Washington State stories and recommendations | travel

Washington State stories and recommendations | travel

It’s getting colder nowadays. The sun sets earlier and the morning darkness creates the perfectly imperfect atmosphere to stay in bed. But we can’t and life goes on to another day of being (or an attempt at being) a productive human being. That was a lot of “beings.” But I long for summer, as I knew I would when I thought this months ago when I was taking the warmer weather for granted. So here, I look back on the places I’ve seen this summer at Washington State. A lot of things stand out to me: the way Seattle streets have slopes that are so deep you find yourself walking up city mountains, the natural beauty and awe of Mount Rainier, how architecturally focused the city buildings and street layouts are and experiencing some crazy driving on the highway. Make sure to hover over the photographs if you want to see some caption notes.

Highlights:

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier National Park
Waterfalls at Mount Rainier

When are we ever going to see another purple mountain?” he asked as we looked at the view. Mount Rainier reminds me of the person who always looks great in any situation. You look up and there this strong energy of beauty.

Advice: Go early. Finding parking and sitting in traffic coming in can be annoying, so be prepared! Also, the two-storey visitor center was full of small informational exhibits and comfortable seating to rest. They also have a mini food court and gift shop on-site.

The Wing Luke Museum of Asian Pacific American Experience

This was easily one of our favorite places in the whole trip. To visit Uncle Jimmy’s (James Malcolm Mar) store and hear/read the stories of the pan-Asian Pacific American immigrants and refugees was a very surreal experience for me. I felt like I could stay for hours. I wanted to absorb their words. I wanted to value their experiences. The architecture of the building itself and well-detailed exhibits are worth taking the time and walking through each area. There is so much history I learned from this trip that I never learned from school.

Advice: Take one of their tours. The gallery attendants know their stuff and they are very nice. There is also a gift store if you wanted something to remember the trip by. Also, ask the attendants some food recommendations in Chinatown area as we did and we found a gem because of it!

Touristy Must-Sees

Space Needle

As having been to an observatory before, I wasn’t so ecstatic to visit the Space Needle. It just seemed like something touristy to do and a local store owner had told me it wasn’t worth the money. We arrived early and there weren’t that many people there yet. Seeing the view and taking in the fresh air made it was worth it for me (as a tourist). I ended up being the one who didn’t want to leave and to stay as long as I could. Standing on the platform, being 520 feet from the ground, seeing all the landmarks like Mount Rainier, the art sculptures of Olympic Sculpture Park and seeing how much life there is all at the same time is kind of calming, yet exciting. Maybe I was feeling a little sentimental because it was our last day.

Advice: There are multiple electronic ticket booths outside and depending on the time of day, the prices will change. We went in the morning, so I think it was cheaper because of that. Also, if you’re driving there, there are some parking areas down the street. I’d do some research because we later learned some areas were cheaper than others.

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

With loads of stores to visit, food to eat, the very first Starbucks–it’s a pretty popular place. Truthfully, we didn’t care about the Starbucks thing, but we did see a long line, so a lot of other people did. I appreciate and love the variety of stores, craft vendors and farmer’s market goodies. For those heading over there, I dare you to find the Bob Ross and Daryl Dixon (cardboard cut outs).

International Fountain

International Fountain

Music blaring, children laughing and running around and everyone else relaxing and sitting nearby. It’s easy to “waste” time here since the fountain show is so fun to watch. If it was a hotter day, you bet I’d run around there looking silly.

Seattle Monorail

Seattle Monorail

It’s a quick and cheap ride to see the city in a whole new perspective. It reminds me of the monorail ride at Seuss Landing at Universal Studios. There was a family of adult tourists that came on and they were funny. They apparently didn’t know what ride this was, thought it had multiple stops and couldn’t originate which one of them suggested to go.

Chinatown

After our visit to the Wing Luke Museum, we decided to explore Chinatown a bit. We ate some delicious Taiwanese food, played some chess with life-size pieces and walked all around. The sloped streets under the hot sun definitely made it a workout!

Nature’s gems

Hover over the photograph to see the  name of the place.

