1YoT: Driving Through Washington

Looking ahead, the east-west portion of our trip will involve driving the entire length of I-90, from Seattle to the east coast. To do that, we had to end our west coast portion in Seattle. Therefore, our first Washington experience involved driving straight through to Vancouver, before returning to Seattle and then heading east. This post is about our drive through, for Vancouver and Seattle go here.

This post picks up where our Oregon post left off, crossing the Bridge of the Gods to the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge.

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Our drive along the Lewis and Clark Highway, just north of the Columbia Gorge in southern Washington.

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We stopped at this secluded beach, which had gorgeous views of Mt. Hood and the Gorge.

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The water in the Gorge was some of the warmest and cleanest I’ve ever swam in. It was incredible.

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Leia loved the beach even more than we did, sprinting through the sand and up and down the shore. She slept really well that night.

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After the Gorge, we headed north, through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and to our campsite near Mt. Rainier. We saw this view of Mt. Saint Helens on the way.

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We camped just past Packwood, and as we drove through, a pack of elk walked through the city. Talk about an awesome way to start the Mt. Rainier portion of our trip.

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Our campsite. And Leia is out.

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At 14416 feet, Mt. Rainier is the the tallest mountain in the Cascade Range and the second tallest and most prominent mountain in the continental US. Mt. Rainier is so tall, it receives as much snowfall as all the other Cascade mountains combined. Mt. Rainier also has 26(!) glaciers on its sides, and these last two aspects more than any others make Mt. Rainier a spectacular sight.

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The trailhead to the Paradise loop trail, a strenuous rated but accessible to everyone hike that cuts across some of Rainier’s lower elevation glaciers. This is the most fun hike I’ve ever done.

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Mt Rainier has massive trees just like Sequoia and Redwoods. No matter how often we see these, we never get tired of them.

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A creek that cuts through Mt. Rainier National Park. This picture was taken from a bridge above the creek, and it provided an amazing view of the steep narrow canyon the creek now runs through.

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This building, originally a visitor’s center, is one of the oldest buildings in Mt. Rainier National Park. It is also considered one of if not the most beautiful buildings in the entire national park system. It currently serves as a ranger station.

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For our last Mt. Rainier picture, I’ll post what I think is the most beautiful picture we’ve taken on this entire trip.

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We took super-backroads (national forest roads) back to our campsite because they cut through huckleberry fields and we wanted to do some berry picking. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it. Damn national forest roads.

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We left Mt Rainier through the White Pass Scenic Byway because it went through bighorn sheep country and we were hoping to see bighorn sheep. We didn’t see any, but we were treated to some beautiful scenery.

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From White Pass we headed through Seattle to Everett, where we dined at Diamond Knot Brewery, one of my favorite restaurant/breweries in the Puget Sound region. The food, served raw on a hot plate, was even better than I remembered, but for some reason the beer wasn’t as good.

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Diamond Knot Brewery is in Mulkilteo, near where I used to work. Because of this, two of my old work buddies were able to join us for lunch!

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If the above weren’t enough reasons to visit, Mukilteo is also one of the most beautiful spots on the entire Puget Sound.

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Also, Mukilteo has a beach!

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Alright, enough Mukilteo, now it’s off to Canada, which means it’s time for our next post!

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