18/04/2024

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Exploring The Mountain Property Of The Pacific Northwest AKA God’s Country

5 min read
Exploring The Mountain Property Of The Pacific Northwest AKA God’s Country

Folks who have never seen the region for themselves often carry many preconceived notions about it. There are those who believe that mountains are always – or at least always should be – jagged and rocky. For them, a revelation awaits in the beauty of the Cascades. Covered with pristine pine forests, the gently escalating range looms high enough in the sky for its dark green sheen to fade gradually into a gorgeous snowy white. Not only are the mountains amazing to behold, so is the climate they provide. The Cascades shelter those living in the valleys from the harshest elements, allowing residents to fully appreciate the mild temperatures carried in by the coastal winds.

I speak of life in the valleys from experience. After years of dreaming about living near the west coast, I finally became such a resident two years ago. However, though it was the coast that initially drew me to the area, it was the beauty of the mountains that really captured my heart. I’ve watched my share of sunsets recede behind the Cascade Range. I’ve enjoyed winters where the temperature rarely dipped below 50 degrees and summers where the thermometer almost never climbed above 80s. Even so, the Cascade region is more than just striking vistas and a temperate climate. It’s also a wonderland for the active lifestyle enthusiast, a home for a wide variety of wildlife and a massive community united by a coniferous forest. Whether you live near the cities or stick to the peaceful towns in between, you can always find everything you need. Friends and family members who visited me in northern Washington came to refer to the region as “God’s country,” a title that is well deserved.

The phenomenal scenery was the first and foremost inspiration for that moniker. Long-range vistas are highlighted by famous peaks such as Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier and Crystal Mountain. Colorful fields that extend for miles in every direction signal the arrival of the annual Tulip Festival in Skagit Valley. Find even more beauty by exploring the rugged wilderness of North Cascades National Park, or spend days combing the five sections that make up Mount Rainier National Park. It’s always fun to go fishing, canoeing or boating on Lake Washington, Lake Whatcom, Lake Cavanaugh and other bodies of water. Moving west, it’s only a short drive to the sounds, which provide easy access into the Pacific Ocean.

Yet there’s a lot more outdoor recreation than just what you’ll find on the waterfront. I took up mountain biking shortly after moving to the state of Washington, and there was no shortage of challenging trails to try. That also holds true for hikers and horse enthusiasts. The horse farms provide a country feel to the beautiful mountain property. In addition, snowboarding and skiing are extremely popular here. My friends regularly enjoy hitting the slopes of Mount Baker, Stevens Pass and the Summit at Snoqualmie year-round. Many other options in the area include Hurricane Ridge and White Pass. If you’d rather head up the mountains instead of zooming down them, you can backpack and climb up some of the more rugged peaks such as Mount Rainier. There are loads of prime spots for camping and rock climbing. Hunters will appreciate not only the deer and elk populations, but also the large number of birds such as chukar, quail, pheasant, forest grouse, ducks and geese. Those seeking more challenging game can always try to bag a cougar, moose or bighorn sheep.

You certainly don’t have to be a hunter to appreciate the majestic wildlife, however. Try hiking through the forests, where it’s not uncommon to be awed by the bald eagles soaring overhead. Bird watching is always in season, with plenty of spotted towhee, American dipper, Brandt’s cormorant, American goldfinch and other species to spot. You might also find elk in the highland fields and beavers damming up mountain streams. Catching sight of an elusive mountain goat is always a treat. I’ve even spied a bear wandering through the trees. Orca and humpback whale-watching boat tours are another popular pastime during the migratory season, which runs from April through September.

For me, the most pleasant surprise about the region was the pervading sense of community. Some weekends I would drive through the state aimlessly, exploring the natural beauty. On both sides of the mountain property, from the Canadian border on down to Oregon, I found friendly residents at every restaurant, shop and gas station. Everyone seemed ready to help a stranger find his way through the region and willing to talk about their lives amid the mountains. Occasionally, I would pull off at ranch farms selling fresh berries, apple cider and homemade ice cream, or a tiny coffee shop nestled deep in a canyon. Even areas accessible only by ferry, such as Whidbey Island, manage to maintain a feeling of connection with the rest of the region, thanks to the presence of the same gorgeous trees and all the mainland amenities.

In the most secluded corners of the area, numerous mid-sized communities as well as college and industrial towns are just a stone’s throw away, providing all the conveniences anyone could ask for. Plus, no matter where I was, I never had to make more than a 90-minute drive to reach a major urban center. I lived halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, a pair of cities surrounded by the Cascade Range. Both offered me plenty of opportunities to attend major concerts and professional sporting events or visit museums, zoos and aquariums. Journeys into Canada were a common weekend practice of mine, allowing me to experience the unique culture of our northern neighbors.

I’m sure you’re starting to get the idea. The Cascade Range offers everything you could want and then some. From natural beauty to outstanding recreation, from peaceful seclusion to convenient cities, you can find it all here. The combination of the beautiful mountain property, lush pine forests and the Pacific coast make for an environment unlike any other – a genuine “God’s country.” It’s a place anyone would be proud to call home.

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