Today my memories are going to the Pacific Northwest. I am so incredibly thankful for the Army allowing us to live in some incredible places … Until I got married, I’d never been west of the Mississippi River in the United States. Then I married an Army officer and moved to California! As that post was closing down, my husband’s unit moved north to Washington State/Ft. Lewis, where we lived for 2 years (1993-1995).
We lived in a little city on the outskirts of the capital city of Olympia called Lacey. When the weather was clear, we could see Mt. Rainier from our home! Mt. Rainier is the highest mountain in Washington and of the Cascade mountain range – covered with snow fields and glaciers.
Washington State has several mountain ranges to include the Cascades and also the Olympic range.
And of course, there’s Mount St. Helens. This active volcano erupted in May of 1980 which was the most deadly eruption in the United States ever. When we visited in 1993, the mountainsides still were covered with charred trees while the landscape underneath was slowly growing back.
Washington State is nicknamed the Evergreen State for good reason! The mountains, lakes, ocean shore, and even a rainforest region – and the abundant rain – keep this region looking green and provides myriad of opportunities to hike and walk and camp and be outdoors.
Actually, the eastern part of the state is NOT so green!! There is a region to include the Yakima area which is sandy and almost desert like. In fact, my husband spent some time there with his Army unit, training for desert warfare.
Seattle is probably the most well-known city on Washington State, though it is NOT the capital! Seattle is on the Puget Sound and has an aquarium, a pier, markets (Pike Place Market), and even an “underground” city. Of course, Seattle is near the home of Microsoft and Boeing and lots of major corporations. And that’s just the surface of Seattle.
Olympia is the capital city of Washington state. Its capitol building boasts the tallest, self-supporting masonry dome in the United States.
There are so many interesting places and cities all over the Pacific Northwest, I can’t mention them all – but one of our favorites was Leavenworth, near Lake Chelan in apple growing country of the Wenatchee region. Leavenworth is a Bavarian-styled town, and we enjoyed eating Schnitzel and hearing German music there.
The many rivers of Washington are regulated by dams, most of which are controlled by the US Army Corp of Engineers. Near the Grand Coulee dam which is on the Columbia River, there is a neat dry falls area. Dry falls are kind of a smaller version of the Grand Canyon.
Not sure if Oregon counts as the Pacific Northwest, but I will throw in this state, too, because it was worth mentioning. When we drove through Oregon from California to our new home in Washington, I was immediately struck with the BEAUTY of the state.
Also, I had my first (and last!) white water rafting experience there with friends. We rafted the Rogue River, complete with a guide on the back of our “raft” to help us navigate the swirly waters.
Portland was an interesting city, but we preferred being out in nature, like at Multnomah Falls, tallest waterfall in Oregon, also on the Columbia River.
Oregon also has its own famous mountain peak: Mt. Hood. There’s Crater Lake, Oregon Caves National Monument, and again, so much more!
By the way, it is true that it rains A LOT in the Pacific Northwest!!! Although it was more just drizzly and gray than down pours usually. But there was enough sunshine in between to keep me happy (the region is known for its high rate of suicide and depression), and I enjoyed our years here.
(some information is from wikipedia)