Looking straight out from the bungalow’s seawall, the majestic backdrop of the Olympic Mountain range dominates the view to the west. The Olympics dictate the weather patterns for the entire region. The Pacific Ocean side of the range features rain forests that garner 200+ inches of avg annual rain. Then onto the north east side of the range where a rain shadow effect only allows 16 to 20″ of rainfall.
The Olympic range looks more spectacular than the actual elevation would suggest. The highest mountain is Mt Olympus (not visible from Seattle) which is just a hair under 8000 feet. It’s the steep slopes that give the range world class ruggedness.
The most prominent peaks viewed at the seawall are from left to right… Mt. Ellinor, Washington, Stone, The Brothers (double peak) and finally Mt Constance being the highest in view at 7,756′.
The small settlement of Rochester can be seen just south of where the WA State ferries make their way out of site through Rich Passage. The town of around 5000 people enjoy great views of the Seattle skyline, Mt Rainier to the southeast, a close up view of the west side of Blake Island & of course, us.
Once the main dock was built in 1908, Rochester was a regular stop for the historic Mosquito fleet steamers that once served most all of the cargo/passenger needs in Puget Sound. In 1925, a regular ferry route was established between West Seattle’s Alki & Rochester until the Alki terminal washed away in 1936. The run shifted to downtown Seattle until it was permanently discontinued in ’49.
Blake is the small island looking straight across. The entire island was designated a State Marine Park back in 1959. Prior to that, it is rumored that Chief Sealth of the Suquamish tribe was born on the island back around 1783. The city of Seattle was eventually named after the peace keeping chief. The island was renamed Trimble Island back in the early 1900’s when a Seattle millionaire with same name purchased it. The Trimble’s lived in their island mansion until the late 20’s & eventually sold it to investors in ’36.
The island was said to be used extensively by bootleggers back in the prohibition years. Whiskey from Canada would make it’s way down the sound where the island could be used to hide out. Long time West Seattle residents tell stories of a resident bootlegger that squatted on the island to make hootch.
More recently, Blake Island was used by President Bill Clinton as the site for the first APEC meeting. Argosy Cruises conducts scheduled runs to the island out of the Seattle waterfront typically starting mid April through late September. A native Indian longhouse hosts a traditional salmon bake and dance performances. I personally enjoy hiking the island with my dog and watching the deer grazing out in front of the small marina. It’s a true utopian gem set in the middle of large populations.
Coming soon… south