SEAPLANES: It’s runway all the way. The Stranger

Astronomically speaking, summer doesn't end until September 22. On that day, assuming the patterns of the cosmos hold, earth will teeter momentarily in a special alignment with the sun that only comes twice a year. Day and night will be equal everywhere on the planet, Republican will hug Democrat, food will be free and bountiful, your sleep will be perfect, and hangovers will magically disappear. Then, when it's over, fall will be here, winter will be coming right up, and you'll need a whole other kind of advice than we're offering today.

For now, though, you have a month of summer to go—or maybe you have less. There's the astronomical truth about the season's duration and then there's the truth of the temperature outside. Sometimes in Seattle, long before September 22, the temperature tells you that summer is definitely over and maybe never began at all.

There's also the marketing/road-trip industrial complex truth to consider. Sometimes in Seattle, as everywhere, you believe what you're told on TV: that summer ends right after you buy an American flag picnic tablecloth and toss it in the back of your Chevy so you can drive several tanks of gas worth of distance, get out, and mark Labor Day with the knowledge that you've pumped your share of carbon into the atmosphere and more than your share of calories into your gut.

Labor Day is like a week and change from now, so if you're of this school of thought, you need to get busy squeezing the last out of the long days right now. If you're navigating by the position of the stars—well, you still need to get busy squeezing. September 22, the day the earth tips into fall, is only a few weeks away. However you count your last days of summer, here's some advice to help you ride 'em hard, put 'em away wet, and head into fall knowing you did all you could before it was time to start looking for knitted mittens and a new bulb for the light box. ELI SANDERS


Seth Goodkind

Bust Up a Rat Scuffle in Cal Anderson Park

For the rats of Cal Anderson, summertime means night fights. They sleep in the bushes during the day, but once the sun goes down they get loose on the extra beer lying around and tear each other to pieces in the common spaces. They like to brawl up on that molehill near the fountain because they like the attention. In the moonlight, it's almost beautiful. But it's not. It's vicious. Nobody wins. It's the heat that does it to them, so if you want to stop the violence you're going to have to bring (1) chilled cheese or (2) petty cash. They make fans out of the dollar bills. Calms them down. RICH SMITH


Go to the Aquarium (High)

Nestled among rocky tide pools on the Australian coast lives the blue-ringed octopus, a hand-sized crab hunter whose venom contains enough neurotoxins to kill an adult human. The Seattle Aquarium does not have the blue-ringed octopus, but it does have saltwater tide pools where humans (you!) can touch harmless sea anemones with gelatinous tentacles that will grab at and lightly stick to your fingers. Have you ever communed with a sea anemone while high? It is like touching ET. Better yet, just behind the tide pool exhibit there's an arch of floating moon jellyfish. Stand under the arch and watch the lights behind the translucent moon jellies change from yellow to blue, to green, to red, as the animals undulate overhead. Did you know that jellies have been on this earth for as long as 700 million years? The aquarium also explains that jellies have radial symmetry, which means that if you cut them in any direction, all halves would be exactly the same. But why would anyone cut up a beautiful moon jellyfish? Humans are monsters. Which reminds me: In front of the tide pool exhibit, there's a nook next to the large fish aquarium that is good for curling up into a ball and crying when it all becomes too much. Have fun, everyone. SYDNEY BROWNSTONE


Take a Water Taxi to West Seattle

Stroll downtown to the waterfront and hop on a water taxi for $4.50 on your ORCA card and cruise across the water to West Seattle. Once there, you can grab a bite at Marination Mai Kai, which serves Hawaiian-Korean cuisine (get the $3 fish tacos and down it with a beer). Grab a bike from the adjacent Alki Kayak Tours for $10 an hour and cruise up and down Alki Beach. Bring a book, park on the western side of the beach at Alki Beach Park, and get away from the riffraff. At the end, when you're tired or bored, ride back and catch the taxi home. End your day with a scenic ride on the Seattle Great Wheel. Yes, it's touristy, yes, it's a little pricey ($13), but it's also really fun. If you time it just right, you can be in the sky during the sunset. Thank me later. TRICIA ROMANO


