The Hills Are Alive

Dated: 03/31/2016

Views: 523

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Before you ever visited Seattle – or especially if you haven’t yet – the thing you probably know or should know about Western Washington is that it is, behind only Alaska, one of the most densely forested areas in the entire country and one of the most mountainous. Stand on the observation deck of The Space Needle (better yet, have dinner at any table and watch while the whole place rotates!) and walk around it. To the South, you’ll see the almost other-worldly majesty of Mt. Rainier and even catch a glimpse, on a very clear day, of the tops of Mount Adams and Mount Hood. To the West is the vast sweep of the Olympic Mountains, stretching all the way from the Canadian border, almost to the Washington beaches. To the East is the endless panorama of the Cascade Mountains, which runs deep into Canada and all the way to southern Oregon. And to the North is one of the most striking sights of the whole 360: Mount Baker, Washington’s most northerly major peak, snow-capped year round, even in the mid-summer “heat” (Washington’s thermometers rarely ever register above 85 degrees and usually remain under 85 in the middle of summer).

From anywhere in the Seattle area, spending time in the mountains is never more than thirty minutes or so away. The huge natural bowl that forms the plain upon which Seattle, Tacoma, Bellingham, Olympia, and even down to Vancouver and Portland is bounded by the Cascades and Olympics and two of the most attractive day trips for Seattleites – and even more so for folks from Kirkland! – are the short drive out to Snoqualmie Pass, lying astraddle I-90, or the 25 minute ferry ride that takes you from Edmonds to Kingston, where the Olympic National Forest is a pretty 45 mile drive across Washington Route 104. In either place, a world of clean hiking trails, kayaking, canoeing, trail rides, guided nature hikes, picnicking, camping, and both water and snow skiing is laid out before you, all immaculately maintained by a state which literally invented many of the modern accommodations and activities designed for modern outdoor enthusiasts.

Even for those who don’t want to make these excursions into over-nighters, the counties along Puget Sound offer most of the same possibilities and even a few more. For both salt-water and fresh water fishing, Western Washington - with its 400 rivers and streams and 100+ major lakes and reservoirs – is a world-class mecca for both farmed/wild and natural fish populations and people flock to the state every year for major salmon runs and the state’s vast shellfish resources. From Kirkland, it’s literally a five minute drive to the shores of Lake Washington, the Sammamish River, Crystal Creek, Pleasant Creek, Howell’s Creek, and Daniel Creek – all fishable, all pristine, and all easily accessible. Extend your drive to 15 minutes and you find Lake Ballanger, the huge Lake Sammamish, and Rattlesnake Lake in the Cedar River Watershed. The gem of the entire area is the tri-part hydra of the Snoqualmie, Skykomish, and Snohomish Rivers, some of the prime sport fishing waterways in the American West. There are literally dozens of campgrounds in King County, as well, if you want to turn your fishing expedition into a low-cost weekend of outdoor laid-backness under the stars.

An important part of that smart decision to move to Kirkland is what’s close at hand and very few places in the country offer as much variety, color, leisure, aerobic, and plain ol’ balance of Uptown and Down Home as this lovely little slice of lakefront Nirvana on the shores of Lake Washington.

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Troy Anderson

~Married with 2 children ~Turned grey prematurely ~Fetish for all things Apple ~Urban chicken farmer ~Enology (wine making) student @ WSU ~14+ years of Real experience “Here at TeamTroy we h....

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