Saturday, February 4, 2012

Northwest Images, Views of Which I'll Never Tire: The Olympic Mountains

To several million inhabitants of the Puget Sound region, the resplendent Olympic Mountains splayed across the western horizon enchant us on sunny days. Perhaps this view is what might have lured some of you transplants here?

I'll never tire of gazing at these jagged mountains, whose serrated peaks slice the sky for over 60 miles south to north.  And neither do most of us who live or pass through here.  One late winter afternoon I recall sitting in a downtown Seattle highrise meeting with otherwise no-nonsense scientists and engineers who all stopped to gape at a particularly spectacular sunset behind the Olympics.

On days like today, suffused with brilliant mid-winter sunshine that sends us Mossbacks searching for our long unused sunglasses, the snow-encrusted Olympics are particularly stunning. But then, some might argue that the peak viewing time of year for these peaks is a crisp fall day after the first major snowfall of the season. Or a bright and breezy spring day. Or any day, really.

One of the best places to view the Olympics is while driving northbound on the Alaskan Way Viaduct (slated for demolition, hopefully before it crumbles in a major earthquake).  Unfortunately the viaduct is a terrible place from which to snap some photos, especially if you're driving.  Better to go to a beach like Golden Gardens.

One of my favorite Olympic-viewing spots is from the deck of a Washington State Ferry, preferably mid-Sound from Colman Dock. But the Fauntleroy-Vashon and Edmonds-Kingston runs are also great.

And of course I can't neglect to mention the Olympic Sculpture Park. Just last night as I was driving past the park in the early evening twilight, the Calder sculpture with the dusky orange-rimmed mountaintops in the background was glorious.  I wished I'd had my camera. But the image is burned in my mind anyway.

How about you?  What's your favorite place to sit and sigh at the beauty of these mountains?


Lisa said...

Beautiful pictures, purple mountain majesty indeed! When Rob & I moved to Seattle we came out for a first visit in cloudy November. We rented an apartment in lower Phinney and the landlord told us we'd have a view of the Olympics but that didn't mean much to us at the time. Were we ever surprised when we moved in and were treated to such a spectacle of beauty and color from our western picture window. It was very hard to move from that apartment and those beautiful views.

Dave Wenning said...

Simply Olympian! At work today, we have been gazing at the same peaks out the hospital windows. They look like diamonds. Thanks.

jill said...

Hi Lisa, thanks for the comment!How fortunate you were to have that view as a newcomer to Seattle.

Thanks Dave, ah a beautiful day indeed to look at the Olympics. Lucky you for being able to see them out the windows where you work.

MM said...

Beautiful photos Jill!

Anne said...

I worked for 11 years at a cruise business in Seattle and we were lucky enough to have unobstructed views of the Olympics from our Lower Queen Anne perch. My favorite time of year was winter when the flaming pink, orange and purple sunsets came around 4:30-5pm.

Unknown said...

The Bainbridge Island Ferry, of course! Get the full experience and 360 views.

martha said...

There are no bad views or off times to be in awe of or see majestic beauty.

Lindsey said...

I second what Anne says :) I work right along the waterfront and when the winter sunsets set in, and I look out to the mountains and see a ferry pass by, I know I am in heaven!

Kirsten said...

Crazy enough from the top of the Viaduct. One of the things I'll miss about that structure. I've been getting my frequent fix from a 3rd floor vacant corner of my office building in Dupont which I found to have a decent view.