The Evergreen State

The winter rainy gloom that the Seattle area seems to be known for is a thing, I am sorry to say. The upside is that unlike other places I have lived that look dead during the winter, Washington truly is the evergreen state. Even in the winter, there is green everywhere that you look.

This got me thinking about the state tree. I thought for sure it would be the Douglas Fir. Nope, that’s Oregon’s state tree. Washington’s state tree is the Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla). The Western Hemlock is an evergreen conifer that grows in the Western U.S. close to the Pacific coast. It can be a long-lived tree reaching heights well over 200 feet. It’s a shade tolerant tree that can grow in the canopy of other trees, like the Douglas Fir, but it eventually overtakes them.

Hug a tree!



Our state flag

One of the things that surprised me when I moved to Washington was that all of the road signs that had George Washington’s likeness on them. I guess I should not have been surprised since the state is named in honor of our popular first president, George Washington.

One of my regular readers asked me to do a post about the state flag and I learned a few interesting tidbits. (Thank you, Wikipedia!)

Washington became the 42nd state in 1889, but the flag was not adopted until 1923. The Washington chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution designed the first flag and pushed for its adoption. It has changed a bit over the years to standardize the colors and there was an update of the seal in the late 1960s.

It’s the only green state flag in the United States (but, hey–we are the Evergreen State) and the only one to depict a U.S. president. This depiction is also Washington’s state seal.


Exploring Oly

Frye Cove Park in Olympia

We moved to Olympia two years ago, and we are still getting to know this little evergreen town that the locals call Oly.  I hope you will join me on this journey through this Pacific Northwest gem. We will go shopping, get outside, visit local attractions.

Olympia, Washington is located in western Washington and is one of the cities along the Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean. The USGS considers the Puget Sound to be an estuary and in the United States, it is second in size only to the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. That puts Olympia just about at sea level with water all around. Olympia is Washington’s capital with a population of about 50,000 in the city and about 250,000 in surrounding Thurston County.

A couple of things you might not know:

It looks like Olympia is close to Seattle but if you have ever made the drive on I-5, you might feel differently. Those 50ish miles can take three or four hours to traverse depending on traffic. It’s worth the trip, but I would not call it close. 

It doesn’t rain here all the time. The summers are actually pretty dry. Other times, you might feel like building an ark.

Those perfect summer days are wonderfully LONNNNNNNNG. I drove home from an event last summer after 9 pm and still had light all the way home. The not-so-perfect winter days are SHORT. More on coping with short days later.

There’s a salmon run here! More on that later in the year. You don’t want to miss it.

Olympia is near Olympic National Park, a vast and incredibly diverse National Park.

To know her is to love her. Welcome to Olympia!


Today’s weather: it’s cold and sunny today but with limited visibility near the water. No rain! About 37°F at 12:30 pm.