Seattle’s Gift to the World the Sixth: The Great Outdoors

DSC01513.JPG“Ah, the great outdoors.” The spectrum from which Seattleites can honestly utter that phrase is simply astounding. Whether you’ve gazed over a steamy latte at the snow-capped Olympic Mountains with the Puget Sound’s briny air filling your lungs or tossed your 40 pound pack to the ground after your sixth day of hiking around Mount Rainier to down a Nalgene of Tang and gnaw on some beef jerky, you’ve had a taste of Seattle’s great outdoors.

Seattle’s location makes it an ideal haven for outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes. Boaters, sailers, jet skiers, canoeists, kayakers, fishermen, and other water sportsmen get their fix any of Seattle’s many bodies of water including the Puget Sound, Lake Union, Lake Washington, and Green Lake. Cyclists have their choice of several urban bike trails including the Burke-Gillman Trail and Lake Washington Boulevard. Runners often take advantage of the trails at Green Lake and Seward Park. Plant and animal lovers can examine hundreds of species at Discovery Park, the Arboretum, Volunteer Park and its conservatory, and Lincoln Park.

DSC02052.JPGAnd that’s all within the city limits. Allow yourself a few hours on the road and the possibilities are limitless.

To the west is Olympic National Park, home to magnificent peaks, the Ho Rainforest, and the Olympic Coast (one of the largest wilderness beaches in the world). To the north are the San Juan Islands, a perfect place to bike, fish, run, boat, or go whale watching. To the east are the Cascade Mountains, home of North Cascade National Park and other state and national parks and forests (my favorite being the Enchantment Lakes). Finally, to the south is Mount Rainier National Park, our crown jewel. It is full of bright flora and fauna, cascading streams, frosty blue glaciers, and the sweetest air you’ve ever breathed. I have few memories better than of staring at Rainier’s peak while laying in a meadow of wildflowers on a bright sunny day.

And that, frankly, is just the surface. I failed to mention the numerous state parks and forests that dot the state. I neglected to address the best places to go rock climbing (ahem, Exit 38, ahem). I didn’t even mention skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing. And then there’s REI, a Seatle original since 1938 and the only retail store that makes me giddy. We’ve got it all. And to you, world, we give this gift. Ah, the great outdoors.

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See also: Gift the First, Gift the Second, Gift the Third, Gift the Fourth, and Gift the Fifth.

Read about gifts from around the metroblogging world with this updated guide [la.metblogs] or follow some of these technorati tags being used across the metroblogging network: Metblogs7Gifts, 7Gifts, Metroblogging7Gifts.

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