Letters to the Editor

Fast Focus 'What is your favorite northwest getaway?' Head north

One of my favorite places in the Northwest is Birch Bay, just north of Bellingham. It's an easy day trip from there to Vancouver, British Columbia, and there are lots of things to do.

-- MARK ARMSTRONG, Kennewick

Head south

My favorite part of the Northwest for a getaway is the southeast quarter of Oregon -- the high desert country. It is spacious, beautiful, wild, remote and uncomplicated. One can stay at the historic Frenchglen Hotel and enjoy family style meals without the distractions of phones, TV or the internet. From there, Steens Mountain, the Round Barn, Malheur Refuge, Diamond Craters, Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge and the Alvord Desert with its thermal lakes and hot springs are accessible.

I know from experience that it is possible to spend weeks looking for petroglyph sites while seeing very few people except maybe some real cowboys, sheepherders or a wildlife biologist. Prepare to be astonished by the antelope; the saline lakes like Lake Abert, filled with brine shrimp and covered with thousands of shorebirds, pelicans, ducks and geese; and the ground yields agates, petrified wood, sunstones and jasper. The high desert streams have native redband trout and in spring the wildflowers are spectacular.

In the higher reaches of Fremont National Forest one can find aspen groves and old growth Ponderosa pines along with some wilderness lakes. The whole area is a treasure land for those interested in volcanic geology.

But it is not for everyone. You will either love it or hate it.

-- MELVIN ADAMS, Richland

Idaho adventure

My most favorite place in the world is the Sawtooth National Recreation Area in central Idaho. The Sawtooth Mountains are a beautiful, impressive range laced with fabulous hiking trails. Lakes nestled at the foot of the mountains provide fishing, boating and swimming (although very cold!) options.

The headwaters of the Salmon River are in the Sawtooth Valley, and downstream are opportunities for whitewater rafting. But it's the beauty of the place that touches my soul.

-- LISA RICHMOND, West Richland

Salty tradition

For more than 17 years, our family has gone to Newport on the Oregon Coast. Walking the beach, going to Mo's for Chowder and the boardwalk. Nothing beats this coastal location Now, as a grandfather my grandkids want to go to the Oregon Coast. And this summer we will make another trek to Newport. It has been a family tradition for a long time and it looks like it's not going to end any time soon. Here we go.

-- RON BROWN, Pasco

Crazy about Cascades

Our family of four, with two boys, likes to hike in the mountains when we can. A good day hike from here is Round Mountain in the Goat Rock Wilderness, just east of White Pass. It is a vigorous hike of two miles with quite an elevation gain. But the view at the abandoned fire lookout is spectacular. Mount Adams to the southwest, Mount Rainier to the northwest, Rim Rock Lake and Clear lake straight east and 2,000 feet below us.

On a longer weekend, we have hiked Maple Loop Trail at the Rainy Pass Trailhead on the North Cascades Highway. Again, a challenging hike of eight miles, three mountain passes, one hogback ridge with Lake Ann on your left if you hike it counterclockwise or on your right if you hike it clockwise. Hiking is fun, inexpensive and can be full of surprises.

-- RON SNYDER, Kennewick

Seattle scene

When it comes that time to relax and step away from life, I love going to the Seattle area. Now, I know your first thought may be, why go from one city to the next? To that I say that it's the difference and culture (not to mention beauty) that surrounds the place.

I think many of us can skip the main attractions such as Space Needle but to hit the less known areas such as jazz clubs in alleyways or just a stroll along the marina. When you hit these lesser known areas you can relax and step outside of our daily routine. Add in scenic waterfalls such as Twin Falls and the lesser known Bridal Veil Falls and you're in for a relaxing weekend.

-- RYAN MEARS, Pasco

One for the dogs

My favorite northwest getaway would be Cannon Beach, Ore. The principal reason is that the beach is wide and long, and my dogs love it.

Almost all of the lodging facilities are pet friendly and some of the rooms open up to the beach.

The main problem is cost -- $200 to $400 a night during prime time -- but much lower at other times,which is when we go,

Whatever the cost, it is worth it just to see my dogs run on that beach actually laughing at the experience.

