Washington - Orlando / Florida Guide
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If you say Washington most people outside of the U. S. automatically think of the capital. However those two letters, DC, and a matter of 3000 miles brings you to the other one, Washington State.
At this point asked about the state, most people can come up with few facts and even fewer have any idea of the state capital, which is Olympia. When pushed the three facts that general emerge are that it’s the home of Boeing, Microsoft has its Headquarters there and Seattle was the starting point for Starbucks. In fact, given the current climate, I probably have those in reverse order.
If you look beyond the main hubs then the state has a number of excellent National Parks.
National Park Service’s has just recently celebrated its centenary and has been opening up some new trails in all the parks. So why not start by taking a walk on the wild side in Washington exploring the great American wilderness at its best.
The wild vistas of Washington State on the Northwest Pacific coast are some of the USA’s most diverse, as anyone who’s set foot in either Mount Rainier or Olympic National Park can attest. You come across giant glaciers, swathes of lush forest and wind-sculpted peaks. Both parks can be easily reached from Seattle, whose mix of quirky neighbourhoods and pretty suburbs are worth exploring in their own right. Its landmarks include the futuristic Space Needle, century-old Pike Place Market and the Seattle Aquarium. Something different in the area is some innovative glass art which is displayed at Chihuly Garden & Glass
The wilderness dominates Washington and even Seattle’s iconic Space Needle at 104 metres is dwarfed by volcanic Mount Rainier at 4, 392 metres. As I have already said both Rainier and Olympic NP are only two and half hours away, so the wild is an easy drive away.
South-east of Seattle, the landscape morphs from urban chic to a mass of greenery. Here Mount Rainier NP’s ancient forests, subalpine meadows and glacial peaks take over. Tackle its 418km of walking trails to gaze at the glacial ice of the park’s namesake and circle the 150km Wonderland Trail. Then take a break to gaze across the Tatoosh mountain range, tracing its serrated peaks to the horizon.
If you travel to Seattle’s west, Olympic NP is a backcountry gem. You cannot miss herds of endemic Roosevelt elk, black-tailed deer and black bears among the trees of old growth rainforest. Although the bears will be the hardest to find. You can follow the winding trails around its two beautiful glacier-fed lakes of Crescent and Quinault. Then if you have the stamina you can track the glaciers up the shoulder of Mount Olympus, gazing down on endless valleys and forested ridges.
So what’s the best way to end the day, well a glass of wine from one of Washington’s 900 acclaimed wineries, and perhaps a soaking in the hot mineral pools of Sol Duc Springs. I’ll leave the choice of wine to you but that could be a whole lot more articles with plenty of in-depth research.
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