Posts in Exploring
The Mysterious Mima Mounds National Natural Landmark

There are 599 designated National Natural Landmarks (NNL) in the U.S. and its territories, which are administered by the National Park Service. Washington state is home to 18 of these wonders, and Mima Mounds NNL is one of them. The area provides short, level, unshaded hiking trails which run through this field of small, rounded hills, giving visitors a close-up look and opportunity to imagine how they were formed. Similar mima mounds can be found in other parts of the U.S.; however, they are all named after the Mima Prairie in Washington, which is located southeast of the Capital State Forest.

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Visiting Fields Spring State Park

If you are looking for a getaway, may we suggest the southeast corner of Washington? Here you will find Fields Spring State Park, an 825-acre park located in Washington’s northern portion of the Blue Mountains. The park lies within forested land and atop a natural spring, from which its name derives. Features of this park include camping opportunities, hiking trails, and scenic views from Puffer Butte. We stayed two nights in Tamarack cabin and loved every moment.

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Skamania Lodge Has a New Aerial Park!

Midweek we took a trip to Stevenson to check out the new aerial park at Skamania Lodge. The Lodge’s zip line activities are well known in the area, and this new addition puts Skamania on a whole new level (literally, a higher level, up in the trees). It was pouring rain most of our 3+ hour drive over to Stevenson. It had already been a long day when we arrived at the lodge around 8 pm, and we were looking forward to a good rest. We quickly unpacked the Jeep and checked in.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Eocene Period Fossils at Racehorse Creek Landslide

About a month ago we set out in search of fossils at Racehorse Creek Landslide in the Mount Baker foothills area. Although we were on the wrong path, and didn't make it to the actual landslide location, we still managed to find a pile of recently fallen rock with some good leaf fossils scattered about it. We'll make our way to the landslide one day, but for now we'd like to share a little info about this area and what we found.

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Fort Columbia Historical State Park

One of many coastal defense sites in the United States is situated at the Columbia River estuary in Chinook, Washington. It is well intact with 12 historical fort buildings, including the officer's house, artillery batteries, and two coastal artillery guns. The site is one of the many associated to the Lewis and Clark National and State-Historical Parks in Washington and Oregon. Construction of the 643 acre original fort lasted between 1896 and 1903, with additional construction during World War II. The fort was fully manned and operational for approximately 18 years before being transferred to the state in 1950. Today the park provides three miles of trails, a museum, wildlife viewing opportunities, and two historic vacation houses for overnight stays.

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Snoqualmie Tunnel

The Snoqualmie Tunnel is a 2.3 mile abandoned train tunnel which was built from 1912 - 1914 by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (Milwaukee Road) for part of the Chicago to Seattle line. The last train to pass through the tunnel was on March 15, 1980. After that, Washington State acquired the right-of-way for recreational use. Now part of the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail rails-to-trails project, this tunnel provides no light, is roughly 20 degrees cooler than the outside, and leaks water throughout. Sounds like a great place for a first date!

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Bridges of the Pacific Northwest

Do you like heights? What about bridges? Does the thought of the tallest bridges in the state of Washington get you excited? If your answer is yes to any of those questions, read on. If your answer is no to all questions, still, read on, only so you know where not to go! Hoffstadt Creek Bridge, High Steel Bridge, and Vance Creek Bridge are the three tallest in the state. They each provide thrilling views, impressive feats of engineering, and terrifying photo opportunities. The hype is real, jump for joy, just don’t fall!

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