Archive For The “North America Pacific Coast” Category

Gold Creek Sno-Park

Gold Creek Sno-Park

The Gold Creek Sno-Park, on the eastern side of Snoqualmie Pass, is one of more than 120 state-maintained public winter recreation areas in Washington. And being so close to Seattle, it is one of the more popular. A Sno-Park is simply a parking lot cleared of snow. Some support non-motorized use only, but two-thirds are…

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Mixed Feelings

Mixed Feelings

When attending a sporting event, we often see fans of the away team. Sometimes they are wearing a simple shirt, coat or cap with their team’s logo and colors, but occasionally they are dressed in elaborate attire. The ‘Raider Nation‘ fans of the recently-relocated Los Angeles Raiders are particularly known for their fervor, demonstrated through…

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Commonwealth Basin Snowshoe

Commonwealth Basin Snowshoe

The Commonwealth Basin snowshoe route starts at the Snoqualmie Pass ski resort and follows Commonwealth Creek northeast towards the base of Red Mountain. The winter scenery along the way is varied and spectacular, ranging from snow-covered foot bridges in an intimate forest setting to frozen waterfalls to wide-open mountain vistas. And the higher-altitude climb up…

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Skyline Lake Snowshoe

Skyline Lake Snowshoe

The snowshoe route to Skyline Lake at Stevens Pass is a popular one for its spectacular mountain views. The trail is reasonably short at 3 miles (4.8 km), but with an elevation gain of 1,100 ft (335m), it’s not a quick in-and-out. The mountain views along the way to the lake are excellent, but are…

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Snoquera Falls

Snoquera Falls

Snoquera Falls cascade 400 ft (122 m) over a cliff in the southern end of Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest near Mt Rainier. The volume of flow can vary dramatically from barely a trickle in the late summer to a torrent during the spring run-off, with the basin below filled with spray. An easy 2-mile…

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Return through the Eastside

Return through the Eastside

On returning from our snowshoe trip to Olympic National Park, we decided to drive south through Tacoma for the first time rather than take a ferry across the Puget Sound as we’d done on previous trips. Surprisingly, driving the whole way only takes an extra 15 minutes over the ferry. But that’s assuming you just…

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Kahhane Ridge Snowshoe

Kahhane Ridge Snowshoe

On our second day of snowshoeing at Hurricane Ridge on Olympic National Park, we walked about 2 miles (3.2 km) along the Kahhane Ridge towards 6,454 ft (1,967 m) Mt. Angeles. Known as the Sunrise Ridge Route, the trail has equally spectacular views as our previous day’s hike to Hurricane Hill, but with a lot…

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Hurricane Ridge Snowshoe

Hurricane Ridge Snowshoe

Hurricane Ridge Road in Olympic National Park is among Washington’s most scenic. Starting at near sea level, the 18.6-mile (29.9 km) road leads to Hurricane Ridge at an elevation of 5,242 ft (1,598 m). The steep route curves and winds upwards, between steep mountains and deep gorges and through several tunnels, with spectacular views along…

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Winter Hiking

Winter Hiking

One of the many reasons we loved spending time in Norway was the countless boat-accessible view hikes. Washington state’s mountain hikes aren’t nearly as close to the water, but they do compete well with Norway for fabulous scenery. When we’d previously lived full-time in Seattle, we spent most of our free time on Dirona and…

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West Seattle

West Seattle

West Seattle is a group of Seattle neighborhoods known for their many public beaches and parks, several with wonderful view east to downtown or west to the Olympic Mountains. The Duwamish River separates the two parts of city, and also is home to the Port of Seattle and several parks. A passenger-only ferry runs between…

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Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, CA is a popular tourism destination, with the Pacific Ocean on one side and the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains on the other. The city has excellent restaurants and accommodations, wonderful hiking in the mountains, and water activities in the offshore Channel Islands. Those are sufficient enough attractions for us to go, but…

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Franklin Falls

Franklin Falls

Franklin Falls, just west of Snoqualmie Pass, gush 70 ft (21m) over a cliff into a pool below, with a narrow hiking trail that leads almost underneath. The falls are spectacular in the spring runoff, but even more so after particularly cold winter weather, when icicles encrust the cliff face. They reminded us of frozen…

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Queen Anne

Queen Anne

Queen Anne Hill, at 456 feet (139 m) high, is the highest named hill in Seattle and easily visible from our apartment. Three large red-and-white broadcast towers, landmarks in the city that are visible for miles, stand atop the hill and make it even more prominent. After an 1875 windstorm flattened many of the trees…

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Twin Falls

Twin Falls

Twin Falls is a popular and easy hike about a 45-minute drive east of downtown Seattle along I-90. The 2.6-mile (4 km) round-trip route, with an elevation gain of 500 ft (152 m), follows a well-maintained path alongside the Upper Snoqualmie River. Several viewpoints to the falls are en route, and the hike ends at…

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Heybrook Lookout

Heybrook Lookout

A forest fire lookout has stood on 1,700 ft (518m) Heybrook Ridge near Steven’s Pass since 1925, starting with a simple tent platform. Successively taller towers were built, culminating with the current 67-ft (20 m) lookout completed in 1964. It’s one of only 106 remaining forest fire lookouts in the state, down from a peak…

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Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

Fans of the Twin Peaks television series will recognize this picture of the Salish Lodge above Snoqualmie Falls. The towns of Snoqualmie and nearby North Bend were the primary shooting locations for the show, and the Salish Lodge appears in the opening credits as the fictional Great Northern Hotel. The town of Snoqualmie is only…

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Seattle Boat Show

Seattle Boat Show

We’re rarely in town for the Seattle Boat Show, and have only attended one or two in the past decade. Recent events have held the in-water portion at Lake Union, but this year it was at our old home port of Bell Harbor Marina. This venue worked well for us because it’s only a 10-minute…

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Whidbey Island

Whidbey Island

Whidbey Island is the 4th largest island in the contiguous United States at 169 square miles (437 km2), and the largest in Washington State. Along with Camano Island, it forms Island County at the northern boundary of Puget Sound. Whidbey has many waterfront parks, numerous interesting towns, and also is home to Naval Air Station…

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