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Posts Tagged ‘King County’

Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.

A.A. Milne

How many bridges do you see in the above photo? This is the bridge across the Sammamish Slough in Kenmore, Washington, known simply as the slough in localese.

As you drive to or from Kenmore on 68th Avenue NE, which is called Juanita Drive NE just a bit farther south, you pass over a mundane looking concrete structure at the slough. Unless you’re stuck in traffic and thinking about the Cascadia Subduction Zone, you might not give much thought to the fact that you’re on a bridge.

There are three bridges in the above photo. You can’t really tell this from above. But you can from down below.

It is not very safe to go under the north end of the bridges. But you can access their underbellies from the boat launch on the south side of the slough. At least for a few more days. The West Sammamish River Bridge Project begins next week.

The bridge that carries southbound traffic is being replaced. This will affect traffic on this route, which is commonly used by those avoiding tolls on the SR 520 bridge, for two years. It is being replaced because the structure was built in the 1930s. It’s old.

This is the southbound bridge, the one that had weight restrictions placed on it a few years ago. The northbound bridge was built in the 1970s, and it’s been deemed suitable to stay for a while.

Didn’t I say three bridges though? You’re looking at the third in this photo. As the Depression-era southbound bridge is torn out, what remains of the original 1917 bridge will be destroyed as well.

The 1930s bridge was built in the footprints of the 1917 bridge. I’ve asked around to find out if there are plans to preserve any of this for posterity and I do not believe there are. I was told that the 103 year-old pilings will probably fall apart when they’re pulled out. (Have you tried kicking one? You’ll shatter your phlanges.)

The Vintage King County Facebook page has a photo of the Kenmore bridge construction from way back. They actually have many fascinating photos of bridges. This site is so rich in local history that I need to issue a strong warning to anyone who likes to peek into the past– exercise self-control. You can become so enraptured by browsing the photos at Vintage King County that you’ll stay up all night eating Cheetos while your eyeballs bleed.

All of these photos were taken from the south side looking north. Last time I was under the north side we called the King County Sheriff because of a body sticking out from under a wadded-up tarp. I assumed the person was asleep or unconscious, but we didn’t know if they were dead or lying in wait either. There was zero movement and the upper half of their body was covered. There have been encampments and questionable activity under there for some time.

This is still embedded in the ground and probably has been for over a century. But it too will go the way of the dodo. By the way, if you really want to geek out about bridges, Bridgehunter.com is like the Spatula City of bridge websites. Here are some examples of other 1930s bridges.

This is what I tell myself in antiques stores: look up! You often find the most intriguing relics when you elevate your eyes. In this case we can see where the 1970s bridge and the 1930s bridge meet. From above, this isn’t nearly as noticeable.

Standing here felt somewhat sci fi, like a factory fight scene in Highlander, so I had to tweak it a little for effect.

Here again are the Disconnect of Diplomatic Ties to Germany era bridge, the Depression era bridge, and the Disco era bridge. The middle bridge, the one that will start to disappear just days from now, has the most character.

The vandals with their spray paint have decorated the north side many times. Funny part is, no one knows what the heck they’re trying to say.

The ’70s side is really just a big slab. It is the very definition of utilitarian. Perhaps it felt modern and exciting when it was constructed.

The anchors and cables and such on the ’30s side are intriguing. I couldn’t quite figure out why everything was placed where it was. I’m not an expert on seismic retrofits either.

I am intrigued by this coffee can on a shelf feature. If you know what it is, please leave a comment below.

Yep, I know. I can’t stop taking these past, present, future pictures. But can you name another place– anywhere– where you get to see parts of bridges from three different time periods at once?

Any civil engineers reading this? I’d love to have you break this down for me. Trusses, caps, …? I have many questions about how things are joined together at this point. The picture doesn’t quite capture my conundrum. You’d really have to be standing there looking at it. And you only have a few more days to do so.

Hmm… how this takes the weight it does is amazing.

