Exploring The Diversity Of Washington State

Washington State exhibits some of the most diverse geographic and climate features of any state in the United States of America. From east-to-west and north-to-south, the state shows a wide variety of terrain, geology, temperatures, and populations. Eastern Washington and Western Washington, divided by the Cascade Mountains, display some especially contrasting landscapes.

Western Washington

By far the more populated region of Washington, the western part of the state is also the area that feels the brunt of the near legendary rainy weather. The I-5 Corridor stretches north-to-south and goes through communities like Bellingham, Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, and Vancouver on its way from Canada to Mexico. In the north near the Canadian border and the city of Bellingham, the land is forested in most places right up to Puget Sound. Winters are harshest here compared to the rest of Western Washington but are very bearable. Bellingham is also home to one of the six state universities, Western Washington University.

The Seattle-Tacoma area is home to the largest concentration of people in the state of Washington. Seattle is also the business and finance capital of the state and home to professional sports franchises as well as the University of Washington. Seattle has a vibrant downtown area highlighted by the waterfront and world famous Pike Place Market. Ferry service is essential to Seattle and the rest of Western Washington as so many population centers are located on and around Puget Sound. Seattle sits right on Interstate 5 which runs north-to-south, and is also at western most end of the I-90 which is the longest Interstate freeway in the United States (the other end of I-90 is in Boston, Massachusetts). SeaTac Airport, serving the entire state and a major jump off point for flights to Alaska, Hawaii, and Asia is located between Seattle and Tacoma.

To the south, Olympia is the state capital and home to The Evergreen State College. Olympia’s weather is similar to Seattle’s and it too sits on Puget Sound. Olympia is a kind of hub for travelers as from there you can go west to the Pacific Ocean, northwest to the Olympic Peninsula, east to Mount Rainier, north to Seattle and further on to Canada, and south to the lower Cascade Mountains and Oregon.

The most northwestern portion of Washington State is known as the Olympic Peninsula. The Olympic Peninsula is home to Olympic National Park, Hurricane Ridge, Dungeness Spit, Neah Bay, the Hoh Rain Forest, and much more. Popular with tourists, it is possible in one day on the Olympic Peninsula to go from the beaches of Puget Sound, to the old growth forest and mountain peaks of the Olympic National Park, to the one and only rain forest in the continental United States, and finally to the Pacific Ocean.

South of the Olympic Peninsula sit the coastal areas of Ocean Shores, Grays Harbor, and Long Beach. This area of the state, though beautiful, is primarily focused on ocean based tourism, lumber, and marine industries. Further south is the city of Vancouver which sits right across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.

Eastern Washington

The second most populous city in Washington State, behind Seattle, is Spokane which is located in Eastern Washington near the border with Idaho. North of Spokane is the sparsely populated Colville area and further on is the Canadian border. This northeast corner of the state has what can be described as dry arid forests. Spokane is home to many of the common things you find in mid-sized cities like minor league sports, assorted colleges, large parks with many events, and major media outlets. Interstate 90 runs right through Spokane and is the major east-west route across the state. Just outside of Spokane is the community of Cheney which is home to Eastern Washington University.

South of the Spokane area is the southeastern section of Washington State, here lies the other major state university, Washington State University in Pullman. Walla Walla and the Tri-Cities (consisting of Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick) area are the major population centers of Southeast Washington. The land here was originally natural grassland and prairies but has been for the most part changed over to farming and agriculture thanks to the irrigation projects on the Snake and Columbia Rivers.

The Central Washington area is usually the term describing the region surrounding Ellensburg and Yakima. Ellensburg is home to Central Washington University and the Ellensburg Rodeo. Ellensburg also sits right on I-90 and is one of the last towns you stop at before heading over the Cascade Mountains to Western Washington. Yakima is the main population center in Central Washington and also a travel hub. From Yakima you can go southeast towards the Tri-Cities, south to Oregon, east towards Moses Lake and Spokane, north to Ellensburg, and west crossing the Cascade Mountains via White Pass to Western Washington. There are areas of Central Washington that are arid enough to actually qualify as desert land. Thanks to irrigation, the Central Washington area is a highly successful agricultural area. Wheat fields, grape vineyards, apple and pear orchards, and more cover the landscape of Central Washington.

