There’s a little corner of the United States, the upper left one, that is a conundrum of precipitation. This corner (the Olympic Peninsula) is the part of Washington that looks like it’s being torn away from the mainland. Mount Olympus sits astride this peninsula like the queen that she is, watching the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Salish Sea to the north, and the Sound to the East. She is one of the rainiest places in the entire US, getting about 220 inches of precipitation per year. A few miles west, the town of Forks, WA (of Twilight fame) gets about a hundred inches fewer. Seattle, for comparison, gets an average of 38 inches of rain per year.
Tucked in the midst of all this drizzle, sits the town of Sequim. Pronounced more like a tentacled sea creature than a shiny adornment, Sequim gets a meager 16 inches of rain per year (Los Angeles gets about 15!) The reason for this is a rain shadow.
A rain shadow occurs when a mountain(s) blocks moisture from its leeward side. This is kind of what happens between the western and eastern sides of the Cascade mountain range, making one side a lush, mossy paradise full of magic and wonder, and the other side a hot, dry, dusty wasteland that’s baked or frozen brown three-quarters of the year (but I digress).
For the last three years, I’ve played this game. It’s the kind of game that evolves out of habit – it’s not even really a game. This particular game goes like this:
Dad makes coffee. Dad and I each pour ourselves a little cup to sip on. Over the course of the morning, each of our coffees grows cold.
Dad puts his coffee in the microwave and heats it up. We both forget about it. After a while, my coffee is cold, too, so I go in the kitchen. I open up the microwave to put it in and heat it up. There’s Dad’s now cold cup of coffee sitting in the microwave.
So I heat up Dad’s coffee again, and take it to him. Then I put my coffee in the microwave, and heat it up. We both forget about it. Pretty soon, Dad’s coffee gets cold. So he goes in the kitchen, opens up the microwave to put his coffee in and heat it up. There’s my cup of cold coffee sitting in the microwave.
So he heats up my coffee again and brings it to me…
Unfortunately, I no longer play this game – the microwave where I am living now beeps every two minutes after it’s been run, so it’s pretty much impossible to overlook a cup of coffee that’s been left inside.
Next up on my tour of Seattle: possibly the craziest crowded beach ever on a sunny Saturday in Seattle. Ok, enough with the alliteration, I promise.
My requirements for exploring Seattle at this point are:
1. I’ve never been there before
2. It’s pretty.
Easy list. I will eventually run out of the first option, then I’ll have to stipulate weather or seasons. Have I been there on a sunny day? In the snow?
Of course, one of the few beaches in Seattle would be crowded on a day like today – there were people sailing boats, wind surfing, parasailing – their blues and pinks and whites whipping around the azure sky.
Sail boats on the sound
There were people playing football and volleyball and soccer – while we pedestrians on the beach played dodgeball, effectively. There were barbecues and babies, kids and kites, musicians and monokinis. Ok, just kidding – people don’t wear monokinis to Pacific Northwest beaches. Haven’t you ever seen that commercial?
Even on a sunny day, most people were huddled up in sweatshirts and blankets. It was warm enough for the turtles, though. We saw plenty!
The turtles came out to play! And by “play,” I mean “sit on this log and not move”
Next time I think we’ll bring a barbecue and some instruments of our own – we’ll let you know and you can join us! Cheers from Seattle.
Gallery of Golden Gardens…