Destination: Pacific Northwest
Jun 7 2015

Introduction

Since moving to Washington I've focused on my career and all things related to France, but I've been neglecting the majestic wonders right outside my window! This article will document my ongoing adventures in the Pacific Northwest as I make up for lost time.

August 16, 2015: Bainbridge Island

It only took me nine years but I finally took the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. It was a wonderful day featuring a Paris-themed crêperie, some of the best ice cream in the country (Mora Iced Creamery), and of course, the ducks at the Bloedel Reserve.

July 17, 2015: Seaside, OR and Cannon Beach, OR

It was time for a weekend adventure in Oregon, and ohhhhh what a trip it was!

The first part was rolling into Seaside on Friday afternoon and settling in next to the beach. The first thing that jumped out: the HUGE stretches of open sand. Tons of room to spread out.

The town itself had a vibe that was simultaneously bizarre and entertaining. It seemed as if this sleepy, saltwater taffy-obsessed town had been frozen in time, disconnected from the rest of the world yet fueled by a steady stream of tourists.

By Sunday I'd actually grown quite attached to the strangely charming Seaside. Even the "adventure gnome" seemed a little reluctant to wave goodbye.

Part 2 was Haystack Rock, about 15 minutes south at Cannon Beach. It was cloudy, windy, and a bit chilly, but it didn't dampen the spirits one bit. After snapping some photos in the refreshing ocean breeze, it was time to enjoy some crêpes in downtown Cannon Beach.

Another amazing PNW adventure is now officially in the books, and there are many more to come.

June 13, 2015: Heather Lake Trail (Granite Falls, WA)

It was a beautiful day for a 4.6-mile hike to Heather Lake, which is nestled in the North Cascades next to Mount Pilchuck.

The WTA suggests the trail is ideal for acclimating children to hiking, but I'm not sure I agree. The terrain is quite tricky in some places with a healthy dose of jagged rocks and gnarled roots. That said, the atmosphere is quite peaceful and the lake is gorgeous, a payoff that is pretty hard to beat.

I was joined by an energetic Wisconsin native and her adorable Fromosan Mountain Dog, making this hike particularly enjoyable. I'm already addicted to the outdoors, but it seems that when you add great conversation and a feisty puppy into the mix, it's exponentially more fun!

June 7, 2015: Discovery Park (Seattle, WA)

On a whim I decided to spend my Sunday morning at Discovery Park, which sits at the western end of Seattle along the Puget Sound.

This park is simply stunning! I hiked for roughly 1.5 miles on the Loop Trail before taking a detour along South Beach. Mount Rainier was looming in the distance:

After a short walk up the beach I found the West Point lighthouse:

A short video clip of the panoramic view along South Beach:

I returned to the trails and meandered up to the bluffs for more awe-inspiring views of the Puget Sound. See photos on the right.

June 5, 2015: Saint Edward State Park (Kenmore, WA)

Saint Edward State Park is a gem of a park tucked away at the northeast corner of Lake Washington.

This park has a little of everything: easy hiking trails, park benches, a huge playground, access to the lake. Once you're on a trail tucked away in the woods, it's hard to believe you're just a mile or two away from suffocating traffic!

June 4, 2015: Oyster Dome Trail (Bow, WA)

A friend joined me for a hike at Oyster Dome, a 6.5-mile trail roughly 75 miles north of Seattle. Here's the view from a bench that's situated along the trail:

The trail is a lot of fun despite the lack of public facilities and a few steep uphill climbs in some places. The view really can't be beat. Here's a short video clip from the summit:

Note: this map includes the islands one can see from the summit, including a few from Canada.

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