I think tourism officials for the state of Washington and the Weather Channel are in cahoots. The forecast for the Seattle and San Juans was to be rainy all week, and we prepared for such. When we arrived yesterday, and as the sun rose this morning, it was as clear as a bell. Come to think of it, I have never encountered anything other than fantastic weather in the Pacific Northwest. Sure, it rains a good bit, but morning clouds often burn off to leave spectacular afternoons. However, the population of the area is expanding like crazy, and I can see how the idea that it rains all the time and is gloomy up here would deter even more people moving up here from California.
This trip began at 3:30 AM Eastern, getting ourselves in the final stages of readiness for a 5:45 AM flight. For the trip I had toys to keep me occupied (laptop, MP3 player) and Laura had packed candy corn in case I got cranky. The flight across country was surprisingly comfortable – the seats were wide and comfortable to begin with, but add to that the fact that the plane was not overloaded, and the third seat in our row was empty.
We chased morning across the country. Once past the Mississippi, the air was clear, and the rising sun cast shadows across the topography, highlighting stark contrasts in terrain. The Cascades were just as brilliant, with Mounts Hood, Adams, St. Helens, and, of course, Ranier stretching above the surroundings. As we descended toward Seattle, the Puget Basin was shrouded in fog. If anything, this highlighted the surrounding mountains even more. It really threw off our sense of perspective because we couldn’t determine the thickness of the fog bank. As we pierced the upper layers, we saw that we were actually quite close to the ground.
Once through the hassles of baggage claim and rental car agreements, we headed north toward Samish Island. Traffic was very light, and made great time. We completed our volcano series as Mount Baker poked through the remaining clouds.
Almost as soon as we got to the island, we decided the weather was nice enough for a drive. Even though we had been travelling all day, we took a ride along the banks of the Skagit River, looking for eagles and other wildlife. Dinner, then we collapsed at about 8:00 PM Western, nearly 18 hours after we had gotten up.