Of Pork and Politics: Washington in the Pig War

We’re all familiar with the historic events that led to the American Revolution, when the American Colonies seceded from rule by Great Britain. Somewhat less well known are the reasons behind the second war between England and the U.S…the War of 1812. But it’s unlikely you can find very many people who can tell you about the third war between these two superpowers, which took place – or, more accurately, almost took place – in the San Juan Islands in

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Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park

Any Washingtonian worth their basalt has – at one time or another – driven through Vantage during the long drive from Seattle to Spokane. Most of us breeze across the bridge and don’t look back as we climb the hills on the opposite side, dodging crawling semis and hoping our radiators don’t overheat. But if you’re more interested in your journey than your destination, you may have taken the time to visit one of the most unique state parks in

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The Columbia Gorge has a north side, too

Believe it or not, there are actually people who don’t know the Columbia River has another side. Some of those folks have admitted as much to Earlene Sullivan, Executive Director at the Greater Goldendale Area Chamber of Commerce, who unfortunately understands the sentiment. Interstate 84, the fastest way to get inland from the sprawling, urban metropolis of Portland, zips along the northern border of Oregon…the south side of the Columbia River. Many a Pacific Northwesterner are familiar with attractions like Multnomah Falls, Vista House, and Rooster Rock State

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History lives on Orcas Island

There are very few places in Washington where you can hike through the woods, trip over a 200-year-old cannonball and land amongst an assortment of arrowheads and prehistoric bison fossils. In fact, there’s likely only one place where that amazing scenario could potentially play out, and that is on Orcas Island in the San Juans. As the largest island in San Juan County, Orcas is surprisingly not named after the famous killer whales that patrol the waters north of

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Wintering the Pacific with Lewis and Clark

In southwestern Washington where the mighty Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean are a string of sites that no historical tourist or lifelong resident of our state should leave unvisited. Between Hungry Harbor and the Long Beach Peninsula are three places that hold not only state but national significance. They are the three places that Captain Meriwether Lewis, Lieutenant William Clark and the entire Corps of Discovery expedition met with some of the fiercest weather conditions of their 3,700-mile

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Hidden history in Ferry County

It probably won’t be your first choice for a Washington state park family vacation. It might not even be in your top 100. However the Ranald MacDonald Grave Heritage Area definitely warrants a visit if you find yourself traveling near the U.S.-Canadian border in Ferry County. Ranald MacDonald’s gravesite is located in a Native American cemetery just off County Highway 501/Customs Road overlooking the Kettle River. Dubbed “the smallest state park in Washington,” it’s technically a satellite of Osoyoos

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Around the state in 48 hours: Part 1

Everybody thought I was joking when I said I was taking a business trip from Olympia to Vancouver to Yakima to Spokane to Wenatchee to Everett to Bellevue to Tacoma and back to Olympia in two days. The itinerary I had laid out with Google Maps said it was a cinch and I’m the guy who enjoys driving around this beautiful state we call home. Well, I proved to everyone that it was possible…but I may now be paying

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Mud and muck around Millersylvania State Park

Almost every year I pack up the family and head ten miles south of our Lacey home to go camping at Millersylvania State Park, and every time we make plans to take advantage of the miles of woodland trails skirting its edges. Unfortunately, for a multitude of reasons, we’ve never been able to actually hike those trails. But this weekend I was determined to spend some long-overdue and much-needed quality time in the Washington outdoors, so – since we

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Don’t mess with park rangers. Seriously.

They’ll kick you out. In the nicest, most passive-aggressive way, they’ll politely ask you to leave. Let me go back and explain what happened. As anyone from Washington State knows, the drive from Seattle to Spokane (or vice-versa) can be riddled with boredom unless you’re playing traffic games with other drivers or looking for something in particular (like totaling up the different crops with names posted on the fence lines to see if it turns out to be a

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Easy week in eastern Washington, Part 1: The roads less traveled

My father, Walt Ebel, and I began our second annual trip to the Colville Indian Reservation on a Monday in early June. Dad’s been doing this for decades; he visits his best friend, Lyn, and they spend a week on Twin Lakes at Hartman’s Log Cabin Resort near Inchelium. Last year I decided to finally accept their invitation and had such a good time I wanted to make it an annual part of my summer as well. I even

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A well-deserved break for our heroes

One of Washington’s jewels is our state park system.  Yes, it is expensive to run, and goodness knows the political shenanigans that take place to keep it alive.  But… if you look around our state, we have some pretty awesome parks within reach of almost everyone in the state.  It is well worth the cost of an annual Discover Pass for you and your family to enjoy these gifts.  End of sermon! We recently visited Belfair State Park, near

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Illahee State Park: Right in the backyard

Last weekend, we took a trip into Kitsap County to see my Uncle Verne, who lives at the Department of Veterans Affairs veterans home in Retsil, outside Port Orchard. The facility was built in 1910 on a 31- acre bluff overlooking Puget Sound. According to the website, “Today the Veterans Home is a state-of-the-art, non-institutional facility providing a ‘Resident Centered Care’ concept that focuses resources around the individual resident. All primary services for a resident are available within a forty-bed ‘neighborhood.’ The Home serves 240

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Tolmie State Park

It was such a nice day, that Kelly and I took Parker to Tolmie State Park just north of Hawk’s Prairie today. Just as the sun was beginning to set, we hit the beach at low tide. The Olympic Mountains were glorious and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The beach was pretty busy with clam-diggers, explorers and pets running around. We made our way through the bevy of families to the tidal zone and began to head

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