I didn’t understand how hilly Seattle was until I got here.* I went to college in Boston, where I lived within a few blocks of Beacon Hill for three-and-a-half years. Have you been to that Beacon Hill? If you’re kind of out of shape, you might consider it a hill. But really, it’s a sort of gentle rise, especially compared to our little corner of the Pacific Rim.
So when I moved here, I was unprepared. I threw myself into it – I was 21, so I could fake the endurance I hadn’t rightly earned, even though I was accustomed to flatter pastures and a car-based life at the time. But Seattle is hilly enough that I snort when we’re described as a bike-friendly city (although not only for reasons of topography). My laundry cycle accounts for the fact that my walking commute home usually leaves me as sweaty as if I’d just jogged a few miles. So it goes.
Seattle is hilly enough that there are certain slopes with stairs, because the hills are too steep to sustain a plain old sidewalk. Yes, in certain places downtown and in Phinney Ridge and probably other places I’ll get to in the next few months, the sidewalks have those raised ridges so you can dig your toes in as you climb to your office on Third on an icy day. But western Capitol Hill, Queen Anne… these places require actual, honest-to-god stairs. Continue reading