Home-Northgate-Green Lake

The state has been locked down by the coronavirus. State park, DNR, and forest service lands are closed. No more mountain hiking for the foreseeable future. This may go on for several months. While we are to stay in our homes we are allowed to get out and walk as long as we stay far enough away from others to not transmit the virus if anyone has it. Almost 38 years ago I started logging all my hiking trips including mileage hiked and elevation gained. I decided that in city hikes would not count. All the Discovery Park, Green Lake, and other city walks are not in my log. My only deviation has been a couple times over all those years when I could cross country ski all around North Seattle. Now with everything else shut down I have decided to include in city hikes. When this is over I will go back to my old rules. The hardest part of this will be trying to get in elevation gain. My average of about 2200'- 2400' per trip will not be possible. Getting to 1000' will be a real challenge. With all that in mind, this is my first in city snow free hiking trip report.

With that out of the way, I needed to figure out where to go. North has very little elevation gain. West and south leads to more density and so more people. I chose to head up over Phinney Ridge first and down to Green Lake. I saw only a few people out and about. Most were morning runners. I crossed Aurora and went left heading north alongside Green Lake. The parking lots were all closed but there were quite a few folks out o the paved trail. Not nearly as many as on a normal Saturday morning though. With folks on the paved trail and runners on the dirt trail farther from the lake I chose to go in the middle. I had to dodge trees but I was able to stay will away from others. The folks on the trail were maintaining the six foot social distance.

At the north end of the lake I headed north up to Wallingford Ave North. The traffic was eerily light. Folks were not waiting for the walk signal as there were no cars. At this point I decided to head to Northgate.  Though it has been too early for many spring wildflowers in the mountains there are lots of them in yards on an urban hike. Lots of  cherry and other trees in bloom too. I started taking more photos and by the end of the day I had enough for a full trip report. That is the reason for this report. 85th is a major east west street leading to I-5. No traffic. I walked right across.  Occasionally, I had to cross the street to avoid folks on narrow sidewalks but that was easy with little traffic. At North 92nd I urned right and went along the south end of North Seattle College. There is a pea patch near the freeway and one person was hard at work gardening.

Crossing I-5 I could see some traffic but far less than usual. By now my plan had crystallized on a visit to the Northgate and Roosevelt light rail stations. They are just about finished. A little over a year from now they will be in use. I have driven by but never stopped to take a closer look. At 1st Ave NE I turned left and headed downhill to Northgate. The subway from downtown Seattle comes out of the ground here. The tunnel fans are quite loud. A sound wall hides the tunnel entrance and the tracks. Farther ahead I could see the where the tracks become elevated. The new station is located at the existing Metro Transit Park & Ride lot. With the construction the pathway zigs and zags around the perimeter reached the station at NE 100th. I checked my gps and was surprised that I had only hiked 3.0 miles. The park and ride was a ghost town. Bu ridership has been down over 80% with the stay at home order. Most folks are working from home or not working at all. A bus arrived and one person got off.  That was it.

The station looks to be nearly finished. There are still some construction materials up by the tracks. I now headed east. on NE 103rd. Though the mall is closed for the pandemic  did not want to run into any folks. At 5th Ave NE I headed south. 5th is usually a busy road. Not his day. I had steady climb up to the highest point then a steady downhill. At 82nd I had a surprisingly good view of downtown Seattle. South of 80th St. I continued straight and across I-5 again. Driving by I never see the curving streets off to the side. A short detour provided a good look at the Seattle Formosan Christian Church. A very good looking older brick building. I saw some flowering cherry trees right at their peak. I detoured over to 12th NE via NE 70th  crossing I-5 once again. I could see the old Safeco Tower just 25 blocks away. That is the site of the third and last new station on the Northgate expansion. Possibly too many people in the University District so I would just see two of the three this day. I turned south on 12th and soon walked alongside the new Roosevelt light rail station. It is finished but there is still a chain link fence around it. I am tall enough to hold my camera over the fence for some photos.

65th St from here to Ravenna was the spot I thought I might pass more people. That was not the case. Ravenna Blvd took me back to Green Lake. Again I chose a route between the walking and running routes and did not come close to anyone. At the north end I reversed my route on the way in. Back to and across Aurora Avenue and then the climb back up Phinney Ridge. At the top I had only about 550' of elevation gain so I chose to drop back down towards Green Lake. One more climb back up and then down the west side. I made on last short detour to get up to an even 8 miles with 700' of elevation gain. At home I checked the gps track and found that it cut off two blocks near the Roosevelt station and had me crossing right through the middle of Green Lake. I have much better tracks in the forest than I had in open North Seattle. I think I hiked closer to 8.5 miles than 8.0.

For the next one, two, three, or more months my hiking is going to be on pavement in the city. I will log all the trips more than few miles and even write trips reports for a few of them. Spring and summer are the times of wildflowers, long days, and backpacking in the mountains. That will not be the case this year. I will just have to make the most of it. Folks are dying in a pandemic right now and hiking might help keep my sane but it is not the most important thing.

Green Lake
Theater Is Closed
Flowering Trees
Close Up Blooms
North Seattle College
P-Patch Sign
Light Traffic On I-5
Tunnel Portal
Cherry Trees
Nearing Rail Station
Northgate Station
Heading South
Downtown Seattle
Flower Bed
University District Ahead
Pie Shaped Church
More Blossoms
Beautiful Colors
Roosevelt Station
Empty 65th Street
New Building
Green Lake Colors
Big Trees
Grass & Trees
More Cherries
Folks On Path
Climbing Phinney Ridge
Almost Home
Brightest Color
106One  Block To Go
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2020