Washington engages the senses — all of them.
Feel the ice tickle your eyelashes through the flurries of the Northern Cascades, or the sweat trickle down your back under the hot sun in the high desert of Eastern Washington.
Experience the joy of seeing Mount Rainier rise over Lake Washington on a brilliant summer day, or watching raindrops break the foam of a perfect cappuccino when the drizzle sets in.
Or try tasting Washington — the sweetness of wild blueberries in August, the smoky richness of freshly caught and grilled salmon, the robust complexities of a Columbia River cabernet sauvignon — they’re all here waiting to be experienced.
Tromp through rain forests, raft on rivers, and clamber up rocky outcroppings long enough and you’ll be won over by the natural charms of the state. During Washington’s long summer days, an after-work hike is de rigeur for the locals, with a striking and well-maintained trail never far away. Turquoise-colored alpine lakes beckon fly-fishing anglers in their peaceful art. Miles of bike-friendly roads and trails await those of the two-wheeled persuasion, while horse lovers can take their four-footed companions far from the maddening crowds.
But these aren’t the state’s only draws — Washington is also a hub of art and culture, engineering and history. The region is home to historic lighthouses, impressive skyscrapers, and great works of art, such as the outdoor designs at the Seattle Olympic Sculpture Park. You’re likely to be equally impressed by the dizzying heights of Seattle’s Columbia Center tower and Mount Rainier.
The Evergreen State isn’t just a destination for the body and mind, but for the soul, too. If you don’t try too hard, the secret Zen of this place just might open up to you. It might come standing atop mountain peaks hewn over thousands of years, under trees that took root before the birth of Columbus, or maybe amid the rolling solitude of golden wheat fields planted last spring. Wherever you are, be ready for it. Washington has a way of rewarding those who come ready to embrace it.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition