Power Moves: Hiking Hokie goes Pacific Northwest

On August 15th, just before camp ended and I went off to work at Zealand Falls Hut, my friend Jeff (who is mentioned in post “Ice is…”) asked me if I wanted to move to Seattle.  I told him, “well, I don’t have anything else planned, so yeah.”  Now, I’ve moved to Seattle.

Okay, well it’s a little bit more complicated than that, but it’s true, I will be living in Seattle for at least the next year.

Before I arrived, I’d never been to Seattle or the Pacific Northwest.  I don’t know where this decision will take me, but I’m just riding the wave and seeing where it leads.

Things I’m Excited About

I’m really excited to see what the Pacific Northwest has to offer.  First, as you might expect, I’m excited about the mountains.  Washington’s highest peak is Mt. Rainier, which towers above 14,000 feet not too far from downtown Seattle.  Other than my short trips to Colorado and Utah, the peaks of the Cascades will be the highest mountains I’ve ever been to.  I can’t wait to get my feet on the trails.

Seattle is situated in an amazing place, surrounded by 3 large national natural parks, national forest, and national historic sites and recreation areas.  I can’t wait to explore these national treasures, I just hope I can make enough time to get out to all of them.

I’m also very excited about the Puget Sound.  I can’t say I spend very much time engaging in water sports, so I hope to take advantage of the proximity to the water and get some kayaking and stand up paddle boarding in.

Lastly, Seattle is renowned for its food, music, and beer scene.  I can’t wait to taste the flavors and hear the sounds of the Pacific Northwest.  Ideally, I hope to work at a brewery.

Things I’m Nervous About

I must admit, I have definitely taken to the seasonal job/wilderness lifestyle.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working in backcountry settings.  I love being constantly surrounded by forest and few people.  I perceive Seattle will be almost the exact opposite, and that frightens me.  It’s going to be weird living in a city, as my house is located closer to busy street than a lake or waterfall.

With that being said, my expenses are going to be much higher as well.  I hope I can manage these expenses appropriately, as for the majority of my life, including my employment history, room and board has been provided for me.

Something I also think will take some getting used to is the lack of deciduous trees.  As a matter of fact, over the week I’ve been here, I’ve noticed that Seattle has quite a few deciduous trees within the city, which has been comforting to me.  However, I suspect there will be fewer deciduous trees out in the mountains, and the forest will be dominated by pine and fir.  I like pine and fir, but deciduous forest is what I grew up in and feel most comfortable in.

Of course, you cannot have a conversation about Seattle without mention of the weather.  They say it rains all the time.  Over the week I have been here, I have not even seen a drop of rain, and in fact it has been sunny.  While I certainly don’t mind the rain, it sounds like Seattle is on a whole other level, and I’ll be interested to see how I respond.  I am trying to spend as much time outside as possible, particularly by riding my bike around the city.  We’ll see how the rain affects my plans.

Let the exploring begin…

Me and Jeff in front of our apartment
Me and Jeff in front of our apartment

3 thoughts on “Power Moves: Hiking Hokie goes Pacific Northwest

  1. At some point, please come visit the Len Foote Hike Inn in North Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest. Run by a not-for-profit, the Hike Inn is one of the most sustainably designed backcountry lodges in the country. If you like working at Zealand Falls (I love that place), you’ll enjoy visiting the Hike Inn. It requires a gorgeous five-mile hike. Check it out at http://www.hike-inn.com

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