Friday, August 6, 2010

My Day with Chet

Sometimes we have moments or events that are spontaneous and fun and we remember them for a very long time. This Tuesday was one of those days for me. I found myself going to Seattle with my husband and my grandson. We were going to go see my youngest son David.

David goes to college at the University of Washington and he promised to take us to do some sight seeing. We headed to the Hiram M. Chittendon Locks in Ballard. I had never been to the locks before and was really excited to be going there and Chet? Chet loves the water and really big fish. This was perfect for us!

The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks are a complex of locks that sit in the middle of Salmon Bay, part of Seattle's Lake Washington Ship Canal. They are known locally as the Ballard Locks after the neighborhood to their north. (Magnolia lies to the south.)

The locks and associated facilities serve three purposes: To maintain the water level of the fresh water Lake Washington and Lake Union at 20 to 22 feet above sea level. To prevent the mixing of sea water from Puget Sound with the fresh water of the lakes (saltwater intrusion). To move boats from the water level of the lakes to the water level of Puget Sound, and vice versa. The complex includes two locks, a small (30 x 150 ft, 8.5 x 45.7 meter) and a large (80 x 825, 24.4 x 251.5 meter). The complex also includes a (235-foot, 71.6 meter) spillway with six (32 x 12-foot (3.7 m), 9.8 x 3.7 meter) gates to assist in water-level control. A fish ladder is integrated into the locks for migration of anadromous fish, notably salmon.

The grounds feature a visitors center, as well as the Carl S. English, Jr. Botanical Gardens.

Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the locks were formally opened on July 4, 1917, although the first ship passed on August 3, 1916. They were named after U.S. Army Major Hiram Martin Chittenden, the Seattle District Engineer for the Corps of Engineers from April 1906 to September 1908. They were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

We spent the afternoon walking around the botanical gardens and even spent some time watching people around the park.Later it was something to eat (grandma needed a very large cold coffee) and a trip to the Cal Anderson Park where Chet and grandma played in the water. It was a wonderful day and a terrific afternoon.

Trip to Seattle from Whidbey Island.

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