We were up bright and early today, and I made the Starbucks run for Michelle’s ice tea. Since I am working at the office closer to my house, we aren’t carpooling so I went down as she got ready. As Trish, our favorite barista (except for Stacy the VERY best ever) was making the drink, she asked if we had any fun plans for the long weekend.
I told her we were getting up butt early to head for Mt. Rainier. She just kinda smiled and said the thing that just amazes me every time I hear it. And surprisingly I hear it a LOT! “You know, I’ve lived in Washington all my life, and I have never been to Mt Rainier. I really need to go!”
I know I am lucky. We lived relatively close to the mountain when I was a kid. So my parents took us there a LOT when we were growing up.
The reason it is so dumbfounding to me is fact that this mountain dominates the skyline in western Washington. On a clear day it is sitting there calling your name.
Moreover, seeing the mountain itself is not the only draw. There are waterfalls,
trails, trees, animals, rivers, and flowers. Anyone who loves nature comes away from there with huge eyes and wanting to go again.
The “I’ve never been” is not limited to Rainier though. I have heard the exact same thing said about the ocean beaches as well. I don’t mean the long trip to the Oregon coast, which I love, but the 2 hour drive to our own sandy beaches. Our beaches let you drive on the beach with your car, or ride horses.
You can also rent scooters and bikes. Fly kites and build sand castles. All big fun!
Mt St Helens is yet another one! The biggest eruption on the continent in over a century occurred in my state, yet even fewer people have been there than Rainier! I will have to do a post showing more of that unique scenery, but how could you resist going to see this!
What these have in common is the willingness to devote the time to get there. From our neck of the woods it’s a minimum of a 2.5 hour drive either to the ocean or either mountain. The ride is pretty going both ways, but that is still a chunk of time. Hence our getting up early! Traffic can be bad on the way back, and the mountain itself can be hella busy. But, at least to me, it is well worth it.
I can say, though, I am not immune to the “I’ve lived here all my life” line. Michelle and I made our first trip to Walla Walla last year.For someone who likes wine like we do, it seems silly we hadn’t gone before. We want to go back, but that is a weekend commitment, not just a day!
The North Cascades was another one. You woulda thought I would have gone there long ago and frequently, but its only been once, 4 years ago when I was out of work. I want to go again, in fact I want to ride the bike over the top of the pass, but at last I’ve gone once.
There are still places I WANT to see. Neah Bay is the most northwest point of the continent, I’ve been to the southern most part in Key West, I want the northern.
There is a place called Gingko Petrified Forest in Eastern WA. I have passed the sign over 100 times in my travels, and yet I have never been. I know it will surprise you to know I like rocks and science spots, just never been. I need to make the time.
The Columbia River Gorge has a number of trails with huge waterfalls and spectacular views. I’ve been close to it, but never gotten there.
The Elwha River has recently had two giant dams removed, allowing it to be a free-flowing river again, I’ve been told that nature reclaiming what was once its own is well worth seeing.
Orca Whale watching. OK, I live with spittin distance of Puget Sound, and have for most of my life, but I have never once seen a killer whale outside an aquarium. We have whale watching boats going out every day and a pod that lives in Puget Sound…. Really? Get on the stick pal!
I am sure every state has this thing happen (except maybe Rhode Island, WAY too small). Our daily lives, kids, chores and responsibilities keep us from having all the fun you might want to have. But if you can plan, you can get to as many as possible! I speak from experience, Staycations can be a blast!
I think I need to make a list and get them scheduled. But people! If you are in WA. Rainier is a MUST SEE. You will not be disappointed!