The monster in the wood
I've been going through the massive amount of photos from our Northwest travels this summer and I stumbled upon this beautiful monster! This guy was hiding in the woods in Seattle's Carkeek Park, part of an annual outdoor art exhibition (that sadly came to an end in mid-October…we actually visited on the last day!). Check out past works and info about the artists here: www.cocaseattle.org. Great stuff. Imagine if you were on a stroll through the woods and you didn't know the exhibition was going on…spooky!
~Paul, Shelly, Jon, N ETC
Autumn is a great time to visit the Washington Park Arboretum Seattle Japanese Garden
Well, Autumn is officially here in the Northwest. October is usually a mix of gloomy and rain and perfect sunny days. If your day off happens to be on one of those sunny days (sometimes we get lucky and it's the weekend), a great way to spend the afternoon is at the Washington Park Arboretum. We've kayaked there many times but a hidden gem for a land adventure is the 3.5 acre Seattle Japanese Garden. These pics were taken in the Spring, but now is the time to catch the gorgeous Fall colors. Admission is low and plan to spend 30 mins to an hour to see everything. Head over and stroll the grounds!
~Paul & Amber ETC
Exploring the Mt. Constitution lookout in Moran State Park - Orcas Island, Washington
Our exploration of the San Juan Islands continues with a little trek to the tallest point on the islands - Mount Constitution. Located on Orcas Island (Orcas is the mountain-y one), Mount Constitution sits in Moran State Park, a 5,000 acre or so state park with lakes, mountains, waterfalls, lots of hiking trails, camping & day use areas.
Mt. Constitution sports an awesome stone lookout tower (built in 1936). The views are excellent, you can actually go inside and up in the tower (as opposed to it being locked up like some sites in the NW), and there are bathrooms in the parking lot.
Although you can park lower on the mountain and hike up (the popular trail is about 7 miles with a 1500 ft elevation gain), you can also just drive and park on the very top. Just know you'll need a Washington State Discover Pass ($10 a day or $30 a year) to park a vehicle at the park. We usually purchase ours each year at REI in Seattle and keep it in the glove box.
Also, if you are hiking up, know that sometimes there isn't portable drinking water at the top so plan ahead! We highly recommend heading to the top and checking out the view - it's amazing!
~Paul & Amber ETC
Nice map of Moran State Park
Check here at the State Park website for current info
Exploring the Seattle Aquarium
Jeez, it's been about 10 years since we've been to the Seattle Aquarium. We don't really have a good excuse, only that when you're a Seattle local you tend to stay close to your cozy neighborhood on the weekends. Who wants to drive down into the waterfront tourist trap?
Eventually the cozy wears off and we head downtown. When we're there, we usually say, "Man, why don't we come down here more often?".
We almost always feel that way when we explore the waterfront & the Pike Place Market. So many cool spots to explore and photograph. The aquarium has the super cool giant Window on Washington Waters tank with diver presentations throughout the day, a great Crashing Waves wave pool, cool jellyfish and octopus exhibits, a series of touch pools, a sea & shore bird exhibit, and tons more. Super cute otters and a newly renovated harbor seal exhibit top things off. Definitely worth a visit…especially if it's been 10 years!!!
~Paul & Amber ETC
Follow us on Twitter and receive updates when we post (click the birdie).