Winter is here. Local winters in past years.

Living in the Pacific Northwest (AKA Pacific North-Wet), means mostly rain and not much snow.  However, the Cascade and Olympic Mountains are within a 2-hour drive from most places.  Here are some pictures of the area where I live, from previous years.junco-sparrow

My own back yard bird feeder, with a junco and song sparrow.

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This is the parking lot where I work.  January of 2011, where the snow started around 7PM the previous night, but people were distracted much of the day, admiring the snow-covered trees.

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The ski area at Stevens Pass, along Highway 2 in the Cascade Mountains, about an hour from our house.

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Snow “sculpture” in my back yard.

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Downtown Leavenworth in winter, looking west down Front Street

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This has got to be my favorite winter bird picture. He’s a Townsend’s Warbler, and he comes back every year, even when it doesn’t snow, like here in 2012.  He looks like a little bandit, with his black mask.

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Bryce Canyon, from Rainbow Point

This one’s a ringer!  That picture of Bryce was taken in October, and certainly not local!

Anyway, here’s to Winter, bringer of Cold, but Beautiful!

Take a Guided Tour, Through my Beautiful Pacific Northwest

I think I live in the most beautiful part of the USA, the Pacific Northwest.  Within one or two hours’ drive, you can be at the ocean, the lake, the mountains, or the desert.  Let’s start right close to my home, in Everett, Washington, just north of Seattle.

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This is Silver Lake, about a half-mile south of my house.  You can rent a little sailboat at Silver Lake Park in the summer, or have a drink on the deck at Emory’s Restaurant.

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Just a bit farther north, you can walk in the tulip fields of the Skagit Valley in April.

Mount Baker, seen from San Juan Ferry
Mount Baker, seen from San Juan Ferry, Puget Sound, WA

You can take a Washington State Ferry through the San Juan Islands at the northwest corner of the state.

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Liberty Bell Mountain

Turning east, you can drive over the North Cascades Highway, and see Liberty Bell Mountain.

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Or you can go east over the Cascades to Yakima, and drive down the shrub-steppe terrain along the winding Yakima River.

And if you’re a city kid, you can spend a pleasant afternoon at the Seattle Japanese Garden.

Seattle Japanese Garden with Pagoda
Seattle Japanese Garden with Pagoda

I hope you’ve enjoyed your tour of my beautiful Pacific Northwest.   Come visit sometime.

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Photo Challenge…Earth

I admit it.  I’m a Pacific Northwest Chauvinist.  I believe that I live in one of the most beautiful places in the USA.  We are never more than 2 hours from the ocean, or the mountains, here in Western Washington.  Here are some of my favorite, beautiful, places in my corner of the Earth.

 

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Mount Rainier, and Puget Sound
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Liberty Bell Mountain, in the North Cascades
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Winding Road-Eastern Washington State

It’s a ringer!  I have always loved the shrub-steppe terrain just east of the Cascades, along the Columbia River.  This kind of landscape was carved by receding glaciers, around 10,000 years ago.  All of Washington State was buried under hundreds of feet of ice!

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Tulip Fields near Mount Vernon, WA

Deception Falls, looking downstream

Above is Deception Falls, which runs under US Highway 2, west of Stevens Pass in the Cascade Mountains.

Earth Day is a big fat hoax.  Human beings are NOT “destroying” the planet.  Human beings are not a blot on the environment; they were put here by God to be Earth’s stewards and its masters.  Instead of feeling guilty about having been born, celebrate “Earth Day” tomorrow by getting outdoors.  Take a walk or a ride through the streets or fields of your town, and thank God that we live on such a beautiful, bountiful planet.

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My Beautiful Pacific Northwest

I was born and raised in Seattle.  I have lived all but 2-1/2 years in the Seattle area.  We have the world’s best climate.  Temperate with a Capital T.  No scorching hot summers or frigid winters.  The Seattle area has the highest concentration of dentists in the US.  Why? The University of Washington has a world-class dental school, which attracts students from all over the world.  And when they are done with their schooling, they don’t want to leave the Pacific Northwest, so they set up shop here.  Within a square mile of my house, there must be 50 dentists’ offices.

The Pacific Northwest has such a variety of terrain, there is something for just about anyone.  There are three National Parks within a two-hour drive of anywhere (Olympic, Mount Rainier, North Cascades), and dozens of state parks.  The Cascade and Olympic Mountains offer skiing and other winter sports.  Puget Sound and Lakes Washington and Sammamish offer room for boating, water-skiing, and whatever else you do on the water.  There are lakes in Eastern Washington, too, famous for fishing (Lake Wenatchee, Pearrygin Lake).  Our rivers offer fly-fishing and river-rafting opportunities for much of the year.

Due to the mild climate, we don’t have much in the way of dangerous wildlife.  No poisonous snakes, no killer bees.  There is an abundance of bird life, and bald eagle sightings are frequent.  The Audubon Society has many active chapters all over the Pacific Northwest.  We have excellent wildlife sanctuaries where you can observe the birds and animals.

Herewith, a taste of my Beautiful Pacific Northwest.

From the Mountains

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Cascade Mountains, WA

 

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Mount Rainier
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North Cascades
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Liberty Bell Mountain
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North Cascades
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Olympic Mountains across Puget Sound

To the Prairies:

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Winding Road-Eastern Washington State
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Dust devil, wheat field in Eastern Washington

To the Rivers:

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Yakima River
Wenatchee River
Wenatchee River, west of Leavenworth, WA, looking East
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Skagit River near Marblemount
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Deschutes River, Tumwater Falls Park
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The Mighty Columbia behind Grand Coulee Dam

To the Oceans:

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Meadowdale Beach Park, on Puget Sound
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Strait of Juan de Fuca-Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
Deception Pass, looking East of Deception Pass Bridge
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San Juan Islands

And…My Own Back Yard

Backyard May, 2013
Backyard, May 11, 2013, with rhododendron in full bloom

Welcome to my Beautiful Pacific Northwest