Go "Tree Bathing" on Beacon Hill

In Japan, being in the presence of trees is called shinrin-yoku. It's supposed to have health benefits or help you manage stress. But all of that is just claptrap. There is no real use to forest bathing. You do it only because trees are alive and you want to hang out with them. Because forest bathing requires a good number of leafy and big trees, it usually involves, for those who live in very urban areas (such as Tokyo), a trip out of town. But Seattle is blessed with lots of local and very dense forests. The Cheasty Greenspace at Mountain View on Beacon Hill is such a place. It's got lots of very leafy and big trees. But they are mostly deciduous—meaning in winter, their branches are bare. This is no good for bathing in the ambience of these marvelous beings. Leaves are needed. So you must shinrin-yoku before fall, before the leaves, red and gold, drift by your window. Also, MC Foods is nearby if you need to enhance this experience with cheap wine or a can of beer. CHARLES MUDEDE


Finally Go to the Nude Beach

In 1963 Diane Arbus made a great photograph of a retired man and his wife seated in their living room in a nudist colony. The man and the wife sit upright in separate chairs. They're squares! Just nude squares. This is the way to do nude: drama-free. Seattle has a great place: a nude beach off an unmarked path just south of Denny Blaine beach. The path is visible because it's not a driveway. Walk down its little forested area. The forest is the place where you leave your hang-ups. Drop them off—I shake my arms a little—then emerge on the lawn that leads straight to the water. Lay down your towel anywhere and get right to the business of removing your clothes. Don't forget to look at the beauty of the lake and the sky and the trees. This is not all about your body. You don't really want to ogle the other humans, but you don't need to obsess about not ogling. Remember both that you were born this way and also that you never spend time this way, so if you feel a little funny, that's normal and everybody acting all nonchalant probably feels the same way you do. Sunbathe, swim, read, whatever—the nude beach is supposed to be freedom! So claim it. FYI: Sometimes there's a fellow, often an older fellow, who wants to make small talk with you at some point in your visit to the nude beach—maybe you're getting into the water and he's getting out, or you're lying your towel down near his. This fellow might act like he is the mayor of the nude beach, and it's his job to welcome you and prove it's easy and comfortable here. Except being nude is still rare and a little awkward and vulnerable and the nude beach has no mayor. Just let us get our nude on in peace, man. JEN GRAVES


Seth Goodkind

Eat the 12 Blackberries That Haven't Been Peed on Yet

You walk by that blackberry bramble every day but don't take of its bounty. Why? Because you know Gina walks that terrier mix by the bramble every day, too, and you KNOW that dog pees every five feet. But come on. Get real. That thing can't shoot up to the tall parts. Remember the old adage: Pick a berry at the peak and sleep for a week. RICH SMITH


Paddleboard Between Racing Sailboats

I'm known to ride my bike around Seattle without a helmet, which I don't think is controversial but everyone gets on my case about, so take this for whatever it's worth: On a hot day, go get wet and work out your upper body at the same time by renting a cheap paddleboard at Moss Bay. Putter around South Lake Union, if you like. It'll cool you down for sure, but to be honest, it can feel a tad bit slow and boring. Add excitement by paddleboarding on a Tuesday, as dozens of sailboats careen across the water in the weekly "Duck Dodge" race, sometimes just yards away from each other. Get close to them (but yes, be careful) if you like, and take in the scene as their towering sails block out the sun and cast you into the shade. You'll feel like a minnow among orcas. ANSEL HERZ