Narada Falls

 

 

Snoqualmie Falls Park
Reflection Lakes

Special Mention

Seattle Japanese Garden

Seattle Japanese Garden

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Ahhhh I love this place so much. We ended up purchasing some koi food at the entrance booth and it ended up being a lot of fun. The stillness and calmness of the environment allowed us to take our time. Quiet like a library, this experience called for some sit down and walk through time to admire the details and architecture of the environment. Whenever I tried to feed the koi, a quick duck would turn up and steal their food. It kinda turned into a game of throwing the food at the right time.

If you want to see more Washington State-ish posts, I linked some below :) I’m also going to publish a post about food for this trip in the future. For all those foodies out there, beware, there are some pretty good drool-worthy photographs on the way.

Another photo of Mount Rainier in the things I’ll never see.
An artsy photograph from in the space needle.
Narada Falls inspired a poem I wrote called waterfalls. I also posted more photographs of Narada Falls in the post, too.

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the things I’ll never see

the things I’ll never see

Mount Rainier at Reflection Lakes

Mount Rainier at Reflection Lakes, one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen

I went to a poetry festival a few years ago. There was one poet who stood out for me, but I unfortunately don’t remember her name. She read her poem aloud. After sitting through and hearing from other poets read their pieces, I admittedly felt kind of lost because I couldn’t understand what they were saying entirely. I know that this may be the case with some of my poetry pieces here and that’s okay. We all interpret things differently. But with her poem, I knew what she was saying. She talked about how she found value in writing poetry as a way for her to preserve history. She would reference animals of current day because someday they may not be current anymore. I didn’t value what she had said then, but I certainly do now.

This was years ago and it was relevant then as it is now. It’s safe to say that there are so many beautiful things in this world that I’ll never see. Safe to say and sad to say. After reading their post about Glacier National Park, Jennifer and Vivian reminded me of this poet. The value of her words and what they mean. Our world is disappearing piece by piece. There are things that my future children and their children will never ever get to see in person. And for causes that could have been preventable. It breaks my heart to realize this.

Our time in Glacier National Park was an unforgettable one. Beautiful as it was, we couldn’t help but question how it was possible a park that used to boast a large number of 150 glaciers now only have 25 active glaciers remaining –– which are said to disappear within 10 years. Can you believe that? In 10 years our future generations will no longer be able to see what we saw or enjoy what we enjoyed. In 10 years we won’t see the park as it was, ever again. Climate change is real. It’s happening in our lifetime and Glacier National Park is proof of that. – tinycaravan, To Explore: Glacier National Park

I so appreciate and value what we do have. It makes me savor the photographs and memories of the national parks I have seen (I feel so lucky to have the resources to do so) and to make a list of ones I want to visit that are still here; to preserve them through words and in life, to share them and shower them with love and attention.

Quick links from the National Park Service

Donate | Artist-in-Residence programs | Volunteer | Get an annual pass (4th graders can get for free)

but a dream

but a dream

The heat was dry in the car,
Sweat hung onto our skin,
Uncomfortably, but familiar.
There was a beautiful body of water,
Beyond the tall grass we walked through.
The breeze cooled a little, but not fully.
There were footprints from others before.
I slipped off my sandals and walked on the sand.
Without them, there was no protection.
Tiny rocks and pieces of shell from creatures,
Told me there was life here without me.
Without us to witness, this was only a dream.
Waves would roll in and only they would know.
You came back to me as you stared through me,
“We are at the end of the earth,” you said.
Chills brushed through my arms and back.
I breathed in and my lungs felt full,
It felt like I carried all the heaviness
With me, here, to change it.
You grabbed a fistful of sand in your palms,
As if you were carrying your life.
You said it feels nothing like it looks.
At this end of the earth, we are here.
Where life feels like a dream,
With the rawness comes beauty,
With the heaviness, comes change.
With the breeze, comes heat.
Nothing is ever as it seems,
Unless you grab onto it
And see it for what it is,
Feel it for what it feels.

stillness in change

stillness in change

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As ever beautiful nature is,
Life’s challenges comes as easy.
In the midst of chaos,
There are also roses of care
Grown, delivered and received.
Streams of light still shines
Even in the last moments of sunsets.
Streams of water cool and calm in the night.
For a mere few hours, a new day begins.
A new path to create if we choose to.
Or an old path to follow if we do not.

waterfalls

waterfalls

As simply beautiful as a waterfall is,
The movement has layers of complexities.

