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Showing posts with label Best Of Washington. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Best Of Washington. Show all posts

Autumn In Leavenworth, Wa

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The City of Leavenworth is one of the greatest tourist destinations in our state. The "Bavarian Village" is perhaps best known for its incredible year-round schedule of outdoor activities and events. No wonder that this town has been chosen by National Geographic as being one of the "50 Next Best Places" to live & play.

Hiking/Backpacking The Enchantments, WA :Take A Vertial Tour

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The Enchantments area of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness includes craggy peaks and ridges, deep glacial valleys, granite walls and forests that are picture perfect and ready to enchant visitors — especially in autumn.

Trips into the Enchantment Wilderness Area can range from overnight to multiple days. Due to the overwhelming popularity of this unique area, all overnight campers must obtain a permit if visiting from June 15 through October 15.

Best Place In Washington To Try Hot Air Ballooning

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In 2010 I put "Fly In A Hot Air Balloon" on my Bucket List.

Since I was a kid, I've been dreaming about floating above Mother Earth with an inexplicable feeling of freedom that an open basket provides. Years later, after having tried skydiving, parasailing, paragliding, and flying a small aircraft, I still hope a hot air balloon flight will be a different and, in its own way, unique experience.

Two years ago when I was searching for information on balloon flights, I came across the Winthrop Balloon Roundup, an annual festival that takes place every March in Winthrop, WA

Being A Tourist In Seattle : Seattle Underground Tour.

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Seattle has tons of famous, unique, and quirky things to see : Space Needle and EMP Museum, Boeing plant and Amazon headquarters, "Sleepless in Seattle" houseboat and Bill Gates mansion, Statue of Lenin and the Fremont Troll, Pike Place Market and Gum Wall,  Bruce Lee and Jimmy Hendrix graves, and etc.

But one attraction plays a very important role in the history, and tourism industry of our beloved city. One place you don't want to miss while in Seattle - Seattle Underground.

The Seattle Underground is a network of underground passageways and basements in downtown Seattle that was ground level at the city's origin in the mid-1800s.

In 1889 the Great Seattle Fire destroyed 25 city blocks. Instead of rebuilding the city as it was before, the city leaders made two strategic decisions: that all new buildings must be of stone or brick, insurance against a similar disaster in the future; and to regrade the streets one to two stories higher than the original street grade. After the streets were elevated these spaces below fell into disuse.

Parasailing In Tacoma, Wa

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parasailing 019 
Tacoma's waterfront, from Schuster Pkwy to Ruston Way is considered to be Tacoma's version of Seattle's Alki Beach. In my opinion, it is even more beautiful, less crowded and easily accessible with plenty of free parking. The 2- mile- long waterfront sidewalk is one of the city's most popular places for many outdoor activities.

Tacoma's waterfront is one of my favorite places for longboarding, running, biking, and diving. Recently, by chance, I discovered a new favorite adventure for myself - parasailing !

Kite Landboarding At Grayland, Wa

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Till recently, wind-powered vehicles ( buggies, land sailboards, mountain boards... ) were perceived as a threat to public safety and important wildlife habitat, and were not allowed on Washington Ocean Beaches. But on March 26, 2015 the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission approved the use of wind-powered vehicles on portions of Parks-managed ocean beaches.

Now wind-powered vehicle enthusiasts can enjoy flying their kites in specific locations on Washington’s beaches.

South Beach area near Grayland is one of these locations.

Rock Climbing, Camping, Water Sports, And Sightseeing At Vantage, WA

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Vantage is a small community in the Columbia River Gorge in the eastern portion of the Washington state. Though, the area is famous for its 25,000 seat concert venue and the annual Sasquatch Music Festival ( The Gorge Amphitheater is just minutes away from the climbing spot ), it's also one of the most popular rock climbing and outdoor destinations in the state of Washington.

The area referred to by its proper name, Frenchman Coulee is better known as Vantage among local climbing community ( due to its proximity to the town of the same name ).

This was my first time climbing and visiting the area, and I was absolutely blown away by its beauty and unusual ( for me ) hot weather !

Since it's not a climbing blog, I won't bore you with the description of climbing routes and levels of difficulty. I'll just say that even if you are a beginner climber, you'll find a route in your 5.6- 5.10 range. If it's your first time, there will be a lot of climbers who will be more than happy to show you where to start, and many guidebooks ( like Rock Climbing Washington) have detailed information about the area, driving directions, descriptions, ratings, route photos, topos, and recommended gear.

Kite Landboarding And Wind-Powered Vehicle Use In Washington State

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Washington state offers dedicated kiters year round riding around Seattle and beyond. And while kiteboarding/kitesurfing has been gaining popularity the last few years, landboarding, on the other hand, remains a relatively unknown outdoor activity to general public, and not very popular even among dedicated kiteboarders.

