Territory had been named the year before.

Other names for Lake Washington have included the Duwamish/Lushootseed name HAH-choo or Xachu  ,(translating into "great-amount-of-water"), as well as Lake Geneva, Lake Duwamish, and in Chinook (Chinook being the intertribal trading language),  it was called "Hyas Chuck," which means  "Big Lake."

Seattle - How Now Puget Sound


The location of Seattle is unique insofar as it is one of the largest cities in America to be situated upon a sound. It’s not the largest city in America to have this distinction – that’d be New York City, who finds itself on the west end of the Long Island Sound

What defines a sound is dependent upon which geological definition you use; either the Scandinavian definition, which means a strait, or the narrowest part of a straight, or the 18th century English definition, which means a sea inlet that contains islands. This is the definition used for the Puget Sound.

This definition helps explain the fact that Seattle is a coastal city located upon the Pacific Ocean, even if it is around one hundred miles or so from open sea. This is a fact that is easy to ignore at times due to looking across the sound and seeing various aspects of the Olympic Peninsula.

Puget Sound is defined as all waters of the Hood Canal, the Admiralty Inlet, the Possession Sound, and the Saratoga Passage, among others. Essentially, if one were to draw a line from Mount Vernon, to Port Townsend, Puget Sound would include all waters of the inlet from that line, down to Budd Inlet in the south by Olympia.  That’s a body of water that stretches approximately one hundred miles.

Seattle is located on the Eastern Edge of the Puget Sound, and this aspect of the city is the primary, but certainly not only, defining geologic feature of the region.

All of the Puget Sound region was shaped in larger part due to the Fraser Glaciation. Evidence of glaciation is easily seen today all along the Puget Sound area. The Fraser glaciation lasted about 10,000 years and consisted of 3 periods of ice expansion (called “stades”) and 2 ice recessions (called “interstades”). The Puget Sound was shaped by the Puget Lobe portion of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet that was part of the Fraser Glaciation that shaped much of the Montana, Idaho, Washington, British Columbia, the Yukon Territory, and Alaska.  The Puget Lobe portion of this ice sheet made it as far south as modern-day Olympia.  As it retreated over the course of many thousands of years, it geologically shaped many of the water ways of the region, including Puget Sound, as well as Lake Union, Lake Washington, and Lake Sammamish to the east.

The retreat also helps explain the hilly nature of the region, though not so much the mountainous portions, whose shapes were created under different forces.

Sowing the Seeds of Fear

The title is borrowed from Paul Krugman, writing in the New York Times in relation to the Paris attacks of November 13th, 2015. In it, the dear Professor offers a straight up assessment of the situation:

So what was Friday’s attack about? Killing random people in restaurants and at concerts is a strategy that reflects its perpetrators’ fundamental weakness. It isn’t going to establish a caliphate in Paris. What it can do, however, is inspire fear — which is why we call it terrorism, and shouldn’t dignify it with the name of war.
The point is not to minimize the horror. It is, instead, to emphasize that the biggest danger terrorism poses to our society comes not from the direct harm inflicted, but from the wrong-headed responses it can inspire.

It's easy to look upon the images on the news, and sit, in real-time, on Twitter and Facebook as the events unfurl in front of us.  We end up aghast.  It is easy to let that initial response be our de facto position on this tragedy.  But it is not a sustainable position.

Or, we can tut-tut those who fail to feel equally bad about the tragedies that occur in other nations of the world, including those not often covered by our for-profit, grab-all-headlines-at-any-cost news networks. This approach is also not helpful in any manner other than to allow us to feel more worldly and more informed than others. It does nothing to address the responses others felt as they watched the violence erupt in a city that is culturally significant to many people who don't call France home.

What happened is first and foremost a tragedy, and sadness and disgust are understandable responses.  But we do get to choose how to move on from it.  "Fear" as a response, as Krugman reminds us, is exactly what the perpetrators want. This is evil, through and through.

However, just as evil, is the leveraging of these events for political gain, and to use the pain and sadness of others to justify a position that is at odds with our own. Fear allows this leveraging just as much as seeing the world through some fundamentalist lens.

So what is the proper response to these and other similar events? From my own perspective, I mourn the losses, and understand what is being attacked. Look at the places attacked - a football game, a full restaurant, a rock concert - and ask the following:

"Should I not go to sporting events, concerts, or a restaurant, in order to be perfectly safe?"

All of these places are culturally significant to a great many of us. Do we really want to alter our enjoyment of these places because some fundamentalist with a chip on their shoulder thinks we should feel less safe?

Now let's expand that question a bit - Do we really want to allow these people to alter our behaviors just because they reminded us that life is fragile?  This insight their act provided isn't new to anyone.

From where I am sitting, the only response to these atrocities is to be sad, be brave, and be a citizen of the world. At its core, we are all entitled to what the entirety of life has to offer, regardless of what an idiot with a gun and a dogma happen to believe.

Welecome to Tugoto!

There's several risks in writing about travel. The reason is both simple, yet complex - there are several philosophies and beliefs surrounding both the idea of travel, and the act thereof.

This is not a bad thing. In fact, it's one of the major reasons that makes travel so compelling. "Travel", as an idea, requires some thought, which inevitably leads to discussion, which leads to introspection.

This is my way of introducing you to this site. It's a travel site - blog at first, and maybe some other stuff later - where I will discuss things of interest to me. I'm going to try to avoid many of the major paths that others have trodden, and try to provide a more in depth approach. Conversations about a city will last months if not years.  The goal?  Create a context and provide some insight into why we go to places, and extract greater enjoyment from these all-to-rare moments in our lives.