Starting as one long stream,
Each water molecule unites.
Traveling together as a whole.

As rock formations collide,
Divisions and barriers are created.
One stream becomes several,
Each traveling on their own path.

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After several paths align with light,
They create the intangible rainbow.
Illuminating through each as they pass.

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Becoming a whole new entity.
A creation of beauty needing both,
Not one or just the other.

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Weathering through the imminent crash at the bottom,
Supporting and uniting together again like before.

Calm and peaceful waters drift along,
More different than before,
but unchanged in their element.

Narada Falls, Washington.

a redwood tree

a redwood tree

What would I see,
If I was the tallest tree (in the world)?
My age is but a number,
But a great number indeed.

Thousands of years,
Earth’s changes I’ve seen many.
I am resilient, strong and reliable.
Withstanding weather beatings a plenty.

Come visit me and my family.
We are calming and wise.
A new connection to nature,
Will surely be a pleasant surprise.

flower loving

flower loving

I do this thing when I see flowers. I love taking photographs of them because I like showing them to my mom the next time I see her. She was a really great gardener when I was growing up and even up until recent years. Due to her health and energy, she hasn’t had motivation to really focus on it. But I think it’s still her true love for sure. I remember I used to joke with her when I was little about how she loved her flower babies more than us kiddos and she would joke back. Luckily, she still cares for her indoor plants. Whenever I show her a new picture, she always has some information to say about how to care for them, how they grow or any special characteristics they have. It’s the best when her eyes open wide and she says aloud, “Wow, that’s really beautiful!” I love that and admire her constant love them; even though it’s changed from what it used to be.

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believe in a little magic

believe in a little magic

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The young grow up so fast. When meaning of words defined for the experienced becomes habitual validations for the youth, you know the world is changing. Morning becomes noon which becomes night all so quickly. Childhood play time become study time becomes life time. All we want isn’t all we want. The mass becomes diluted into smaller sections of varying categories; here, there, and everywhere. Romantics become cynics and roads become blocks and no one becomes every one. Nothing is original, but everything we experience is never we have ever seen. Speak to me like a human. Hold me like I’m alive. Taste with your inner soul and never let go of what makes you, you. I believe in a little magic; one that cannot be predicted by algorithms of small beating particles of interlocking patterns we all are scheduled to follow. We are our own light in the dark forest and the magic in our wands. I believe we can change the world; one act, one person, one belief at a time. I believe the magic is you.

fresh air, fresh mind

fresh air, fresh mind

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I remembered the way the ocean air tasted like,
It was like today among the giant trees in the mists.
The ocean comforted me through teenage angst and distress.
Now my mind and body draw from muscle memory,
Softening the edges as adulthood has thickened skins.
Ageless beauty getting older with each passing generation.
Hikers seeking truth among the quietness of the moment.

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sweet memories

cherry memories

when i was a child, my mom loved feeding us kids fruit. she’d slice up oranges, taught us to eat pineapples, showed that some fruit had seeds, some needed skins peeled. she gave us cherries in the summer. it was so delicious. i am so grateful for it all. the sweetness, the taste itself. it’s summer again. and i’m enjoying the deliciousness mother earth provides us. each new day there are little pieces of things to be grateful for. pieces of fruit to remind us of our childhood, gratitude for seeds of nutrition, health and nature. the beauty of all our senses.

those rainy days

those rainy days

Sweet refreshing rain swept across the restless state.
Falling onto city rooftops cement floors and musical gutters of suburbia.
Purely natural mists engulf the exhausting polluted air,
Clearing away like steam off mirrors after a morning shower.
Little pearls from cloudy treasure chests above in swirling skies,
Painting the world in grayness as we walk in black & white.