This is exactly why I need to take the tripod along with my point & shoot. I was standing on the metal walkway over the river… not exactly a stable platform. The river has been full and muddy because of the recent deluge.

I kept returning to this spot. It was like the structural incarnation of Gary Numan’s The End of Things:

Are you the end of things come calling?
Are you the answer that I’ve wished for?

Everything’s so cold, the air is so still
And there is nothing here but me
If I belong here, and this is mercy
Then there is no place I’d rather be

Sammamish Slough ducks are the friendliest I’ve ever met. These three followed me all over as I was taking the photos. They’d get out and walk around me, probably hoping I had some people snacks. I learned too late in life that bread isn’t good for them; there are better options. I wonder how many cases of duck diabetes I caused in my childhood.

Say goodbye to the tufted totems, the mud that undoubtedly contains all manner of treasures… The only way I would have been allowed to poke around in it was to get a prohibitively expensive right-of-way permit from the city.

Bridges don’t just carry people. They carry other pieces of our infrastructure. This contributes to why modifying or replacing them is so complicated. Many agencies are involved.

Looking west. Just around the bend is Lake Washington. This is a busy place in the summer. Today it was me, a local, and the ducks.

Teds or Feed or whoever you are, no one knows what you mean or cares.

Let me take a long last look…

If you are between 9’0″ and 9’4″, it doesn’t matter. Duck.

It’s just metal. But I couldn’t help but notice its resemblance to a broken Paleo-Hebrew mem, which meant water.

How many people walk by and don’t even know what this is?

This too shall pass. A few more.

Besides the ducks, cormorants like to hang out on the slough as well. Once again, shoulda brought the tripod… I was guilty of talking while attempting a zoomed in shot as well.

Good bye, old bridges. I hope I can grab a piece of you before they haul you away for good.

He stood upon the bridge alone
and Fire and Shadow both defied;
his staff was broken on the stone,
in Khazad-dûm his wisdom died.

Tolkien

©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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If the Ericksen House in Bothell, Washington isn’t moved in March, it will be destroyed. The house and its neighbor have been sitting there patiently waiting for someone to move them. But despite being *FREE*, as in, COMPLETELY FREE BUILDINGS, no one has come for them.

I wrote about these buildings in last October’s Necrotic Bothell. Trying to get anyone organized or excited about this has been like trying to nail Jell-O to a tree. Or throwing popcorn at a rubber shower curtain.

It doesn’t look like this property has been treated with very much respect. This is where I began a particular book collection as a kid, so it’s always been a special spot for me for that and other reasons.

Do you believe in miracles? In last minute saves? I do. Join me in hoping that some benevolent soul will step forward and give these buildings a new life in a safe place. Soon.

This just underscores the disheartening lack of support for historic preservation in the greater Seattle area. There are a great many wealthy people around here, but it seems like it’s mostly us regular folk who get involved in trying to save our significant structures.

While I’m on this topic, the historians and genealogists among us are abuzz about the federal government’s decision to close the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) building in Seattle. This would send this priceless collection to California! (Insert primal scream and wild gesticulation here.)

Please RAISE YOUR VOICE. Tell our elected officials, NARA, etc. that removing such a facility from Seattle altogether is NOT OKAY. Please take a moment to learn more about this and find out who to contact. Many of these materials were already brought here from Alaska and none of it should be moved out of our state. This affects our local tribes as well.

Rumor has it the big guns, the titans of Seattle history, will be speaking out on this soon. Follow their lead. This is definitely a time at which locals need to rise up and find a viable alternative that will allow these records to stay in the area.


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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The Hobart, Washington yellow submarine on 276th Avenue SE

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In a circle of true Friends each man is simply what he is: stands for nothing but himself. No one cares twopence about any one else’s family, profession, class, income, race, or previous history… That is the kingliness of Friendship. We meet like sovereign princes of independent states, abroad, on neutral ground, freed from our contexts.