-- BOB GIFFORD, West Richland

British Columbia

Our favorite is to drive to Vancouver, British Columbia, viewing the art exhibits and Museum of Anthropology, then to the gaslight area of downtown Vancouver. People are extremely friendly there.

Then we drive back across southern British Columbia, through Osoyoos, a lesser known Canadian summer resort, then down through Spokane to see the anthropological museum there, then back home to the Tri-Cities.

This is our favorite northwest visit.

-- RON WEED, Kennewick

Keep it close

My favorite Northwest getaway is hiking the neighboring hills and fishing our local rivers. It is birding at the three rivers confluence and taking Sunday drives out through the vineyards and orchards and farms, which lie close to us. My weekend getaway is staying right here, in our beautiful, richly diversified home.

-- RICHARD OLSEN, Prosser

Temporary estate

My Tri-City family has for many years met annually at Williams Lake Resort. We usually booked far ahead and took over the whole resort. We had enough family members to rent all of the cabins.

I've since moved to Clarkston to be near more daughters, but still keep in contact, and my son in New Mexico informed me on Father's Day that they are planning to go to Williams sometime in September. I can't wait.

-- ROBERT V. BATTERTON, Clarkston

Can't name just one

My favorite getaways include, Eagle Creek, Ore. (The cave behind nearby Upper Horsetail falls is a hidden treasure), Beacon Rock (be sure to do the exhilarating climb to the top), Joseph, Ore., Upper Palouse falls (which is comparable to Multnomah or Snoqualmie falls), Iron Mike's carbonated spring, Skamania Lodge, ice caves, and hot-springs (mostly around Stevenson, and White Salmon), Driving through the Big Lava Bed (north of Carson) feels like you are driving on the surface of another planet.

Skagit River is where you can easily see a dozen eagles in their natural habitat. Lake Quinalt and Col. Bob's Wilderness (named after a favorite author of mine, Robert Ingersol), San Juan Islands, Flaming Geyser State Park and Camp Wooten on the Tucannon River.

Cities have their own appeal, and these include Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, British Columbia. (All liberal, but an occasional political environment change is nice).

My wife likes Sisters Ore., particularly during their quilt show (more than 10,000 on display). Richland's Howard Amon Park, Badger Mountain, and I hope soon, the top of Rattlesnake Mountain (Stunning!, I have been to the top for job duties.)

-- D.L. (ANDERSON, Richland

Camp Richland

I can let my three grandchildren answer this question. They visit us once a year for two weeks, and this is their eighth year. They have been to many places -- Spokane, Atlanta, Albuquerque, Seattle, Tennessee, Bonaire, Los Angeles and Richland.

Every year I ask them their favorite "camp" site, and they say in unison: "Richland."

Four things make this this their favorite spot, in no particular order. They can safely ride their bicycles just about anywhere they want. They love playing in Howard Amon Park and walking the river. They love living near the river.

But when I say to them "Why Richland?" The first thing they say, again in unison, is Rosy's Ice Cream and Diner)! They run an open tab at Rosy's Ice Cream and Diner.

-- MACK JONES, Richland

Rock hound paradise

One of my favorite "weekend" getaways is Blewett Pass. Having camped up above the old town of Liberty, I love the ride up to Lions Rock, Cougar Gulch and Red Top Mountain for the geology. Digging for geodes or camping near my favorite abandoned gold mine (secret location), I am never bored with the incredible views of the Teanaway Ridge or riding my motorcycle through the Swauk Prairie area.

There are old abandon mines and excellent forest service roads for all rock hound enthusiasts. I have found many treasures, including crystals, copper, quartz, geodes, and what I deem as "pretty rocks." The wildlife is awesome and great for photography enthusiasts as well.

-- LORENA SWIFT, Richland

Stormy weather

The Oregon Coast between September and January. Manzanita or Pacific City are the best for us.

Good accommodations, great food, room for our dogs to run and mostly no people. The water is cold, the storms are beautiful, the animals and sea creatures are plentiful.

The natives are good people and treat you with quiet dignity. Just a wonderful place to be with those you love, spending quiet times reflecting on the past and the future and having our sons and daughters and grandchildren come and spend a little time playing in the ocean.

-- L. PERKINS, Richland

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