Washington State is in the far northwestern corner of the continental United States, just below British Columbia, Canada. Its coastline is dramatic and includes the only Temperate Rain Forest in the lower 48 states. Like Oregon, there are mountains, the Cascades and the Olympics, and volcanoes, Mount Rainier and Mount St Helens, and Washington is the home of the best cherries in the world, Rainier Cherries. The state also boasts a world-class city, Seattle, and several national parks.
My “best of” list begins with Seattle, a great city with several extremely interesting attractions. The most prominent of the city’s attractions is the Space Needle, a travel icon recognized by millions.
Pioneer Square marks the oldest part of the city and its totem pole recalls the Native American heritage of the region.
Pike Place Market is a gathering place for locals and tourists alike.
Brooding over the city is the omnipresent, although often cloud-shrouded, Mount Rainier, a seemingly dormant volcano with the potential to erupt at any time.
A national park surrounds and includes the peak.
My favorite part of Washington is the Olympic Peninsula and, in particular, Olympic National Park. Nowhere is there more of a diversity of habitat and ecosystem. The park has pristine beaches with prominent off-shore sea stacks,
the aforementioned Temperate Rain Forest,
and tall mountains.
What a place!
In May, 1980, Mount St Helens erupted and caused untold damage to the area around it. Since then it has become a laboratory for the study of nature’s recovery after such an event. It is awesome to see the evidence of the destruction, still visible today, and also to see the ongoing restoration of the forests surrounding the mountain..