An Afternoon on the Water: Kayaking in Anacortes

We could not have picked a better time to visit Anacortes a couple of weeks ago. As our previous post stated, there was so much to do and see on the excellent Fidalgo Island. From magnificent rooftop sunsets to spending time at various parks, to walking the town on a warm, calm evening and admiring the art throughout, there was no shortage of things to do. Being right on the water also means there are plenty of water activities which take place off the island. One such activity was Kayaking.

A Weekend on Whidbey Island

As part-time wanderers, we often find ourselves looking for last minute plans for the weekend. This past weekend was no exception; no decided upon plans until Thursday when we found The Kite Festival scheduled for Saturday and Sunday on Whidbey Island. As it happened, we had not visited 4 of the five state parks on the island, so Whidbey became our weekend destination.

An Adventure on Wheels: 2017's Ride the Willapa

The second annual Ride the Willapa took place over the weekend of June 24. The event stretches 22 miles along the Willapa Hills State Park Trail, which starts in Chehalis, mostly follows along the Chehalis River and Washington State Route 6 through farmland, a countryside valley, past Rainbow Falls State Park, and all the way to the town of Pe Ell, then back again for a total of 44 miles. The two-day event is a go-at-your-own-pace ride rather than a race. This ride was a great opportunity for beginners, families, and pros. Along the route was Tour de Farms, first aid and water stations, and the chance to camp out at either Rainbow Falls or Pe Ell High School before making the trip home the next morning. Though we rode this trail during an event, it is open all year round and we recommend checking it out.

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area: Our Recommendations for Places to See

The river canyon known as the Columbia River Gorge on the Washington/Oregon border is one of only nine National Scenic Areas within the United States. Stretching from Portland and Vancouver in the west, all the way to Wasco and Klickitat counties in the east is the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Passed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, this became the second scenic area of its kind. The 292,500-acres of land contain a wealth of history, gorgeous landscapes, and interesting places to see and explore. This is one road trip you do not want to miss!

Camping at Saltwater State Park

Saltwater State Park is a park that is easy to access. Close to city and highway, it is an oasis in the midst of urbanity. Trails wind through lush patches of forest, creeks, streams, beachfront, views of the Olympic Mountains, interpretive paths, and camping is just a handful of the possibilities here. As an adult, the noise of air and ground traffic can be a significant annoyance, but as a child....... As a child, you are surrounded by wonder and adventure. 

A Review of Asher SS and Kenzo Short by Ecoths

Ecoths is a brand of men's clothing which blends urban fashions with a rugged outdoor look. They produce a variety of T-shirts, buttoned shirts, 3/4 zips, polos, and shorts. With each garment sold, they donate three meals to a food bank via their Good Sam program. Ecoths, pronounced as "Ecos," is the blend of the words "Eco" and "Ethos." Their slogan, "Urban rugged styling for the uncommon man," does an excellent job of summing up the look and feel of their clothing.

Breaking In Our New Bikes On Carbon River Road In Mount Rainier National Park

In the northwest corner of Mt. Rainier National Park is the Carbon River Road. It runs a little over five miles from the park's entrance, paralleling the Carbon River, to Ipsut Creek Campground. It is a popular destination for bikers since it is one of the few areas that bikes are allowed inside the park. The road is mostly clear of obstacles, vehicular traffic is prohibited, and it maintains a 2 percent grade throughout, which made it a perfect spot to break in our new trail bikes.

A Trip Through History at Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park

The Ginkgo Petrified Forest is an intriguing, one of a kind forest. "Why", you ask? There is no visible forest as far as the eye can see. No trees are reaching to the blue sky. No shade is covering the sage-filled land. Moreover, the only natural water is the nearby mighty Columbia River. The forest is mostly beneath this desertscape, in petrified form. However, there are some million-year-old gems which have made their way to the surface. Petrified Ginkgo is just one of the many types of trees you will discover here. These, along with the ancient petroglyphs, make this a trip worth taking.

The Ten Essentials

The Ten Essentials was first published in 1974 by the Seattle-based club The Mountaineers in the third edition of their book Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills. Since then, many hiking, climbing, backpacking, scouting, and more like-minded organizations recommend that all outdoor enthusiasts carry these items. In 2008, the 8th edition of the book was updated to take a "systems" approach to this list by grouping items together.

A Hike and A Treasure Hunt On Glass Beach

Port Townsend boasts a multitude of interesting places to visit, stay and explore. Not our first trip to Port Townsend, but it was our first hike to Glass Beach. The beachfront below McCurdy Point Road is the stretch of sand known as Glass Beach. Glass Beach has gained this moniker, as it is a treasure trove of what we combers call sea glass. Sea glass is a polite term for discarded bottles, glass, and various pottery broken to bits, tumbled and polished by the to and fro of sand and wave. This narrow, rocky beach lies between the waters of the Strait of Juan De Fuca and a cliff of some 100 feet high.

The Golden Hour at the Pacific Northwest's Magnificent Cape Flattery

A short hike through the woods of the Makah Reservation brought us to one of the furthest reaching points in the country. Cape Flattery Trail consists of boardwalks, educational signage, and short spur trails leading to cliff views. At the end of the trail, we were greeted with an observation deck which provided spectacular scenes of the Pacific Ocean, Tatoosh Island and its lighthouse, and the rocky shores directly below. Though the drive is long for most, Cape Flattery is a beautiful Pacific Northwest gem that everyone should visit at least once.

A Weekend on the Olympic Coast of the Pacific Northwest

We recently spent an extended weekend on Washington's Olympic Coast. Before heading out, we searched for overnight accommodations. After reading many of the positive reviews, 52 of them averaging out to 4.7 of 5 stars, we decided that the Miller Tree Inn Bed and Breakfast was going to be our home away from home for the next couple nights. The scenic coastline and forests of Forks and La Push certainly demanded more than one day of our attention!

Hiking Bullitt Gorge Trail in Squak Mountain State Park

This 1,545-acre state park provides 13 miles of hiking trails and 6 miles of equestrian trails. All sides of the park contain winding trails which eventually meet up with others and lead to the 2,000' summit. The Bullitt family donated 590-acres of land to the state, with other parcels acquired over the years, and the park was opened in 1972. The old Bullitt fireplace near the top of the mountain is a popular destination and is all that remains of the old homestead.

Fort Worden Historical State Park

Constructed between 1898 and 1917, Fort Worden was one of three posts collectively known as “The Triangle of Fire”. This triangle was strategically located to protect the Puget Sound and its surrounding cities from attacks by sea. The post never saw action and the state purchased the property in 1955 to turn it into Fort Worden Historical State Park. Hiking trails, historic lodging, a lighthouse, old batteries, and even a castle all make up the interesting parts of this 433-acre park. The location was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

A Short Hike Through Schafer State Park

Those who settled this land were John and Anna Schafer in 1872. Their sons created the Schafer Bros. Logging Company, which was once the largest in the Pacific Northwest. In 1924 the sons donated this site, which was home to Schafer family picnics, to the state of Washington. They continued to use the park for their company picnics up until the 1940s. In 2010, due to the amount of historic structures inside the park, it was added to the Washington Heritage Register and National Register of Historic Places.

Saltwater State Park

Saltwater State Park is located halfway between Seattle and Tacoma, in the city of Des Moines, Washington. When the park was dedicated in 1926 the two cities symbolically buried a hatchet within the park to end bad feelings between them. The majority of the park was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC). Throughout the park there are signs describing the CCC's work. Though air traffic from nearby SeaTac Airport is pretty constant, this remains one of the most popular parks within the Puget Sound region.