C.S. Lewis

“When did this become a thing?” I asked myself indignantly. I’d always hoped that as we Gen Xers progress through life, we would grow out of our myopic high school cliques. In high school and even long before, I was appalled at the cruelty kids could show those who were unlike themselves. To be accepted by the cliques, you had to conform, and that often meant dialing down your empathy to outsiders to fit in.

The obvious answer is that it’s always been a thing. The thing being to ostracize, mock, and isolate ourselves from those who are different than us. We find it safer, simpler, easier to coexist with people who look like, act like, believe like ourselves than who have different hair, different brands of clothing, different politics.

In the 2010s there was a disturbing resurgence of high school politics amongst adults. We argued about who started it, with both sides pointing their fingers at each others’ leaders and actions. Now, locally at least, it’s in vogue to treat those of different belief systems as lesser. Simply saying that someone is different from us doesn’t suffice; we might now consider them inferior, as if their faith choices or party preferences make them a substandard hominid.

Those who know me personally know that I have strong views on topics like faith and politics– and there are times when I come down like a thunderbolt on matters of principle. That is the glory of the First Amendment and a free country, that we have the precious right to speak openly and publicly. My beliefs come from a lifetime of hard knocks and a desire to see people unchained from governance, philosophies, and ideologies that limit their autonomy and identity.

Friends know this about me and respect my freedom to do so. They know they are free to disagree. They are aware that my loyalty to them does not depend on their approval of my ballot or latest blog post. I can treat them with respect even when their views are the polar opposite of mine. If the friendship no longer works, we are free to move along. You win some, you lose some, yet those who stick around are generally the ones you’re the most authentic with.

In matters of love, it is imperative that we find someone who shares our values. That is a separate conversation. But in matters of friendship, when in our adult lives, as we ripen and grey, did it become cool to disassociate from those who don’t share our political and religious views? It’s quite normal for our closest friends, the knights of our round table, to share some of our deepest beliefs. Yet why can’t we have friends who share our interests and not our faith or party?

This trend perplexes me. Some of my most cherished friends and family have very different beliefs than my own. We’ve been together too long, or been through too much together, to talk about politics and religion when we have precious time together. We may campaign for radically different candidates and might never set foot inside each others’ religion. We might have moral or ethical reasons for not supporting each others’ stuff. That “stuff” is not what our relationship’s about, though. We love each other as we are and stay off the contentious topics that could divide us. They understand that I’m outspoken about my “stuff” and I respect their right to be outspoken about theirs.

In the Seattle area, being of a certain political persuasion can result in stereotypes, assumptions, and just weird behavior. “Oh you’re one of those,” I’ve heard. I can be having a wonderful conversation, then the other person realizes I’m not necessarily in agreement with their preferred presidential candidate. Suddenly a hilarious and warm discussion becomes strained when I’m “outed.” I don’t see how that has anything to do with the commonalities we share or that it’s even relevant to the conversation. But it’s a thing, a measuring stick that judges our friendship compatibility quotient.

Similarly, there are times I’m deep in a jocular dialogue with those who are closer to my political beliefs, but then I’ll mention a cause I’m passionate about and lose them. Some of the causes I’m most involved with tend to be considered more “the others'” causes– such as animals and nature. Inwardly I’m thinking, “I’m sorry, why do I have to be exactly like you to be worth your time?” I never thought I’d see this dynamic escalate as I veer towards middle age. It’s like High School, Part Deux.

I love a good debate. Not an argument, but a reasoned, logical, articulate back and forth that fleshes out the fundamentals of an issue. I don’t mind intelligent debate with friends when the primary goal is to understand each other rather than change each others’ minds. However, when is the last time you saw a true Lincoln-Douglas exchange on a political stage? Instead, candidates attack each other personally– “moron!” “putz!” “bastard!”– rather than offering rational explanations of how they will try to fix current affairs. In like manner, we emulate this, attacking people personally instead of explaining our values and convictions. It’s spreading. It’s scary.