Wenatchee is the most populated city in the North Central Washington region. The southern and central part of the North Central Washington area is scarred arid land carved by a giant ice age era flood that covered most of Eastern Washington. This flood created huge gouges that resemble canyons and valleys and are called coulees. The Columbia River dominates the North Central Washington area and the energy and irrigation made possible by it’s hydroelectric dams have been a boon to the region. The gem of these is the Grand Coulee Dam located about two hours northeast of Wenatchee. The Grand Coulee Dam backs up water all the way to the Canadian border. Also in the vicinity of Grand Coulee Dam is Banks Lake, a manmade lake made by damming and filling up a coulee with water pumped from the Columbia River below. Downstream from Grand Coulee Dam is Chief Joseph Dam which is the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the nation. Lake Chelan is the largest natural lake in Washington State and sits near the geographic center of the state. At the northwestern end of the lake sits the town of Stehekin which you can only reach by boat, hiking trail, or water plane – no roads lead there. To the north sits what is referred to as the Okanogan country, right on the border with Canada. Rocky rugged forests meet arid steppe lands to make some of the most beautiful country in the United States.

The Cascade Mountains

The Cascade Mountains run generally from north-to-south dividing the State of Washington in half. There are five mountains in the Cascades that are classified as active volcanoes; Mt. Baker, Glacier Peak, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Adams. The Cascade Mountains receive an excessive amount of snow during the winter and are a favorite place to head for anyone with interests in hiking, skiing, mountain climbing, rock climbing, camping, fishing, hunting, mountain biking, and more.

There you have it, when it comes to diversity in climates and terrain; no other state can match Washington State. Home to modern cities, an actual rain forest, desert-like conditions, a major mountain range, Puget Sound, the Pacific Ocean, the Columbia River, and tons of other lakes and rivers, Washington State has it all. Whether you live there already or are planning a visit – explore Washington State today.

Places To Elope in Washington State: 6 Fun Location Ideas For Your Easy and Small Wedding Ceremony

Each year, many couples decide to nix a splashy wedding ceremony and celebration and instead elope to Washington State. Washington State and the Pacific Northwest offer some of the most fantastic elopement locations and venues for a couple and with picturesque mountains, water, countryside and much more, this State offers many wedding site options.

As you consider "where" to elope in Washington State, here are 6 fun location ideas for your easy and small wedding ceremony:

1) Leavenworth, Washington – A two-hour ride from Seattle, Leavenworth is a sweet little German town that welcomes weddings of all sizes in a big day. Here, you can find quaint inns and bed and breakfast places offering elopement packages at affordable rates, especially during off-season. While in Leavenworth, you can get married, enjoy a great overnight or two at a special place and sometimes celebrate your wedding bliss by taking advantage of many of the guided outdoor adventures – cross-country skiing, white water rafting or hiking.

2) Ruby Beach and the Washington State Coast – The Coast of Washington is a big place and little known Ruby is a beautiful and mesmerizing place to exchange wedding vows. Ruby Beach is located just South of Forks, Washington. Once you reach Ruby Beach, you and your officiant and witnesses can take a short hike down to the ocean and get married waterside. Consult the tide schedule to insure a best time for your ceremony and also take a peek at the map and Washington State ferry schedule as you plan your journey to the Washington Coast. For instance, if you are traveling to Ruby Beach from Seattle, it will take you 4-6 hours to get there, depending on what route you take.

3) Ashford, Washington (Mount Rainier) – If you and your Sweetheart are outdoor enthusiasts, consider getting married near or at the base of Mount Rainier. Eloping to the Ashford area and Mt. Rainier is best in the Spring and Summer season and the surrounding area offers luxurious as well as rustic accommodations for your wedding night.

