We’re sitting in Starbucks in Kent, stealing their internet, editing photos and waiting for 8:50 pm to roll around so we can board our plane and sadly, leave Washington. We were to tired after our trip to Treehouse Point to go hiking in Tiger Mountain National Forest like we planned.
Everything about this state has left us in love. From the lush green forests, to the countryside homes and wild caribou on the sides of the road. Washington is vastly different from Southern California and that’s exactly what we love about it. When you’ve been raised in the same place all your life, you begin to take it for granted and also crave to see something outside of your little bubble.
And Washington hit the mark! We flew in on a Thursday morning landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and catching an Uber to Kent, WA to pick up our rental for the week. We plugged in our destination and drove the 2 hours out to Ashford which is only 6 miles outside the only entrance to Mount Rainier National Park that is open year round. It’s a small, sweet town with only State Route 706 running through it directly up to the mouth of the park.
We booked a quaint AirBnB chalet cabin and as we pulled in were not only grateful to stop traveling, but also to see how isolated and inviting the property was.
Inside were to queen beds and a cute kitchenette stocked with bagels and coffee for us as well as a private bathroom and dining area. It was quite the comfy spot to unwind and warm up after hiking up in the cold mountains all day.
We got to explore Mount Rainier National Park as we described in our previous blog post. However, not as much as we would have hoped for. We booked for spring anticipating that with winter long gone that more of the trails and locations like Paradise would be open. Unfortunately, with an elevation of up to 14,411 feet, snow can survive much longer then the surrounding lower level areas. But what we did get to experience was phenomenal.
We explored the small town of Ashford with only a population of 300 people, 2 small grocery stores that were more like tiny gas station markets, one major restaurant (Copper Creek Grill which I would HIGHLY recommend. Their fettucine alfredo and parmesan toast is to die for and their French toast is even more delish). They also have one adorable pottery store, an espresso shop and a small sporting goods store. It’s quiet and sleepy but welcoming and endearing. The people are kind and helpful, so much different from Orange County people (I’m just kidding!).
We made sure to go and check out Nisqually River which is approximately 81 miles long. It drains part of the Cascade Range southeast of Tacoma, including the southern slope of Mount Rainier from Nisqually Glacier, and empties into the southern end of Puget Sound. The rushing river is intimidating. The current is so strong and powerful, its quite the sight.
We were able to see apart of the river where there were zero people. We had the entire river to ourselves to explore and skip rocks and just take in. It really was one of the highlights of our trip.
The entrance to Nisqually in Ashford also leads you into a residential neighborhood, unlike any kind of neighborhood we have in Orange County. The A-frames, oh the A-frames! We had some serious cabin envy as we toured these folks magical streets they call home.
*Yes that last house had an adorable gnome’s cottage on their lawn!!
While we explained how most the visitors loud talking kept the wildlife away in Mt. Rainier Park despite Loren and I whispering, we were lucky enough to come across wild caribou that moved frequently throughout the town and would look at us all at once when we would get out to snap some shots and admire them.
And inside one of those sweet neighborhoods, we drove up right next to a family of deer grazing on the side of the dirt path. We shut the car off and expected them to bolt as soon as they noticed us given we were only about 10 feet away. But they were not phased, and even came up near the car to see if we had anything they wanted. They are captivating to watch. I know they are a common wildlife, even here in Socal, however for them to be so close and even be willing to interact is new to us. And being animal lovers, we are just happy to see any four-legger!
We did some other venturing into Elbe and Eatonville and visited Alder Lake and even went and saw the small town of Morton.
We honestly were so sad to be living Washington. We didn’t even get to explore Olympia or the coast, so we will definitely be back. We are thinking an Oregon/Washington trip next time! We can’t get enough of the forests. The towering hemlock and pine trees. The views of the snow-capped Mount Rainier and the fact that around every corner you can find the most beautiful creeks and rivers. It is all awe-inspiring.
Thank you, thank you for reading about our recent trip to the state of Washington. Keep following, because we had one last day in Washington before our departure that we spent at TREEHOUSE POINT!!!! You won’t want to miss it!
Ashley & Loren