July 31, 2014
For those not from Seattle or who don't ride a bike, the Burke Gilman Trail is the lifeblood of North Seattle cycling, winding along the shore of Lake Washington from Bothell to Ballard (it continues to Marymoor Park but technically is called the Sammamish River Trail on the East Side). The Burke is full of characters - the Asian Ninja Chick who always wears an insulated dark brown coat even in the hottest weather, J.C. the Rastafarian, Conan (his actual name) the Barbarian with his collection of bikes and swords, and on and on. Then there was Scampi.
I put in thousands of miles on the Burke Gilman each year, and for as long as I can remember a large orange cat has been a fixture on the trail between 97th and 98th streets. It didn't seem to matter if it was hot or cold; if it wasn't raining too hard the cat would be perched on a handrail watching cyclist after cyclist pass by. About ten years ago, I saw a another cyclist petting the cat and stopped to ask if she was the owner - she replied that, no, she wasn't, but the cat's name was Scampi (I assume because of his orange coat) and that "everyone knew him" on the trail.
Since then, I've often stopped to pet Scampi or scratch him under his neck, and he never failed to be there if the weather was decent. Over the past year I could tell he was getting on in age; he could no longer jump up on the handrail and lost his place of primacy in the neighborhood to a younger gray cat named Pebbles. Once in a while I would see him lying in the dirt by the side of the trail near 98th Street, where he would rise arthritically and come over to nuzzle my hand. For the past three months I hadn't seen him at all, and today when I saw a woman I perceived to be his owner climbing the stairs, I asked about him.
She replied that Scampi had died about a month ago, but that she keeps getting asked about him by strangers on the Burke Gilman. "He's more famous than I'll ever be," was her closing comment, and I believed her.
July 20, 2014
. . . or any day the past two weeks, for that matter. Almost three weeks of sun and 80 to 90 degree heat in Seattle has done a number on the snowpack, and we were lucky to spend only a half mile or so walking in ski boots today. Actually, the snow wasn't bad and was the least of our worries. Visibility was down to around 100 feet when we got above 6,000 ft. and though a break was forecast in the afternoon, it never materialized. Alex and I did a couple of runs on the lower Paradise and a couple in the vicinity of the Cowlitz Rocks, then called it a day when we were forced to rely on the GPS to get back to the car. After-ski festivities with the famous Ron Jarvis and friends involving "Mountain Margaritas" helped brighten our spirits, and by the time we hit Copper Creek for pie and ice cream the day was a success.
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China: Wandering in the Middle Kingdom
"Incoming" covers developments that have personal interest to me (ie. gear I might consider acquiring, or events I feel may impact the sport of skiing) - it is by no means meant to be a comprehensive enumeration of gear or events in the ski world at large. Feel free to contact me via the randosaigai.com link below with news or images that may be of interest . . .
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