It's mainly due to the fact that the last few years, wind-powered vehicle use on Washington Ocean Beaches was prohibited.

But following a public process that included public meetings in Ilwaco and Ocean Shores, on March 26, 2015 the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission approved the use of wind-powered vehicles on portions of Parks-managed ocean beaches. Wind-powered vehicles include kite buggies, blo-karts, kite boards and other wind/sand sailing recreational vehicles. Prior to reaching this decision, State Parks held demonstration events with wind-powered vehicle users to understand the potential for safety issues, user conflict and impacts to wildlife.

Biking And Land Paddling Around Lake Union In Seattle

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Seattle is an outdoor lovers paradise ! Just the fact that the ( unofficial ) "symbol" of the Pacific Northwest great outdoors - REI - is located in Seattle downtown, tells how much Seattleites love playing in the great outdoors !

Seattle is one of few cities around US that offers an abundance of outdoor activities in and around its downtown, with bicycling being, perhaps, Seattleites' most favorite one.

Urban trails include shared use paths, bike lanes, signed bike routes, arterials with wide shoulders, and pedestrian pathways. And a great thing about bike lanes/trails, is that they can be used by land paddlers as well.

One of these popular bike trails is a 6 mile loop around Lake Union.

Riverboarding In Washington.

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The goal of my blog is to introduce "regular" people to the variety of outdoor activities and help them experience every adventure that our state has to offer in the most affordable and safe way. So far, I've covered many activities and adventures. But today, I want to write about one that will not be available to the general public ( at least in our state) any time soon - Riverboarding.
Riverboarding is the North American name for a watersport in which the participant is prone on the board with fins on his/her feet for propulsion and steering. This sport is also known as hydrospeed in Europe and white-water sledging in New Zealand.
I have tried bodyboarding in the ocean, on my trips to Hawaii and California. But I have to tell you, there is absolutely no comparison between these two sports ( actually, I wouldn't even call bodyboarding a sport). Don't believe me? Check out this video:

Mountain Boarding At North SeaTac BMX Park

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If you've been following my blog for sometime, you've probably read about my unsuccessful attempt to descend the famous Mount Si in Issaquah on my mountain board.
I am still trying to find the right type of terrain ( like a hiking trail that is relatively steep, wide, gravel, not very rocky ) along I-90 to give it another shot.

But since mountain boards are extremely rugged, you can ride over any terrain imaginable: single-track mountain biking trails, on dirt BMX courses, in skate parks, on steep grass hillsides, on gravel roads or city sidewalks.

Kiteboarding And Windsurfing At Magnuson Park In Seattle

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Kiteboarding and windsurfing at Magnuson Park in Seattle

Magnuson Park in Seattle is one of my favorite ! For ExtraHyperActive folks like myself, the park offers an abundance of adventures : climbing, kayaking, sailing, paddleboarding, and for the past few years, has become a popular launch spot for kiteboarding and windsurfing.

Fatbiking At Iron Horse State Park In Washington

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A few years ago, almost nobody had heard of fat biking. Nowadays, fat-biking ( don't mistake it with ski-biking ! ) is gaining traction around the country, especially in places where winter is more than just 3 calendar months.

Fatties have been around for more than a decade but have only captured the mainstream cycling world's attention over the past couple of years because of their versatility and a rise in extreme adventure races.

To grow the popularity of this new snow activity, more ski resorts are offering fat tire bikes for rent, and grooming snowy trails specifically for fat biking enthusiasts.

Fat biking is slowing but gradually gaining popularity in Washington state, especially in places with established cross country skiing traditions such as Leavenworth and Winthrop.

Basically, wherever there is a cross country trail ( groomed or not ), fat biking is allowed.

This year, I finally managed to get my hands on a relatively affordable fat bike, and really hoped to enjoy Winter Wonderland in a new and exciting way !

I couldn't wait to test ride it at one of my favorite cross country skiing Snow parks - Hyak Sno Park which is located withing the Iron Horse State Park.


But unfortunately, 2015 was another horrible ski season in Washington state. Some say, it could be the worst ski season in 40+ years ! Many ski areas around the state closed lifts (or shut down completely) and canceled lessons as the warm, wet weather washed out skiing and boarding.

During my trip in the middle of February, Hyak Ski Area ( Summit East ) was closed, with barely any snow on the slopes, and non on the ground.

I rode my fat bike for a few miles, crossing patches of snow now and then, but eventually, I decided to give up.

But I still had tons of fun ! Fat bikes definitely make it easier to ride in such "impassable" conditions as in snow, sand, mud, ice or over rocks. But that doesn't necessarily make it effortless. You might stay more upright, but you still really need to muscle your way through snowdrifts or thick sand. You're definitely going to get in a workout !



