Sunday, March 22, 2009

Washington trip, part II, the week is saved!

After an afternoon frolicking in a bog of despair (due to the un-boardable conditions at Mt Baker) Ruth and I put our heads together and decided to make an attempt to save our trip. So we got up at 5AM and drove south and east to Stevens Pass Ski Area on the Cascade Divide. Of course, we had no idea what kind of mountain to expect but as it turned out, we were pleasantly surprised. The place was great! Though on the smallish side, the ski area boasted some entertaining runs, great tree skiing, and a fantastic terrain park. The powder off the runs was knee deep and untracked. And zero crowds. We skated onto every chair lift all day. After a whole day at Stevens we drove further east and stayed in the charming "bavarian village" of Leavenworth. Though the town was "Children of the Corn" quiet due to the off season, we saw enough indications that the town could be alot of fun during the spring and summer.

The next morning we drove back up to Stevens Pass and boarded 10 or so runs before the falling snow turned to rain. We packed up and started to explore the west side of the Cascades. We hit the towns of Skykomish (nothing there), Index (reminded me of the movie "Wrong Turn") and Snohomish which turned out to be a lovely little town with a diverse and interesting Main Street, numerous Victorian homes, and fantastic antique stores. We got a room and spent the night.

After one more day boarding Stevens we drove back to Bellingham and were looking at flying home the following day when we decided to extend our trip by a day in order to "do" the one tourist thing everybody in Washington does at least once: take the ferry over to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. This is just alot of fun and during the summer orca sightings from the ferries are common. San Juan Island itself is the largest of the hundreds of islands in the Sound and Friday Harbor is it's nicest port. We found a charming little community with alot of the touristy stuff mixed with all the every day needs of a real community. All in all, we were very glad we went.

On our "new last day" we woke early and drove south to Seattle. We spent our free time while waiting for our flight visiting one of Seattle's most famous and historic locales: the Pike Place Market. We broused the hundreds of shops and stall while nibling on fresh smoked salmon, European cheeses, and fresh roasted cashews. We, of course, stopped to see the world renowned "fish throwers" of Pikes Place. Kinda fun watching these guy huck 20 pound salmon to each other.

We wound up having a great getaway, mostly because we were willing to throw out the itinerary when things didn't work out. Instead we had ourselves an adventurous and exciting week.

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