Volunteer for a Political Campaign

You know what will still be true no matter how many times you rent a kayak or go to the beach? The world is fucking bad. People are suffering, traffic sucks, and you're staring down the barrel of an election during which Donald Trump actually has a chance of becoming your next president. You can drink yourself into oblivion about this or you can do something to make the world a little less terrible. Here in Washington, this fall's ballot includes major state initiatives: minimum wage and sick leave, public campaign financing, a new gun safety measure. In Puget Sound, Sound Transit 3 is a $54 billion package to double light rail in the region. And in the state legislature, Democrats are fighting to take back the state senate so they can better fund public education, stop attacks on women's health, and spend more money helping people experiencing homelessness. Specifically, these Democrats need help to beat Republicans: Tim Probst (Legislative District 17, Vancouver), Karl Mecklenburg (Legislative District 25, Puyallup), Marisa Peloquin (Legislative District 28, University Place), Lisa Wellman (Legislative District 41, Mercer Island). All of these campaigns need help to win. Call the campaigns, ask what they need, door-knock, phone-bank, bug your friends on social media, register to vote. Then get back to drinking. HEIDI GROOVER


Go to Vibrations Fest in Volunteer Park on August 28

Vibrations is annually Seattle's chillest and perhaps DIY-est arts festival, featuring many of the coolest bands and visual artists (plus the craftiest vendors and aura readers) and attended by the coolest folks in the verdant splendor of Volunteer Park. It's the best spot to go on Capitol Hill to feel like you're not on Capitol Hill—and if you're augmented by magic mushrooms or other psychedelics, so much the better. Running from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Vibrations hosts a varied bill of rising rock and electronic acts, including Hardly Art Records stalwart Jenn Champion (formerly S), Aeon Fux, Posse, Lilac, and QOQO ROBOQS. All this plus sustenance from Patty Pan and Six Strawberries and caffeine from Analog Coffee. Cairo, the gallery/retail establishment that produced Vibrations for the last four years, may be shuttered, but its peacemongering, imaginative spirit lives on in this gleeful gathering in the park. DAVE SEGAL


Finally Post That Ironic Real World: SeattleTweet You've Been Meaning to Post

I know you got a good one hanging out in your Notes app, just begging to be tweeted. You've held off because you were a little drunk at the time when you wrote it, and maybe it was funny then but not so funny now that they've been here a while and nothing much has happened. But you need to stop thinking that way. That tweet is hilarious. Give it to us. RICH SMITH


Ride in a Seaplane

A ridiculous number of people who've lived in Seattle a long time have never ridden in a seaplane. It's the best way to travel to the San Juan Islands or to Victoria, BC, because it's "runway all the way," as a pilot once pointed out to me, referring to the aircraft's amphibious landing gear. I was sitting in the copilot's seat (highly recommended). The company is called Kenmore Air, and several of their seaplanes are painted like orcas. They have a brochure about orcas in every seat-back pocket, in case you happen to see any from the air. If you don't feel like going to the San Juans (35-minute flight from Lake Union) or Victoria (45 minutes), Kenmore also has a Seattle Scenic Seaplane Tour, a "narrated 20-minute flight over the Seattle metropolitan area." I've never done that one before. Maybe this summer. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE


Seth Goodkind

Drink Water Out of the Volcano Fountain

Support The Stranger

After saving a couple rats from beating each other to death, why not cool off by drinking the mock spring water spewing from the Mount Rainier sculpture-fountain in Cal Anderson Park? It's not safe, you say? You've seen human beings shit in that water before, you say? HAH. Take your ass back to Cleveland, you tech-bro transplant douchebag. Back in the OLD Seattle, which existed as a discrete and agreed-upon cultural entity before you showed up and ruined everything with your "marketable skills," everyone who lived on Capitol Hill used to fuck in that water and then drink the fuck-water. Made us stronger. And even if the water quality isn't as good as it was in fucking Toledo or "the Bay Area" or wherever the fuck you're from, you shouldn't be THAT worried in the first place. They fill it up with water fresh from the hose often enough. RICH SMITH


