Much of my free time recently has been spent following the NFL draft. Being a Cowboys fan we didn't have much to look forward to this year, with a pretty late first round pick and couple picks in the later rounds, but we still managed to pick up a good wide receiver with plenty of attitude and off-field problems (including a current suspension from NCAA football) who should feel right at home in Dallas. This bit of "haven't I seen this before" got my reminiscing about life before moving to France, so I wanted to post a few of my favorite pics from the home country.
Somewhere near Forks, Washington looking out over the Pacific Ocean. The Washington coast is not very developed, and much of it is National Park, so you get a lot of trees, rocks, and driftwood, and not many people or buildings. Some spots, like this one, have some really cool rock formations and small islands just off the coast and right behind us is one of the only temperate rain forests in North America--The Hoh Rainforest--which averages about 14 feet of rain every year (400 centimeters).
Seattle is not right on the ocean, but rather on a large bay called Puget Sound, which is separated from the rest of the Pacific by the Olympic mountain range that juts out of the water to the West of Seattle and forms a peninsula about the size of Ireland. The forests out on this peninsula are pretty amazing. The abundant rainfall keeps the plant life very green and very thick, and the low population in comparison to the land area keeps them very tranquil. I usually consider myself a city person, but hiking thru these forests, I often wonder why.
The climate around Seattle is also ideal for growing tulips, and the skagit valley area north of Seattle exhibits this every April. Every spring we seemed to have more and more tulips in our yard in Seattle, and I don't remember ever planting one.
The abundant rainfall of the pacific northwest isn't limited to Washington state, Oregon gets a fair amount of the wet stuff too. The border between Oregon and Washington is mostly formed by the path of the Columbia river as it makes its way to the ocean, and along this gorge you can find some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. Multnomah Falls above is one of the more popular ones.
The beaches of this part of the country are also pretty cool. The water is usually too cold for us humans to enjoy without proper mental and physical protection, but for some reason marine mammals love it. Seals and orca whales are probably the most common water mammals, but sea lions and otters are fairly common too. I'm pretty sure I got this picture on one of the San Juan islands.
California has a few cool things to look at too, and probably the most amazing site in the world is the incredible giganticness of the California Redwood trees. I have a giant dog, and that fallen tree makes him look like a chihuahua.
Washington has some big trees too.
Surfing is another thing I miss from living on the coast. I never did as much surfing as I would have liked to, but I got out a few times, and I often dream of warm water and big waves. The west coast of France has a pretty big surfing scene, so I will have to make a trip out toward Biarritz sometime this summer.
And of course, the thing I miss the most from living in Seattle is my dog Tosh :-(
For more random picks from mostly around the pacific northwest, click here.