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Archive for washington state

The Pacific Crest Trail

By Linda Tancs

One of the original national scenic trails established by Congress in the 1968 National Trails System Act, the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail generally runs along the high crests of the Sierra and Cascades mountain ranges. Beginning in southern California at the Mexican border, the trail marks a total distance of 2,650 miles through California (passing through five state parks), Oregon, and Washington until reaching the Canadian border. The trail is open to the public from April to September for foot and equestrian travel only. About 200 people attempt to hike the length of the trail each season, generally starting at the Mexican border and ending at the Canadian border. Only a few equestrians have ever ridden the entire trail.

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Rainbows in the Valley

By Linda Tancs

Washington State’s Skagit Valley is prized for its mountain and river views, but at this special time of year it’s the rainbow-colored pastures brimming with tulips that draw crowds from every state and almost 100 countries. The perennial, bulbous plant is celebrated month-long in April at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. You will need a map of the tulip field area to help you navigate as the fields’ locations change every year due to crop rotation. Designed as a driving tour, the tulips are generally grown in a 15-mile triangle bordered by Highway 20, the Skagit River and the Swinomish Channel.

Art Under Glass

By Linda Tancs

Chihuly Garden and Glass is a sculptural oasis in Seattle, Washington. Its centerpiece is the Glasshouse, a 40-foot-tall, glass and steel conservatory hosting a 100-foot-long suspended floral sculpture in eye-popping hues of red, orange, yellow and amber. You can learn more about the artist, Dale Chihuly, at the eight galleries and three drawing walls that offer a comprehensive collection of his work. Outdoors, the lush landscape is equally matched by floral installations. The facility is located next to the Space Needle (spectacularly visible inside the Glasshouse) at Seattle Center.

 

Dayton’s Historic Depot

By Linda Tancs

The Dayton Depot is the oldest surviving train depot in Washington State. Originally built in 1881, it was moved to its current location at Commercial Street in 1889. Designed in the fashionable Stick/Eastlake style, it still boasts original bead board walls typical of that era. Now a museum, revolving exhibits are featured in the upstairs gallery.

King of the Nutcrackers

By Linda Tancs

Boasting one of the world’s largest nutcracker collections, the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum in Washington State touts the evolution of the nutcracker. Such a collection would hardly be complete without the hundreds of traditional toy soldiers with gaping mouths that make their appearance in homes at Christmas time. But you’ll also find over 6,000 nutcrackers—representing the work of over 50 countries—carved from wood, metal, ivory, porcelain and other materials. Their designs, both simplistic and artistic, run the gamut from serious to whimsical, ecclesiastical to risqué and menacing to cute. Visitors from over 75 countries have been greeted by Karl, a 6-foot-tall Bavarian nutcracker carved in Oberammergau.

Under the Blanket of Snow

By Linda Tancs

Hurricane Ridge is the most easily accessed mountain area within Olympic National Park in Washington State. Blanketed with over 10 feet of snow for most of the winter, snow enthusiasts enjoy the winter scenery, along with snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and sledding. The snow moles, on the other hand, enjoy their privacy. Endemic to the park, Olympic snow moles are scurrying beneath this blanket of snow, which provides them with ample water for the short summer season ahead.

Wine Doggies of Yakima

By Linda Tancs

A bung is the plug that goes into a wine barrel. Not surprisingly, dogs enjoy chasing and chewing on them. That’s how Bung, a working wine dog at Bonair Winery in central Washington’s Yakima Valley, got his name. He’s one of many working dogs in the fertile valley’s vineyards, helping his owner retrieve errant bungs as the vintner checks the prized contents of the barrels for quality. Winery dogs take on many roles, like greeter, floor sweeper and fetcher-in-chief. Dogs are such an integral part of life in the wine valley that many of the wineries as well as lodging and dining establishments are pet friendly. Fido will have lots of company.

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