4) Tulalip Resort & Casino – Calling all casino lovers! Believe it or not, the popular Tulalip Casino & Resort hosts a number of small and intimate wedding ceremonies each year. Located one hour North of Seattle, this plush resort does not offer a fabulous casino but a wonderful resort where you can snuggle in and relish in your new married status!

5) The San Juan Islands (on the ferry or Island) – There is nothing more fun than getting married on a Washington State Ferry and / or hitching a ride on ferry and getting married on a Puget Sound island. Orcas Island and San Juan Island are two of the most popular "marrying islands" in Washington and offers a wide variety of locations and venues. Contact the Chamber of Commerce on both Islands for venue information.

6) Port Townsend, Washington – This seaside town is a favorite for couples in Washington State who wants to elope but do not want to travel too far. Port Townsend offers waterside locations as well as city parks for your wedding ceremony. And if you want to be married in a historic castle, check out Port Townsend's Manresa Castle!

Dangerous Dog Ordinances, Stevens County, Washington – Title 12 – Straight Talk – Know Your Rights!

Reacting to a series of dog attacks and problems in recent years in the Counties, both Stevens County and Spokane County in Washington State (and nationwide) have adopted new regulations for dealing with potentially dangerous and vicious dogs. Since I am a citizen of Stevens County, I will speak to the new Title 20 ordinance adopted in December 2007 by Stevens County.

Stevens County’s new set of dangerous dog laws is designed to put the accountability on the owner and not just the animal. At this date, Stevens County does not have any designated animal control authority other than the Stevens County Sheriff. Under its new Title 20 ordinance, the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office now has more authority to find that a dog is dangerous or potentially dangerous and impose corrective actions to protect the public. Owners are given further opportunity to appeal the Stevens County Sheriff’s designation to the courts.

By definition under the newly adopted Title 20, a “potentially dangerous” dog is one that has a known propensity, tendency, or disposition to cause an unprovoked attack or to cause injury or otherwise threaten the safety of humans or domestic animals. A “dangerous dog” has caused unprovoked severe injury to a human being, or has killed a domestic animal while off the owner or keeper’s property, or has previously been found “potentially dangerous” and aggressively attacks again or endangers safety. Both the “potentially dangerous” dog and “dangerous dog” designations under the Stevens County, Washington Title 20, carry similar consequences for owners and their dog(s). Stevens County has imposed more restrictive measures under the “potentially dangerous” dog designation than under current Washington State law.

If a dog is found to be “dangerous” or “potentially dangerous”, the owner must register the dogs within 14 days of the County Sheriff’s determination, and the registration will only be accepted if the owner agrees to placement of an identifying microchip inserted in the animal, payment of the first registration fee and an annual registration fee, and to keep the dog enclosed indoors or in a proper enclosure. Proper enclosure is defined under Title 20 as a kennel that contains an enclosed top as well as sides. If the dog is allowed outside the enclosure, it must be muzzled and restrained with a 3-foot chain with a 300 lb. tensile strength. An owner cannot sell or transfer ownership, custody or residence of the dog without notifying the County Sheriff and notifying the new owner of the dog’s record with an acknowledgment signed by the new owner of the terms and conditions of his maintenance while in Stevens County, Washington. In extreme cases, presumably the County Sheriff as the animal control officer has the authority to decide if the dog must be destroyed. While I can understand the adoption of Title 20 and its ordinances and the “dangerous dog” designation and the purpose and merit behind its adoption, the “potentially dangerous dog” designation appears to be nearly impossible to regulate and this particular designation is ripe for abuse.

I am relatively certain many of us have experienced a difficult neighbor a time or two. For whatever reason, certain individuals seem to have nothing better to do than complain about their neighbors’ pets, the broken down automobile, hobbies, or anything else that may annoy them at any given time. In fact for some people, they seem to make complaining their hobby. In rural Stevens County, Washington and other rural areas that are moving rapidly toward development, there will always be conflicts between country neighbors with differing views on a rural lifestyle. The Title 20 “potentially dangerous” dog designation provides these people with just one more avenue for conflict and additional ammunition for harassment. An additional danger for citizens is that the entire hearing process as applied through the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office, under both designations, appears to be fundamentally flawed and unconstitutional.

