Adventures in the Pacific Northwest

Hello everyone!

What a crazy year 2020 has turned out to be. So many changes, challenges, and uncertainties in life right now, but through it all, my family and I have found new ways to connect and make memories together.

After living in Texas for 18 years, we decided to go back home. So we uprooted ourselves, only a few months before this whole pandemic thing happened, and moved across the country, which resulted in my family being separated from each other for several months. Our lives became a bit more crazy and chaotic. Since that time, we’ve settled into our new home, new jobs, and new surroundings. My daughter has rejoined us, my husband is now able to travel home after being on the road with his job for an extended length of time, and my family has had several opportunities to enjoy the beautiful area we now call home…the Pacific Northwest.

This area of the country has everything we love all wrapped into one wonderful package. Mountains, trees, rivers and lakes, the ocean, and spectacular views surround us everywhere we go. I’ve long awaited opportunities to explore and hike through my old stomping grounds. I thought I’d share some of our adventures with you.

Welcome to Seattle!

I don’t know why, but for some strange reason, I have an unusual obsession with ferries. They fascinate me, and I think they add unique character to the Seattle area.

A ferry on the Sound

Another icon of this area is the Space Needle, which is one of the coolest architectural structures I’ve ever seen. There are similar buildings in other large cities, but in my eyes, none will ever compare to the Space Needle.

The Space Needle, Seattle, WA

Another very distinctive element of Western Washington is lighthouses. We’ve visited a few now, but have many more to see.

Mukilteo Lighthouse

Buildings and boats aren’t why we returned here. The natural beauty of the area is what brought us back home. They say you don’t realize how much you miss something until it’s gone. Never has that statement been more true than returning home after spending 18 years away from it. I didn’t realize how much I missed the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest: Puget Sound, the Pacific Ocean, the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, forests, waterfalls, rivers, and trees…so many trees. It’s green everywhere you go, something I had missed beyond description.

The waterfalls are quite spectacular.

Snoqualamie Falls
Wallace Falls

There’s water everywhere you go.

Carkeek Park, Seattle
Camano Island
Mukilteo
Skykomish River
Wallace River
Bitter Lake
Puget Sound

When the sun sets and reflects off the ocean…nothing compares to that.

Western Washington is surrounded by majestic Mountains. The views are breathtaking.

Mt. Rainier
Mt. Baker
The Olympic Mountains
Winter on Stevens Pass in the Cascade Mountains

There are so many places to hike and enjoy the natural beauty of the woodlands in this area.

American bald eagles nesting atop a tree on Whidbey Island

The distinctive change in seasons is yet another wonder of the Pacific Northwest.

Fall in Ballard
Winter in Everett
Winter in Seattle
Spring in Mukilteo
Summer in Seattle

Western Washington has its own culture and quirkiness attached to it as well.

Pike Place Market before the pandemic
Historic Arlington
LaConnor
Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle
Fremont troll
Jimmy Hendricks statue, downtown Seattle
Ballard Locks
Camano Island
Fort Casey
Random art murals everywhere. This particular one is by a local spray paint artist known as “henry”
Seattle Pier, which is about to be dismantled 😞
Leavenworth, one of our favorite places

The photos and images here don’t do the Pacific Northwest justice. It’s one of those places you have to experience in person. Although this worldwide pandemic has put a halt on much of what used to be considered “normal”, such as travel, dining out, and just spending time with friends, one positive outcome from all this has been the bonding time and reconnection my little family has had. We’re enjoying our natural surroundings, getting outside, finding new things to do, and soaking in the beauty around us, PNW “coastal distancing” style.

Needless to say, we love our new environment and have settled in quite nicely to what we now call home (for me, it’s a return home).

Stay safe, everyone, and cherish this time with loved ones.

The Space Needle – An Icon of the Pacific Northwest

seattle

“There are two very prominent characters in Sand & Sutures, and I suspect in all of the books in the Scrubs series, that have no dialogue. The first quiet but ever present character is the city of Seattle, Washington. You can feel the green, picture the fog, sunshine, and rain. The features and terrain of Seattle have been lovingly and subtly written in as the characters walk through their days.” -Opus Book Review of Sand & Sutures

The Space Needle is a huge tourist attraction and a well-known icon in the city of Seattle. But for me, it symbolizes the Northwest and every memory associated with it.

The distinctive structure is one of the landmarks that stands out when flying into the city, especially at night. The nighttime lights of the Space Needle are absolutely awe-inspiring, and they change to reflect various events. When the Seahawks play, the tower illuminates in blue and green. During the holidays, a tree made of 1,200 lights is perched 560 feet atop the building, brightening the city.  Every New Year’s Eve, the Space Needle hosts a fireworks display synchronized to music. When the University of Washington Huskies won the Rose Bowl, the team’s logo was temporarily painted on the tower, and the building glowed with a purple hue.

The Legacy Light, or Skybeam, is a vertical beam that shines on special occasions. Every year on 9–11, it lights up the sky for eleven consecutive hours.

The observation deck of the Space Needle provides a spectacular 360-degree view of the city and surrounding area. To the west, you’ll find Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. To the east, you’ll see the snow-capped Cascade Mountains and Lake Washington. You can get to the top by either taking the 41-second elevator ride or climbing the tower’s 848 steps.

The Space Needle is one of my favorite locations, not because of the building itself, but because of what it represents for my characters throughout the Scrubs series. In Scrubs, my leading man associates the Space Needle with home. He even has a tee-shirt with the word SEATTLE printed on the front; one of the T’s is a silhouette of the famous building. The structure brings back childhood memories for him and is one of the first things he shows people when they visit his beloved city.

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“As Randy’s plane descended over Puget Sound into the SEA-TAC airport, he remembered how much he missed home. The beautiful Seattle skyline lit up the nighttime sky, and the glow of the lights reflecting off the lake brought back memories of fishing with his dad.” –an excerpt from Scrubs

For most, the Space Needle is just a steel structure in the middle of downtown Seattle. But for me, the Space Needle symbolizes much more — hiking through moss-covered forests, the snow-covered Cascade Mountains, fishing in crystal clear lakes, waterfalls, fresh seafood, and my love for city of Seattle. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and although I no longer live in Seattle, I will always consider the emerald city my home.

(Taken from an article I wrote for Squirl’s On the Spot blog)

A Photo Journey Through Seattle

A photo tour through one of my favorite cities. Enjoy!

ONE CHEL OF AN ADVENTURE

A Photo Journey Through Seattle

As I mentioned in my last post, I visited my aunt up in Washington State a couple years ago. While we were there we visited many highlights in Seattle including: Poulsboro Marine Center, Bremerton, The Glass Museum, The Woodland Zoo, The Seattle Aquarium, The Original Starbucks, and Pike’s Public Market. This is my photo journey through Seattle and its surrounding areas:

xx Chels

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