Seth Goodkind

Compete in the Bertha Olympics

Dig a hole adjacent to Bertha's cutter head near Union Street and First Avenue, then start shoveling earth in a path parallel to Bertha's route. You're only allowed to use a spoon. Will you reach Bertha's end point before the machine does? Who knows! As of late July, Bertha's racked up an estimated $223 million in cost overruns for the state, and has delayed its completion date (for the fifth time in two years) to early 2019. SYDNEY BROWNSTONE


Spy on Spieden Island's Feral Sheep

After you've flown on a seaplane up to the San Juans, it's time to charter a boat. When I went, I paid zero dollars to ride alongside a marine biologist, but you can also charter a vessel from Orcas Island if you've got an extra $300 burning a hole in your pocket. When you depart from Deer Harbor, head toward the uninhabited Spieden Island with a pair of binoculars and gaze upon the feral Corsican bighorn sheep let loose on the island by a group of big-game hunters nearly 50 years ago. You can't go on the island, which is private, so you'll just have to watch the sheep from afar. Those investors briefly renamed Spieden "Safari Island," but environmentalists protested, and the venture went bust. The descendants of the original, imported animals are still there, though. They appear to be doing well. SYDNEY BROWNSTONE


Eat All the Leaves Off the Trees Before They're Gone

If you haven't even been here long enough to know that the leaves make a real big show of dying before they fall off all the trees, or if you haven't even lived long enough to know what autumn is, then you better get to a leafy place and start nibbling the oaks' offerings before all the leaves are gone. Some people mix them up with a little mint and olive oil, but I just stick my head up in there and pig out like a rottweiler. Don't come crying to me in November saying, "Bloooo blooooo, Gina keeps talking about how good the leaves were this year and I didn't even get a chance to taste one, blooo, bloo." It's going to happen, and you won't need any more reasons to feel gloomy. RICH SMITH


Go to One of the Many Outdoor Events Seattle Has to Offer

Seattle has countless festivals during the summer, mostly because the terrible weather the rest of the year makes us want to spend as much time outdoors as we possibly can. Many of these have already passed, but the biggest, of course, is still to come—the massive music and arts festival that is Bumbershoot (September 2–4 at Seattle Center). But there are lots of other, cheaper opportunities to (try to) soak up the last minutes of outdoor summer fun in Seattle, including (but not limited to) the Bacon Eggs & Kegs "brunchy booze fest" (August 27–28 at CenturyLink Field), 14/48 Outdoors (the "world's quickest theater festival," a free event held outdoors at Ross Park on August 26–27), and the Seattle Design Festival (September 10–23). For the car-having set, there are also two state fairs still to come—the Evergreen State Fair (August 25–September 5 in Monroe) and the Washington State Fair (September 2–25 in Puyallup)—but if you're not into crowds, all state parks will have free admission August 25–28, in honor of the National Park Service Centennial. As always, you can find details about all of these events (plus the hundreds more happening in Seattle on a daily basis) at strangerthingstodo.com. STRANGER THINGS TO DO STAFF


Watch the Seattle Reign Kick Ass (and Score Goals)

The Sounders might be on the rebound now, but for much of this season, they've been downright disheartening to watch. Not many people realize, though, that big-name superstars from the US Women's National Soccer Team (they're dominant internationally, unlike the men's team) play right here in Seattle for their club team, the Reign—including Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo. And Nahomi Kawasumi, a diminutive, dazzling playmaker whose style is reminiscent of Messi's, is always a joy to watch. The Reign are having a strong season. They have two home games at Memorial Stadium in Seattle Center left (on August 27 against rivals Portland, and on September 11). During evening games, the sunset filters softly through trees behind the goal line. Tickets are cheap, the crowd is always loud and passionate, and seating is open (which means, unlike at CenturyLink, you can go right down to the touchline and see the game up close). So much fun. ANSEL HERZ