Why ostracizing those different from ourselves is so serious is that it could cause a new civil war. It’s certainly caused a social chasm in the Seattle area. This isn’t being a doomsayer, this is calling out the reality of what this growing problem could cost us. If we turn on our family and friends for not being our clones, we’re lost. If we cut off communication because someone doesn’t vote the same, we’ll become even more suspicious of them. If we are a member of a non-religious or non-political organization or circle of friends, and start bringing politics and religion into it, we could shatter the group and its mission.

We all belong to organizations or circles of friends that share our values. That’s where our values are affirmed and we can fight for what we believe is right. But those are not the only islands we should live on. We’re part of a larger community, state, country that must hang together or assuredly will hang separately as Ben Franklin said. If people in my historical circles begin to associate only with those who agree with themselves politically, for example, we’ve just cut out some of the strongest advocates of preservation. We lose our effectiveness. If a cultural organization, united because of descent from a particular ethnic group, starts making one side of the political spectrum or the other feel unwelcome, the group could lose its under 50 crowd and become obsolete.

We have Twitter, blogs, Facebook, and all manner of venues via which we can blare our steadfast convictions to the world. I do. Those I like and love know they can take it or leave it. I love sharing my reasons for not giving up no matter the odds and why I believe in a life after this. I want them to have hope and know that nothing is impossible. It is not a requirement for my friendship or devotion, though. No one at a holiday meal has to plow through a 2500-word diatribe on my defense of Civil War monuments before we eat. It is not relevant to the occasion. If politics and religion do come up, then I believe in equal air time. If it becomes a one-sided bashing session, one may tactfully switch topics and redirect those present to a more joyful subject.

You can be passionate, outspoken, contentious, outraged, and risk public ridicule while doing so without being a jerk to your friends personally. I fear that being able to exercise one’s rights while maintaining relationships with those who disagree is becoming a lost art. We can value what we have in common, what drew us together in the first place, and not discuss the topics the knives come out over when it’s not necessary.

Some of the men and women I most admire don’t share my politics or religion. I admire them because of their expertise, their kindness, and very often, their outlandish humor. Being in their presence makes me more joyful and more knowledgeable. Their positive qualities help others be better human beings. Why would you not want to be around funny and smart people? Because they voted for the other guy? I understand maintaining certain ethical boundaries with others and severing toxic relationships. But in general, why can’t you go grab a cold one and kick back with someone who voted for the other guy?

Life would be very boring indeed if we limited our interactions to people who looked, talked, or voted like ourselves. Being exposed to other viewpoints challenges me to improve my rational defenses of my own “stuff” as well. Friends can offer constructive criticisms, help us practice empathy, and aid in building bridges to be able to mutually problem solve with people who aren’t like us. If one of Washington’s five volcanoes blows, I’m not going to run solely to those who worked on an initiative with me, I’m going to seek out the best qualified people to help my community survive.

We can hold to our values, fight for our freedoms, and still cherish diversity in our friends. A true friend knows us as we are and enjoys what we have in common. We have geek culture friends, workout friends, church friends, service organization friends, book club friends, foodie friends, slow stroll in the woods while discussing existential crises friends. We have friends for all reasons, all seasons. Plus those aforementioned morons and putzes and bastards might be the best cycling partner or the most well-connected advocate to advance your ministry to the homeless.

Imagine how bland and colorless life would be if only the Republicans were allowed to go to restaurants with you, or the gym was only open to Democrats, or only Libertarian friends were allowed to call you at 2 in the morning when they had a startled-from-their sleep-level epiphany about their third to last passionate romantic entanglement. It’s also noteworthy that those whose “stuff” we disagree with often have the deepest scars in common with us, be it betrayal, abuse, or abandonment. Survivors come in all shapes and sizes.

Yes, there are limits to what we can tolerate and I am not equating all values or belief systems. There are many dangerous people in this world as well, people who take advantage of our kindnesses and good deeds. We can and should pay attention to that gut instinct that tells us we are playing with fire. I am saying that we can practice a little more respect and empathy for those around us. We can be strong advocates for our causes and still be able to work with those with differing views.