I have spoken to several residents in the County where harassment by a nuisance neighbor, through Title 20, appears to have occurred to their detriment. The new Stevens County, Washington Title 20 “potentially dangerous dog” designation seems to make it particularly easy for a nuisance neighbor to harass another neighbor. Since the recent adoption of Title 20 in December 2007, I have discovered that several citizens have been struggling to defend against false and/or frivolous allegations about their companion dogs. One citizen found herself the target of a nuisance allegation by a problem neighbor and the Stevens County Sheriff concerning her “potentially dangerous” dogs, after her complaining neighbor’s dog pulled her show dog through her own fence and killed it. Apparently a complaint was lodged by the nuisance neighbor against the deceased show dog as a preemptive strike. How many Stevens County citizens have simply forfeited their right to ownership of a companion dog because of nuisance allegations they could not afford to defend and unconstitutional actions being taken by Stevens County public officials? All a nuisance neighbor may now have to do is claim that a dog barked at them, and the dog’s owner may be hit with a predetermined “potentially dangerous” dog designation, fees, an embarrassing public hearing and media coverage, and other severe restrictions on their dog by the Stevens County Sheriff.

I suppose the best part of the new Title 20 ordinance is the appeal process since a dog is already predetermined by the Stevens County Sheriff to either be “dangerous” or “potentially dangerous” prior to a hearing. However, many poor people do not have the resources to legally fight back against an initial and possibly frivolous determination by the Stevens County Sheriff in advance of a public hearing. Attorney fees, at a rate of $200 per hour to defend against this type of nuisance action, may be in the range of $2,000 – $40,000+.

There are other potential problems in carrying out the new Stevens County Title 20 ordinances. The problems I reference below, as well as others I have not highlighted in this article, have already emerged in other states and Washington State counties — King and Spokane County, Washington, for example. The courts in King County and Spokane County have recently ruled upon the controversial dangerous dog ordinances and procedures. In King County, for example, in the recent dangerous dog case of Mansour v. King County tried by animal law attorney Adam Karp, where Mansour was found to have been denied due process, the Washington State Court of Appeals ruled: “Due process essentially requires the opportunity to be heard at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner”. . . “An adequate standard of proof is a mandatory safeguard.” ” The standard of proof instructs the fact finder “concerning the degree of confidence our society thinks he should have in the correctness of the factual conclusions” . . .. While the Stevens County Sheriff continues to sit as the investigating official, the judge and jury in these potentially dangerous and dangerous dog cases, how much confidence can the public place in any factual conclusion made by the Sheriff’s Office?

In Spokane County in a “potentially dangerous dog” case, Judge Austin of the Spokane County Superior Court ruled that Spokane’s “dangerous dog” ordinance is unconstitutional because it denies pet owners the right of due process, and that as a matter of law the administrative procedures used in the City of Spokane regarding “dangerous dog” determinations and appeals from those rulings violate citizens’ due process rights. In their current system, dogs tagged as “dangerous” by the city and its contractor, SpokAnimal, are deemed to be just that unless the owner can prove otherwise — flying in the face of the notion of presumed innocence. The judge ruled that the City violated (in this case) Patty Schoendorf’s rights by taking her property — her dogs –and intended to destroy them after a hearing where she was not allowed to cross-examine or impeach witnesses involved in the dog’s impoundment. She also wasn’t given access to documents in the City’s “dangerous dog” file, and the opportunity to rebut those allegations — another denial of due process guaranteed by the Constitution. The judge not only ordered Spokanimal to immediately release the dogs, he also ordered the City of Spokane to pay legal bills for a team of attorneys – Robert Caruso, Richard Lee and Cheryl Mitchell, animal law attorneys.