Get Medieval on Your Own Ass

Is the modern world bumming you out? Why not take a step back in time? The Camlann Medieval Village lies 15 miles north of Snoqualmie Valley, in scenic Carnation. Pass through the portal into the enchanted glade of the faire, where a man in a tunic will explain that you are entering the year 1376. King Edward III is on the throne, and the Black Prince has recently died, leaving Richard II as heir. Chaucer is the most celebrated author of the day, and the Plague haunts the land, like a bacterial precursor of Donald Trump. Walk past carpenters, metalsmiths, and other artisans dressed in loose costumes (available for rental) and calling you "squire" and "milady" in fake British accents while a lute strums softly in the distance. After perusing the handcrafted blades, madrigal plainsong, and minor-key petting zoo, stick around for the joust! And you can wash it all down with a flagon or two and a nice hearty meal at the Bors Hede Inne.

The Village specializes in festivals and feasts, and there are two left before summer is all the way over: the Harvest (August 27–28) and Michelmasse (September 24–25). Both will require advance reservations. SEAN NELSON


Scrape All the Gum Off the Sidewalks and Roll It into a Ball and Give It to a Baby

This is obvious, and you've probably already done this once so far, but just in case you haven't yet: Go ahead, scrape up all the gum, roll it up, and give it to a baby. Not only will you be cleaning up the streets, but you'll be training the baby in how to participate in the gift economy, which is one of the "marketable skills" it will need in order to make enough money to live here in 20 years. RICH SMITH


Take a Lazy Walk Through Carkeek Park

Contrary to popular belief, #NotAllSeattleites spend every waking moment hiking across precarious mountain pathways or spidering across mile-high cliffs. Instead, lazy and/or carless folks like me can look forward to slightly more urban trails, like the ones running through Carkeek Park. Starting from the trailhead behind QFC, meander down the rocky pathway. About 15 minutes in, you'll hit Piper's Orchard, a hillside studded with apple, pear, quince, and a variety of nut trees. Take a breather and reward yourself with a crisp (if slightly dusty) apple before trekking the rest of the way down to the bridge leading to Carkeek Beach. There, stand by the railing and let the roar of the winding cargo trains beneath you drown out all of life's other noise. ANA SOFIA KNAUF


Dunk Yourself in a Mountain Stream

There are between zero and two hot days in a Seattle summer. When one of these beauties hits, I go to the Mountain Loop Highway to find a place to dunk myself in some very cold water. Head east on SR530 before making a right turn at tiny Darrington. There's a nice spot across from Clear Creek Campground, or you can submerge yourself in the milky blue White Chuck River. (Look for the access point off the main road.) The best stretch is between service roads 4096 and 4080, where the highway runs right alongside the rushing Sauk River. Big boulders here allow water to collect in deep, bracingly icy pools that make for beautiful, private swimming holes—be careful around fast water and slippery rocks. Other worthy stops include a gorgeous deep-forest stroll on the Old Sauk Trail and a short, treacherous scramble down to the stunning North Fork Sauk Falls. Once you hit Barlow Pass, turn right and make a break for the Barbecue Bucket in Granite Falls. JENN CAMPBELL


Seth Goodkind

Steal 15 Plates from a Restaurant and Break Them, One by One, into a Garbage Dumpster While Screaming at a Different Personal Injustice Between Each Toss

It's been that kind of year. Why has the universe singled YOU out for history's greatest disasters? RICH SMITH


Stay Home

While everyone else is out soaking up the last whatevers of summer—those last sunny afternoons in the park, the last sip of rosé on a sunny restaurant deck, the last sunny bike ride—just stay home. Sit on your front steps, drink the wine that's already in your fridge, and spare yourself the horrors of the overcrowded-because-last-days-of-summer Burke-Gilman Trail. Opt out of the soak-up-the-last-of-summer madness. Don't go for a ride. Don't go for a hike. Don't go anywhere. Have some other opt-outers over, make some food; call up an old fuck buddy (if you're gay) or friend with benefits (if you're straight) and invite them to dinner, too. Then fuck their brains out after. Summer is overrated. If you loved summer, if you lived for it, you wouldn't live here, would you? DAN SAVAGE