Oregon & Washington

I took a vacation from work to visit a few places in Oregon and Washington. Despite this year not being the best in terms of local rainfall, almost everywhere we visited was a carpet of green which along with the hilly and mountainous landscape of the American northwest gave us some breathtaking views. These photos are from some of the highlights.

The first item on the itinerary was Mt. Rainier National Park – majestic, spectacular and awe-inspiring:

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Paradise indeed! I can’t imagine how much greener it will be after the rains
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Nisqually riverbed – follow this on and you’ll get to a glacier climbing up Mt. Rainier
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More great views
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Mt. Rainier surrounded by a sea of conifers
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Nisqually River again, from viewpoint much higher up
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Views of the hills and mountains surrounding Mt. Rainier, from Paradise
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Mt. Rainier, its head in the clouds
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Sigh, if only the clouds had cleared a little
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More Mt. Rainier
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The national park is a natural wonder; every turn gives way to a scenic view
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A final look at Mt. Rainier as we drove through the park

We got time to visit Olympia, WA too. Olympia was as quaint as Mt. Rainier was grand.

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Olympia’s waterfront
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The pier is full of abstract sculptures; here is a seemingly pregnant woman
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A happy orca
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Capitol House in Olympia
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Olympia has several charming houses like this

Oregon’s coastline is great too – peppered with small beach towns in places and in others with rocky jagged cliff faces. We drove from Lincoln City to Cape Meares all along the coast, before turning inland into Hillsboro.

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Lincoln City beach, very sedate
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Lincoln City is like most beach towns, a lot of interesting things catch the eye
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Taft beach in Lincoln City
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The Siletz River meets the ocean here and is seemingly a favorite spot for salmon fishing
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More of Taft Beach; bare logs strewn about give it a stark beauty
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Views along the coast while heading north from Lincoln City
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Approaching Cape Kiwanda; the giant rock afar is Chief Kiawanda Rock
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At Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City, OR
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View of the bay to the south from a lookout in the Cape
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A panoramic view of the ocean to the north of the lookout in Cape Kiwanda
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At Cape Lookout point – the ocean to the left and Netarts Bay to the right
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Amazing views of the Pacific Ocean from Cape Meares
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The ‘Octopus Tree’
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More views
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This is a great lookout for birds, we waited unsuccessfully for a swooping Peregrine Falcon
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Neither gulls, nor seals… our wildlife watch was rather uneventful
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At Cape Meares, conifers line the way to the lighthouse

Mt. Hood is to Portland, what Mt. Rainier is to Seattle – unlike the latter though, Mt. Hood isn’t inside a National Park. We drove to Trillium Lake and were lucky this time (unlike earlier) with clear weather. Mt. Hood looks truly regal across the lake.

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As serene as it gets
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Sunset gave it a different hue
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A closer look at Mt. Hood, from Timberline Lodge

We visited Chihuly Garden & Glass, a museum in the heart of Seattle right next to Space Needle. It was easily among the most beautiful ‘art’ museums I’ve visited. Each exhibit is a riot of colors and the way light interacts with abstract shapes to create interesting reflections & shadows is a treat for the eyes.

Chihuly Museum is inside the Seattle Center, which has several eye-catching structures – Space Needle, the EMP Museum, Pacific Science Center. After spending an evening roaming about, we managed to take the elevators up the Space Needle to its observation deck for some nice nighttime views of Seattle.

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The EMP Museum, its skin is a rainbow of colours
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The reflection looks reptilian
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Space Needle
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A view from the Pacific Science Center nearby
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More Space Needle
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Sunset from the observation deck
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Seattle waterfront from the Space Needle observation deck
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Another view
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Lit after sundown

I’ve always enjoyed colours at dusk, and the american northwest didn’t disappoint. Each evening was spectacular.

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