While I would like to say that I trust the Sheriff’s Animal Control Officers to ensure that there is a real danger to the public, the truth (and therein the problem) is that in Stevens County there is currently no separation of powers from the onset of the initial investigation, the Sheriff’s determination of “potentially dangerous dog”, and finally to the Sheriff’s ruling following a public hearing that a dog is “potentially dangerous”. The Stevens County Animal Control Authority (the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office) sits as the investigator, judge and jury. Where is our guaranteed system of checks and balances in this process? The following is generally the procedure used under the Stevens County “potentially dangerous” dog designation:

(1) When a complainant calls to make a report, he makes it to the Stevens County

Sheriff’s Office, the designated animal control authority in Stevens County;

(2) A Stevens County Sheriff’s Officer may be dispatched to the scene to presumably thoroughly investigate the dog incident and take an incident report. A thorough and complete investigation may or may not occur, and in fact the dog’s owner may not even be allowed to tell their side of the story to the Officer or see the complaint, the results of the investigation, and may not even be advised of the name of the complainant by the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s goal in these cases appears to be to hold back all relevant documents and evidence entirely from the accused pet owner until a day or two before the hearing, stating that the procedure is still in the “investigational stage”– similar to a criminal proceeding. The pet owner has no time to prepare a defense;

(3) After the Sheriff takes an incident report from the complainant, the owner of the alleged offending dog(s) is then promptly advised by a Stevens County Sheriff’s Officer that he/she must submit to photographing of his/her dog(s), prior to the dog owner receiving any kind of a notice or citation from the Stevens County Animal Control Authority (the Sheriff). Notice of the alleged incident may simply be a Sheriff’s Officer arriving on the doorstep or at your gate, and advising you that he is required to take photographs of your dogs as “part of the hearing process”. At this point, you may not even have notice of any hearing. The photographing process may or may not involve a Stevens County Sheriff’s Officer demanding entrance onto your private property or requesting entrance into your home, for the stated purpose of photographing your dog(s).

Citizens, please be aware that a dog is designated as “personal property” in the State of Washington and other states. The Washington State Constitution and U.S. Constitution protect individuals against unlawful searches and seizures concerning your personal property.

The simple act of entering onto private property for the purpose of taking photographs of personal property, without the direct or implied consent of the property owner and without a search warrant, is unlawful. Generally speaking, warrants are signed by judges or commissioners in criminal matters. At this point, this procedure is still considered a civil or administrative matter. There appears to be something inherently wrong with this process from the outset. (The rule that I have personally imposed is not to let anyone onto my property without my express invitation (or a warrant). My directive to this effect seems to work for most people.)

Of course, there are “exigent circumstances” exceptions under the law to the warrant requirement. Exigent circumstances generally arise when a law enforcement officer may have reasonable ground to believe that there is an immediate need to protect his life, the life of others, their property, or that of others, the search is not motivated by an intent to arrest and seize evidence, and there is some reasonable basis to associate an emergency with the area or place to be searched. None of these exigent circumstances is likely to exist in a Title 20 dangerous or potentially dangerous dog investigation which would allow a public official to trespass for the purpose of photographing dogs.

4) The owner of the alleged offending dog will then receive a certified letter or personal service by the Stevens County Sheriff’, notifying the dog’s owner that their dog has already been deemed a “potentially dangerous” dog or “dangerous dog” under their new Title 20 ordinance. The owner’s dog is deemed “guilty” before tried, based generally only upon a report made by a complainant. That complainant could be made by anyone with “axe to grind”. The dog is declared guilty in advance of a public hearing before the Stevens County Sheriff’s Department. The investigating agency (the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office) then amazingly plays the role of the judge and jury at this public hearing where the dog’s owner is required to prove that his/her dog is not dangerous, or potentially dangerous. Please be aware that you (as the accused) are not required to prove anything. The burden of proof falls upon your accusers to make their case, and not you. Public testimony will be taken by the Sheriff, and you will receive a subsequent notice of his final ruling. This entire process usurps constitutional protections afforded each citizen under Washington State and U.S. Constitutions. Any hearing in a “potentially dangerous dog” or “dangerous dog” case should be set before an impartial judge or hearing officer. The Sheriff cannot rule on issues as a matter of law.

