An Outdoor Enthusiast’s Playground – The Pacific Northwest.

Photograph by Edmund Lowe, Alamy

Photograph by Edmund Lowe, Alamy

As my last post pointed out, Seattle is a gem of a city. It’s physical beauty is apparent, but it’s not just for gazing and appreciating…  The Seattle landscape is part of a great playground of a region called the PACIFIC NORTHWEST (PNW for short). It’s beauty and allure is bewitching so I’d like to take a few moments to describe just what the PNW culture is all about (specifically as it pertains to the Seattle area).

What is the PNW all about? What’s so special about it?

Answer: The mild climate and a diverse geographic landscape allows for people to enjoy outdoor activities and spectacular views of all sorts. It seems a rare treat that locals enjoy the opportunity to drive only an hour or so to reach the nearest summit for snow sports. The distance is even shorter to reach dozen’s of hiking trails. If you’re a rock climber like myself, you have oodles of cliffs and crags to choose from that can be enjoyed within a day trip.

Our mild climate in Seattle typically stays between 40° and 85° Fahrenheit year round except for a handful of chillier days in the winter and a handful of scorching days in the late summer. The past few winters have been kind to us and stayed closer to the mid to upper 40’s with minimal snow in the Western Washington area. Then of course there’s the rain… Yes, it can dampen your mood after several straight days of grey skies and sopping socks and sidewalks, but you learn to deal, seriously. Make the best of it with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate by the fire. Plus, we owe our homage to the rain for providing us with such lush green surroundings. Buy some rain-boots and a water-resistant jacket with a hood and you’re set! Us PNWers typically prefer shopping at REI 😉

Basalt columns in Vantage, WA. Great rock climbing!

Basalt columns in Vantage, WA. Great rock climbing!

Mt. Hood - Oregon

Mt. Hood – Oregon

What if I hate hiking and outdoor sports? Is there any additional appeal to the PNW?

Answer: Absolutely! You can enjoy the scenery and cityscape by visiting the observation deck at the Space Needle or ascending the tallest building in Seattle, the Columbia Tower (former bank of America building). If you’d prefer a free option, visit Kerry Park or Gas Works Park for a photo opt. For ways to experience Seattle like a local, see my last blog “Experience Seattle like a Local” for my recommendations.

My Summary

The PNW is a unique and beautiful place that is comprised of rolling mountain ranges, temperate rain forests with some of the largest trees in the world, beachfront suburbs, large lakes, and a bustling bay.  The east side of the Cascade Mountains offers a beautifully contrasting arid zone with dry hot summers. All of this can be found within the State of Washington while Oregon, Alaska, and Idaho add even more variety to the PNW! Such a diverse region provides for endless possibilities for activities. There’s something for everyone.

The most popular activities include: Hiking, Cycling, skiing/snowboarding, snowshoeing,  mountaineering, rock climbing, ice climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, water skiing, wake-boarding, stand-up paddle boarding, beach volleyball and camping. Did I forget anything?

If you are considering visiting soon, I hope this has provided some insight to what makes up the culture of the PNW. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment with questions or feedback 🙂

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2 comments on “An Outdoor Enthusiast’s Playground – The Pacific Northwest.

  1. Forrest says:

    It’s pretty great to be able to spend a weekend camping on a glacier, or a day climbing granite in the Icicle, then come home to a great Indian dinner and watch the sun set over the tide water.

    • elstadl says:

      Absolutely! Then you can wake up the next day and do some kayaking or stand up paddle boarding on Lake Union, Greenlake, or on the Bay. I’ve lived here almost all my life and am still trying new activities every season. It’s great! – Lindsey

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