Fall in the Pacific Northwest

September seems to be everyone’s favorite month in the Pacific Northwest.  The 90 degree days are gone, the kids are back in school and the daily rain has not arrived just yet.  We start thinking its time to start south when it does rain 3 or 4 days in a row.

Olympic Peninsula shore

Olympic Peninsula shore

Seattle from Port Orchard

Seattle from Port Orchard

The Olympic Peninsula is unique to Washington.  It is the northwestern most corner of the 48 states.  It is dominated by the Olympic Mountains which are snow capped all year.  The eastern side is bounded by the Puget Sound.  There are many small towns, huge forests, scenic coastline and its very rural.  The sound provides views of Seattle and the volcanos of the Cascades.  We visited Port Orchard, well known to readers of Debbie Macomber.  We also toured Port Townsend, a historic seaport town with a lot of Victorian buildings.  We happened to visit during the Wooden Boat Festival, a well attended event celebrating the maritime heritage.

Historic military post with Mt. Baker in the distance

Historic military post with Mt. Baker in the distance

Port Townsend

Port Townsend

Fishing port

Fishing port

Wooden boat fest

Wooden boat fest

Victorian lady

Victorian lady

The Pacific coast of Washington is surprisingly quiet in the Fall.  There is less fog due to cooler inland temps and the rain is still occasional.  Southwest Washington has a long human history with very successful Native Americans enjoying the bounty of the sea before Lewis and Clark arrived in 1804.  Immigrants from the young United States established settlements along the coast harvesting seafood and timber.  Oysters, clams and salmon join cranberries and tourism in today’s economy.  Willapa Bay is one of the largest estuaries on the Pacific coast and a huge migratory bird stop.  We had the opportunity to kayak and hike in the Willapa Wildlife Refuge and provide a little help to growers harvesting cranberries for Ocean Spray.

Willapa Wildlife Refuge

Willapa Wildlife Refuge

Willapa seafood industry

Willapa seafood industry

We camped near Seaview WA  short walk to the beach.  On one beach hike we visited North Head Lighthouse, one of several in the area aiding shipping on the trecherous approach to the Columbia River.  On another we found an abundance of bolete mushrooms.  These are delicious and easy to ID.  We had so many we were able to dry a lot for later use.

North Head lighthouse

North Head lighthouse

Trecherous entrance to Columbia River

Trecherous entrance to Columbia River

Pacific coast at Seaview

Pacific coast at Seaview

Bolete treat on the beach

Bolete treat near the beach

More boletes "porcini"

More boletes “porcini”

Ilwaco Washington has a very nice Pacific Heritage Museum.  We were fortunate to visit on a Smithsonian Free Museum Day.  There is a nice history of the crossing of the Columbia to Astoria as well as a history of the railroad that served the Long Beach peninsula.

N scale rail display

N scale rail display

September may be the nicest month to visit the Pacific coast of Washington.  We had many blue sky days, very mild temperatures, no crowds, and wild mushrooms for the picking. Heaven!

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3 Responses to Fall in the Pacific Northwest

  1. Chris says:

    I’m getting so I prefer September and October here too (over the way too humid summers). It’s drier, cooler, beautiful, and without all the summer tourist traffic.

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  2. Looks and sounds like a lovely part of the country to spend time. Was there a couple times years ago for short visits – need to go back to explore more.

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  3. Terri says:

    I have been to Seattle in late August, and absolutely loved it! The cooler temps were a pleasant escape from the Florida summer heat and humidity! I would love to explore more, and with your travels, can add stops to my bucket list! Love seeing your beautiful pictures and reading your posts! Safe Travels!

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