Highline SeaTac Botanical Gardens, with Canon PowerShot images from the rose garden specifically, was the first scheduled stop on my vacation.
“Vacation” defined: As of Sunday, the Post Office had my mail on hold for a week. That’s it. I’m on vacation! Whee! It’s amazing how much weight is lifted from one’s shoulders by simply cutting off the flow of incoming mail. By 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, Rowdy and I were bombing down the highway, hammer down, westbound. Rowdy is a paint-faded 1996 GMC half ton pickup with a quarter million miles on the odometer, featuring a transmission that’s been rebuilt twice, an engine that’s still going strong without any rebuilding at all, and the most comfortable ride anyone could ask.
We (Rowdy and I) drove through the night, crossing the entire state of Washington under a pall of wildfire smoke, and stopped to fill the tank at a Shell station in Issaquah on Monday morning before plunging into the congested SeaTac metro area. While fuel was flowing merrily through the nozzle, I relaxed, studying the sign. Jackson’s Shell. I finally realized the name of the business was Jackson’s Shell. But that had not been clear at first. After topping off the tank and parking Rowdy out of the way, I went back into the convenience store for the pure fun of it. Two men were on duty behind the counter, congenial types I’d already met when obtaining the key to the men’s room. “I finally realized, this is Jackson’s Shell, right?”
They both nodded, so I went for it. “I figured that out, but it wasn’t clear at first. The esses are really stylized, just kind of wavy things. For the longest time, I honestly believed this place was named “Jack On” Shell.”
The guys absolutely lost it. I headed back to the truck, delighted at having made their day.
By 10:30 a.m., I was at SeaTac Botanical Gardens, where I remained for four solid hours, taking photos, wandering the trails, sitting on benches, contemplating, coming away in the end with more than 150 images preserved in the camera and a sense of well being throughout my being.
Originally, I had planned to include many different images in this post, but that proved to be impossible. Besides the rose garden, there are so many other features to the Botanical Gardens that attempting to load pictures from all of them would have absolutely bogged this page down. Few computers would have been able to view the page at all. There is a Japanese garden. There are countless trails through massive trees, some covered in ivy from ground to crown, some wearing braided, woody vines five inches thick that make the Tarzan stories ever so believable. Blackberries abound. An iron bench sits near a small stream complete with a miniature waterfall, a pool covered with lily pads and inhabited with large goldfish. The rose garden is the crown jewel, but there is so much, much more. Another post later, perhaps, featuring other images.
But this one is all about roses.
1. If you don’t use GPS (which I don’t), it’s a good idea to plot your route to the Gardens on a map before making the drive. It’s an up and down and all around sort of journey to get there. Nearby streets are hilly and curvy in the extreme.
2. Bring a spare grocery bag. All too many inconsiderate people have discarded trash in this sacred place. I found a discarded bag and used it to hold several items but will do more next time. Aluminum cans, paper products, and more can be found within arm’s reach of the trails. One can was even stuck in the fork of a tree.
3. Location, location, location? The Highline SeaTac Botanical Gardens sits directly beneath a major departure path from the airport. During the entire time I was there, jets rumbled overhead, outbound, every couple of minutes.
4. A sign in the parking lot states,
HIGH CAR PROWL AREA.
TAKE YOUR VALUABLES
AND LOCK YOUR VEHICLE.
The LED screen on my camera seldom…okay, never does justice to pictures after they’ve been taken. It was a joy to see what these images really looked like after being uploaded to the computer. That didn’t happen for a while, though. A couple of weeks back, the computer quit recognizing the camera when it was connected via USB cable. Or so I thought. Anyway, the camera icon would no longer show up on the taskbar and it took a while to figure out what to do about that.
But the wait was worth it.
For visitors who need a break every now and then, there’s a senior center with available restrooms right across the parking lot. Very convenient. On the day I was there, the heavy smoke haze overhead was also helpful. It allowed me to avoid a nasty sunburn.
Do I intend to visit again someday? Yes. Yes, I do. For one thing, there are trails I’ve not yet explored. Would I recommend the Highline SeaTac Botanical Gardens to others? Yes, absolutely. If you’re a guy who finds his dates online, what better place to meet face to face for the first time? Totally romantic, dude. If it works out, love at first sight, you might even want to get married there.