Recently, my best friend Catherine moved from Detroit to Washington. Her husband is in the Air Force, and he got stationed about an hour outside of Seattle. Not too shabby for a new location right? Even though I was not excited to be much farther away from her, I was excited for them to start a new chapter of their lives together. It also gave me the perfect excuse to visit the Pacific Northwest for the first time. Luckily, I had already started a fund for a trip to that part of the country before the news of the big move. So it wasn’t long before we made plans for a week long visit in July. This would be the most time we’d spent together since I left Detroit, and I was ecstatic about it!
During the first part of the week Catherine was the perfect tourist with me. We spent a day in Olympia, hitting up antique shops and stopping for a funnel cake at a fair that we stumbled across. Her and her husband Eric also brought me to a couple of their favorite restaurants and breweries in Tacoma, the closest major city to their home.
Then of course there was Seattle. Catherine and I grabbed our backpacks, hopped on the commuter train, and headed into the city. We spent an entire day wandering around Pike Place Market. Despite the fact that I didn’t see any fish tossing (apparently this happens there), the market was amazing. Vendors set up early in the morning and sell just about everything. I got unique gifts for my family and friends, and for our walk back to the train at the end of the day we bought a couple of the juiciest peaches I’ve ever tasted.
Overall, the cities I visited made a great impression on me. However, it wasn’t until the end of the week when I finally understood why everyone is so obsessed with the Pacific Northwest: it’s for sure the mind-blowing mountains! We took a long drive up Mt. Rainier National Park’s main road until we hit Paradise. Set on the south side of the mountain, at an elevation of 5,400 feet, this visitor site is the most popular destination on Mt. Rainier. From here you’re able to access hiking trails that lead to some breathtaking meadows and waterfalls. The air was so invigorating and crisp, and for the first time in my life I was able to look around and see beautiful flowers and bright white snow in one view. I could go on and on about how this was the best thing I could have experienced with my best friend, but I think the pictures will be all the explanation needed.