Who Are PNW Paddlers ?

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The Pacific Northwest paddlers are a tough, and I'd even say, a unique breed of people. Winter is a very special time to paddle here. Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean are the same temperature year round, but the conditions out there in the winter are rougher, wetter and windier. But for a small, but dedicated group of PNW paddlers, winter means less boaters to contend with, more solitude, and surprisingly glassy days in between storms.

Snowskating Ski Hill In Leavenworth, WA

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As you might know , Leavenworth is one of best adventure travel destinations in Washington state all year round ! But I'd say that winter time is my all-time favorite to visit this little adventure hub.

While many people flock to this Bavarian theme town to see holiday lights, enjoy beautiful scenery, and try (somewhat ) "authentic" Bavarian food, others come here for outdoor adventures and activities.  And Leavenworth has a lot to offer !

Visit Palouse Falls State Park In Winter

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Palouse Falls State Park is beautiful any time of the year but winter adds a unique touch as ice forms into amazing shapes and textures on the rock walls that surround the Falls...

Have you had a chance to visit this park yet ? I've seen amazing pictures of this jaw-dropping waterfall before, but once I was actually there... it wasn't that impressive.

Check out my experience visiting Visit Palouse Falls State Park last summer - "Driving Along The Palouse Scenic Byway To Palouse Falls State Park"




What's Your Favorite Bike Ride Around Puget Sound ?

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Are you stuck in a rut riding the same bike path over and over again ? Would you like to try out new rides and trails ? Need more detailed information about more options and opportunities to ride around Puget Sound ?

Biking Bis blog published a video interview with the author of "Biking Puget Sound: 50 rides from Olympia to the San Juans " book, where he talks about his book.



The book gives detailed description of 50 scenic, entertaining and challenging rides for cyclists of all levels.
  • Each ride includes a map and a turn-by-turn route guide.
  • An elevation profile shows an overview of the terrain on each ride
  • An engaging narrative tells readers what to expect on each route.
  • A locator map and quick reference guide with difficulty, length and highlights enable readers to quickly choose appropriate rides.
"We are fortunate to live in a cycling wonderland, with the beauty of nature found everywhere, from diverse city parks to agricultural valleys, from waterfront lanes to island coastlines to mountainous back roads."
I am looking forward to buying this book , and exploring the greater Puget Sound area. Though I've been riding my bike for quite some time, just like many, I tend to ride the same trails ( with Interurban being the closest to my home, and my favorite one ! ). Hope to find more fun routes to try !


Rafting And Bald Eagle Watching On The Skagit River

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Birdwatching or birding is the observation and study of birds with the naked eye or through a visual enhancement device like binoculars...
WOW ! It even sounds boring ! Makes me fall asleep half way through that sentence.

But, combine something as dull as bird watching with rafting down a scenic river while enjoying the spectacular views of snowpacked mountains in the background ( and of course the eagles !) ...you get yourself an epic adventure !

Scenic Drives Washington : Historic Columbia River Highway 14

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Sometimes it's the journey, sometimes it's the destination—and sometimes, it's both. From the dramatic California coast to history-lined thoroughfares of New England, there are countless scenic drives across the country—and some stellar standouts.

The federal government has declared more than 100 roadways to be "Scenic Byways" because of their "outstanding archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic value."

Highway #14 is part of the Lewis and Clark Trail that travels along the north side of the stunning Columbia River Gorge and offers a wide variety of sights and scenes.

My main destination was Hood River, an official windsurfing capital of the world, which is located on Oregon side of the Columbia River. But to get there I decided to travel on HWY 14 to Maryhill, and then to jump on HWY 84 to admire the Gorge from both borders.

Explore Ape Caves At Mt. St Helens National Volcanic Monument

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At 8:32 Sunday morning, May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted and blew down or scorched 230 square miles of forest. Shaken by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, the north face of this tall symmetrical mountain collapsed in a massive rock debris avalanche. In a few moments this slab of rock and ice slammed into Spirit Lake, crossed a ridge 1,300 feet high, and roared 14 miles down the Toutle River.

The eruption is considered to be the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States
In 1982 the President and Congress created the 110,000-acre National Volcanic Monument for research, recreation, and education. Inside the Monument, the environment is left to respond naturally to the disturbance.

Visitor centers along highway 504 tell the story and provide stunning crater views. Trails let visitors explore the rebirth or access areas slower to recover.

Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument is within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Numerous viewpoints and miles of trails have been created for you to explore by car and foot. During the summer Forest Interpreters lead a wide range of activities, from short walks to amphitheater presentations, to help you understand and enjoy this area.