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Two23
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Seattle/NW Washington


My wife has lost her mind. She bought two tickets to Seattle so we could go visit our youngest son (a Microsoft video game programmer) for four days over Thanksgiving. We were out there in July and the weather was perfect. I checked the extended forecast and it shows rain EVERY DAY and temps in the 40s. Cripes, she should have told the kid to meet us in Flagstaff and we'd stay at the Grand Canyon. Anyway, tickets are non-refundable. So where should we head? Would like to get away from the crowded city. We went to Olympic NP and Mt. Rainier NP last summer, but I'm betting anything along the coast will be wet and miserable and most of Rainier will be closed. What about going northeast of Seattle (Redmond?) Wouldn't that dodge most of the traffic? We are from South Dakota so we are used to snow and have the clothing for it. We also have very good rain gear. Four days, where to go? We like rustic lodges. We're the type that likes to hike along wild beaches or to waterfalls, not sit around a bar.


Kent in SD



Nov 11, 2017 at 04:40 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Seattle/NW Washington


I have some experience in the Seattle area — I don't live there, but relatives do (and more used to), so I visit regularly.

In general, Seattle's wet weather is (with exceptions, so watch the weather reports!) rather benign. It may be gray all the time, or nearly so, but most of the time the rain is light and intermittent, and the light can be moody and beautiful. (Compared to South Dakota — where my forebears come from — Seattle is a tropical paradise in winter!)

A few years ago I was there around Thanksgiving and, if I recall correctly, I actually saw a lot of late-stage fall color in parts of the city, including some parks. Look for that.

I've also gone north a ways to the Skagit Valley, an interesting photographic opportunity in its own right, and photographed snow geese and trumpeter swans.

If you do street photography, Seattle rain is a great mood enhancer...

Dan






"Snow Goose Maelstrom" — Skagit Valley, Washington

- - -







You-know-where, Seattle



Nov 11, 2017 at 05:41 PM
kwilliam8
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Seattle/NW Washington


I have lived in the Seattle area for about 30 years. Generally speaking, it does not rain hard in western Washington. However, in my experience, November (and early December) is the worse weather month of the year. Storms are common in November, and often bring heavy rain and strong winds. Flooding from swollen rivers is common in November. Good rain gear is a must.

Now, where to go? It depends on what you want to do. Being at the coast of the Olympic peninsula during a November storm can be an experience to remember, but probably not a great photography opportunity. Generally speaking, our rainy season weather comes from the SW. The Olympic Mountains provide a bit of a rain shadow to their north and east. So, the NE portion of the Olympic peninsula is drier, as are the San Juan Islands and other areas like the northern end of Whidbey Island. Deception Pass state park (northern Whidbey Island and southern Fidalgo Island) is drier and very photogenic. The Skagit river valley is nearby to the east, and many of the swans have already returned for the winter, and some of the snow geese have returned. A great place to view these are on Fir Island (south and west of Mount Vernon).

Expect wet weather, rejoice if you see the sun, and enjoy being with your son!
Keith W.













Nov 11, 2017 at 08:35 PM
Two23
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Seattle/NW Washington


We have flocks of snow geese that number in the hundreds of thousands each that pass through in the spring. Impressive to see (and hear!)


Kent in SD



Nov 11, 2017 at 11:48 PM
 

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bflood
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Seattle/NW Washington


The Skagit Valley is a good suggestion. The delta where the river nears Puget Sound is flat farmland, and becomes a winter home to all the snow geese. Great large-bird shooting opportunity.

The Skagit also has a winter salmon run that varies dramatically in size from year to year. Thanksgiving may be a bit early for the run - maybe kwilliam8 can offer some local expertise on this. If the run has started, AND IF the run has a good number of fish, it will attract eagles from around the Pacific NW. If this happens, eagles can be seen from the delta eastward into the river valley. Timing is everything - but maybe you'll be lucky.

The San Juan Islands is also a good suggestion. Pleasant places, those islands, and good shooting opportunities. Coastal rain like Seattle experiences is due in part to the mountains just inland - force air coming onshore to rise, enhancing the rainfall. The San Juans are far enough out from the coastal mountains to not have this enhanced rainfall. As a result, I think this could make for a nicer environment to visit and to shoot.



Nov 12, 2017 at 03:12 AM
kwilliam8
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Seattle/NW Washington


We have a lot of bald eagles that stay around the Puget Sound all year. However, in the late fall and early winter, there is an influx of bald eagles due to various Salmon runs. Late November into December is good for the Nooksack river (just north of the Skagit river). Late December into early February is good for the Skagit river (and not just the Skagit delta area, but upstream as far as Marblemount). The Skagit river delta (i.e., Fir Island) is also good for many times of birds, and is pretty good year round. It's a good place to see many types of raptors, especially in fall/winter.

One other thing that I forgot to mention. Since we appear to be in another La Nina weather pattern, the national weather service expects that the PNW weather will be colder and wetter than normal (although we set numerous local rain records last year). FWIW, the forecast for the next two weeks is rainy and windy. That rain will likely be snow over the 1000 feet elevation. Several seasonal mountain passes have just closed for the season due to avalanche danger.

I hope all this information helps you, Kent.
Keith W.



Nov 12, 2017 at 04:42 AM
sullivanrp
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Seattle/NW Washington


Since you like to hike I'd highly recommend the washington trails association's website as a resource:
wta.org - there are trip reports that hikers submit as well as thorough information for a majority of hikes in the state and western washington area. Close to the city options include the chirico trail, mount si, little si, and rattlesnake lake. All of these are well trafficked given their proximity to Seattle, but when the weather is poor parking doesn't ever seem to be an issue (the website also fills you in on parking passes needed if applicable, important to know). If you had the time/drive you may also rent snowshoes from REI locally for a trip to snoqualmie pass and one of the many hikes in that area (snow lake, to name one). Most hikes are fairly well covered, so the rain isn't a terrible bother until you get to view points.

The moisture and grey skies may not seem entirely photogenic, but I do find some beautiful opportunities created by low hanging clouds moving through the hills and valley east of Seattle.

There should be some leftover fall colors on their way out, but not many. If you want to plan a fun day trip or overnight trip, Leavenworth may be worth looking into via highway 2 through Steven's Pass. Should be a pretty drive.

If you need any more information, restaurant recommendations, etc. feel free to message me. I grew up in Redmond and now live in West Seattle and have explored a decent amount of the state.



Nov 14, 2017 at 09:38 PM







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