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  • Lyndell Daniel


For seven days we had been oblivious to anything that was happening in the outside world, immersed in what I call "Polar Bear Heaven". There was no internet or cell towers, which was just wonderful - we were located 250 km southeast of Churchill, Manitoba on the Hudson Bay Coast.

We had just flown from Nanuk to Churchill and then on to Winnipeg. The next part of our journey would involve a few days seeing the sights of San Francisco, before travelling back along Highway 1, spending several days in Cambria and finishing in Los Angeles.

Around 8pm we arrived at Winnipeg airport to be confronted with the news of the Hill and Woolsey fires, which were burning out of control in California and severely affecting San Francisco and areas along Highway 1. After many phone calls and internet searches, around 3am the next morning, we had finally secured a flight to Seattle. There were many people trying to fly out of Winnipeg who had also been stranded. The only seat left for me was a business class seat (worse things could happen), whilst Peter was comfortably seated in economy.

Following a recommendation from a friend in Arizona, we took his advice and managed to get one of the last rooms at "The Edgewater Hotel" Seattle. As it would be, there wasn't much accomodation left in Seattle, being the weekend of the Seahawks vs Green Bay Packers gridiron match.

This is Seattle’s only over-water hotel, which also has a rich history with rock’n’roll.

The Edgewater Hotel is surrounded by breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains, Elliott Bay and the sparkling city.

If you are tired of your room, you can always relax downstairs.

Just one of the lovely walks close to the hotel.

The unique location of the Hotel on Pier 67 means you’re just a short walk to everything you want to do in Seattle's evergreen city.

We hired a car and drove to the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge was established to provide habitat for migratory birds, with over 200 species of bird visiting the Refuge over the course of a year.

Depending on the time of year, you may not think that habitats inside the dike are wetlands, but not all wetlands are wet year-round! Seasonal freshwater wetlands fill with water in the fall and winter, and then gradually dry out over the spring.

The numerous fresh water ponds and marshes of the Refuge produce a variety of emergent aquatic vegetation and are usually bordered by riparian areas. These habitats attract all species of wildlife and are especially critical to the survival of many mammalian species.

Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually NWR has about four miles of hiking trails, with the most exciting being the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail.

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