The bottom line is that we can have friendships that are founded upon non-political and non-religious interests. It may not be fashionable to do so, but we will become an increasingly polarized and suicidal nation if that keeps slipping away.


Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.

Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.

Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Albert Camus

©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Perseverance and Spirit have done Wonders in all ages.

George Washington

Presidents’ Day in Seattle this year was an unusually sunny Monday flecked with dramatic clouds. As they do every year, the Sons, Daughters, and Children of the American Revolution gathered on the University of Washington campus to pay tribute to its namesake along with compatriots from other historic organizations. For those who don’t know, membership in the SAR, DAR, and CAR are open to all who can prove lineal descent from a man or woman who served in or supported the American Revolution.

The morning’s festivities began in Kane Hall with local historian, photographer, author, teacher (in short, polymath– is there something he can’t do?) Jean Sherrard presenting photos and commentary from the acclaimed Seattle Now & Then. In 2018, Sherrard and the godfather of Seattle history, Paul Dorpat, published this epic collection of historic photos accompanied by modern views taken from the same vantage point. It’s a tome that allows you to stand in the present and gaze back into the past simultaneously. The contrasts between now and then are educational, enriching, emotional, and jarring all at once.

Sherrard was accompanied by veteran journalist, editor, photographer, et cetera Clay Eals, but not Paul Dorpat. Dorpat was unable to attend as we’d hoped. That meant we would miss the Felix-Oscar dynamic. If you’ve heard Sherrard and Dorpat speak together as they often do, they play off of each other like old married comedians. They come from different eras, but in a Statler-Waldorf-esque fashion they wryly ping topics back and forth as they explain the context of each image on the screen. It becomes even funnier when they rely on Eals to interject. (Thinking of you, Paul!)

Sherrard’s resonant voice and deep well of knowledge is more than enough to keep this presentation engaging on his own, though. He has the bearing and gravitas of a Founding Father which made this especially appropriate on a national holiday. He also has the timing of a seasoned stand-up comic, so his discourse on architecture like the Sinking Ship Parking Garage causes you to wonder if you’re at Laughs or the local historical society. It cracks me up when I see people looking around as if they didn’t expect history to be funny.

You’ll never look at local landmarks and relics the same way after you attend a Dorpat-Sherrard event. You might even find yourself ridiculously motivated to save such things. I encourage you to subscribe to their blog, where they post often and feature Sherrard’s photographs, which cannot be described as anything less than pulchritudinous. Some people take pictures. Others gaze into the soul of their subject and make you feel as if you’re witnessing more than a mere mortal should be allowed to see.

After having our minds blown in Kane Hall, we marched westward to the more than 100 year-old statue of George Washington in Red Square. This statue, as I’ve discussed in previous posts, was made possible by the Daughters of the American Revolution and local schoolchildren. It’s fitting that we return every year to honor our first president. As is the case with all presidents, he was not a perfect man, but there is no such thing, and he is unique in the annals of history. I am proud to honor an imperfect man, whose courage helped birth our nation, as my ancestors did.

Both men and women serve in the SAR Fife and Drum Corps. The amount of work they do and the number of events they attend each year is astounding.

Here the SAR color guard is setting up. Note the period uniforms. Every piece of equipment and clothing, every flag has colonial roots and a meaning.

One year when these men brought their muskets, someone called the police. A UW canine unit showed up, and most of our photos from that year show the officer and dog posing with us. This year we didn’t have any such incidents. We always appreciate the students and passersby who stop to participate. Someone inevitably asks, “what are you doing?” We’re happy to explain. We’re also thrilled when they ask for help researching their genealogy so they can join.

Which century was this photo taken in? If it weren’t for the no skateboarding sign, or whatever it is, this could easily be another place and time.

Look who that is. On the right. By George, it’s George. It was somewhat of a transcendental experience to watch George Washington standing before… George Washington to pay tribute. This George knows himself exceedingly well and participates in a variety of events.

Mid-ceremony, some loquacious seagulls caused us to look skyward where there were not one, but two bald eagles cruising directly over our event. This picture only shows one, but what a glorious and significant unscheduled flyby! This was especially meaningful given a discussion about the symbolism of eagles a few days before.

The organizations present take turns lying wreaths at the foot of the statue.

Blur out a couple of background details and you could once again picture this in the late 18th century.

Another joyful aspect to this year’s ceremony was the perfect amount of wind that unfurled the flags as we took photos. The weather can be too cold, too wet, too icy, too breezy, but this year was just right.

Looking good, S, T, V, General Washington, & co.!

As the ceremony was concluding, our great bronze orb suddenly darkened. Looking to the south, we saw this resplendent dragon billowing eastward.

You can see the eye, snout, fire, legs, and wing. I was in awe of this behemoth, bestial cumulus. It didn’t occur to me until later why this, too, was significant. The Green Dragon Tavern in Boston was known as the Headquarters of the Revolution.

Oh Creator, I love your sense of humor. And I love that these men, women, and children come together in nonpartisan organizations to promote history, unity, patriotism, and education regardless of their differences. That ability to love one another as we are and act together for the common good is the glue that holds this democratic republic together. I pray that it continues for centuries more.


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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This was once the second most photographed object in the world. Author Steven J. Pickens said that in its heyday, only the Eiffel Tower attracted more shutter snaps.

This is the green and grey rusting metal sitting on the side of a trail in Kirkland. People ask when the unsightly “junk” will be removed or muse about a new outhouse.

This is the Kalakala, or what remains of it. Born as the Peralta and originally running on routes in the San Francisco Bay, the Kalakala literally arose from the ashes of its original incarnation.

This Art Deco ferry carried people across the Puget Sound from 1935 to 1967. Post-1967, she went to Alaska to serve as a fish processor and cannery.

An effort to bring her back to Washington succeeded, but the money needed to bring her back to life never materialized. She sat disintegrating in various locales until the decision was finally made to auction off pieces of her instead of trying to save the whole boat.

The City of Kirkland successfully bid to save large pieces of the ferry and will be preserving it as part of an art project.

It’s fitting that the “mother ship” (above) has come home to Kirkland. The Kalakala was built in Kirkland and after decades of wandering around, will live on, resurrected for a second time.

The sun may be setting on the remains of the Kalakala, but right now it’s like a seed in the ground, waiting to pop up in the spring.

I see you! The portholes look like the eyes of a giant spider.

I believe these are the car doors. You can see a list of the parts that were salvaged here. You can also see a beautiful picture of the Kalakala on the wall of Kirkland City Hall outside of the Peter Kirk Room.

The Kalakala could carry thousands of passengers and many vehicles. People liked to hang out of these futuristic windows as they cruised across the water. Since the Kalakala was still operating at the time of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, its photographic popularity that year was only eclipsed by the Space Needle.

Here is another look at what was saved.

Nearly a century after its construction, the Kalakala eagerly awaits a place in the public eye again.

There are many photos and videos of the Kalakala online including this one-minute video showing the ferry in motion.

Could you imagine riding this during the Great Depression? You must have felt like you were on a spaceship.

This is another short video that shows some of the interior as well. There is more on YouTube.


Steven J. Pickens, author of Ferries of Puget Sound, plans to release an update to that book soon. The original follows the lives of Puget Sound ferries up to 2006. You may be shocked at what has happened to some of the boats we’ve commuted on for decades.


©2019 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Driving down 7th Avenue near Market Street in Kirkland, you may be startled by a group of people dressed in gauzy white dancing on the lawn.

While not a fan of the ghosts and gore part of Halloween, I had to stop and admire the thought that went into this macabre display.

What is so striking is the frozen motion, as if you interrupted something you were never supposed to see and time stopped.

While I miss the Barbie zombie display from last year, so far this seems to be one of the more elaborate setups in Kirkland. And certainly the most graceful.

©2019 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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