It is my understanding and belief that any public hearing conducted by a public official(s) in Washington State must follow the law and procedures under either the Washington State Open Meetings Act or Administrative Procedures Act. Since a dangerous dog hearing does not really meet the criteria under the Open Meetings Act, the hearing process should follow the Washington State Administrative Procedures Act. If you are not familiar with this Act, familiarize yourself with it and your rights under this Act. This law can be found in the public library under 34.05 RCW (Revised Code of Washington). Insist that any dangerous dog hearing you may be a party to comply with these lawful procedures.

Citizens, please take heed! The Stevens County Title 20 dangerous dog ordinances are dangerous to you in that they can potentially escalate into a criminal matter if you do not comply with the severe restrictions imposed on your dog, or if the dog is again the subject of a complaint. You must contest the letter/notice that you receive from the Stevens County, Washington Sheriff’s Office and promptly return it via Certified US Mail or Delivery Confirmation. Also enclose your own letter stating you contest your dog’s predetermined designation by the Sheriff, and that you demand a lawful hearing before a bona fide hearing officer conducted under the Washington State Administrative Procedures Act. If you do not sign and return the Notice from the County Sheriff, the “potentially dangerous dog” designation is automatically applied by the Sheriff to your dog through your inaction.

Once you have been deemed to own a “potentially dangerous” dog or “dangerous” dog, all regulations, restrictions, fees and other penalties under the new ordinances apply to you and your dog. The Title 20 regulations, restrictions, fees and other penalties have severe consequences for both you and your dog. If you do not comply with these new regulations following the final determination of your “potentially dangerous dog” or “dangerous dog”, then you possibly may be issued a criminal citation. Potentially you may be thrust into the position of defending yourself as a criminal. Moreover, your homeowner’s insurance may be cancelled or be prohibitively expensive in the future, and you may be forced to carry an expensive bond if you intend to keep your dog in the County.

The Title 20 dangerous dog ordinances can be dangerous to your health and welfare and your dog’s health and welfare, particularly if you do not exercise your constitutional rights. I would highly recommend hiring an attorney, if you can afford one. Hire someone who specializes in animal law, for instance one of the attorneys mentioned in this article. If you cannot afford one and are low income, call CLEAR at their toll free number in Washington State to see if you can qualify for free legal assistance. Other possible sources of legal assistance are the Gonzaga Law School, or the Washington State Bar Association who may have a referral to a pro bono (free) attorney.

Please exercise your civil and constitutional rights and familiarize yourselves with this new set of laws under Stevens County, Washington – Title 20. Please do not allow your valuable rights to be trampled upon by public officials or you may lose them. Do not allow yourself to become their victim.

Last but not least, please recognize and be aware that you do not have to allow anyone onto your private property, in most cases, without a warrant. It surprises me that many citizens do not know this. If there is any doubt in your mind, please respectfully ask the person requesting permission to enter onto your private property “do you have a warrant?” Express to them that without a signed warrant, that person does not have your consent to enter onto your private property. This rule generally applies to most everyone, public officials included, unless they have an implied right to enter such as a meter reader. With respect to your private property rights, generally speaking, what applies to any other private citizen who wants entrance to your property applies to public officials as well. Post your gates and property with “No Trespassing” and “Beware of Dog” signs to protect yourself — approximately every 50 feet. Also fence your property with at least a 5-6 foot fence if you own a dog, for additional protection. Electrify your fence, if necessary, if you are in a rural area. Fence chargers, including solar fence chargers, can be purchased for $30 and up and are quite effective as a deterrent to entrance and exit by animals.

I recognize that this article may not be “politically correct” in this climate as this is a sensitive issue right now. I am aware that it may anger those who are truly at risk or who have been victims of genuinely dangerous dogs. I agree that genuinely dangerous dogs are a threat to public safety. However, I submit that while the intent behind Title 20 and other dangerous dog laws is good and I agree with its intent, the process to apply and regulate under these laws has been poorly thought out and implemented in general by Stevens County, Washington and other counties around Washington State (and our nation) in trying to protect the public safety. In trying to protect the public health and safety, individual constitutional rights, due process, and privacy cannot be ignored. If you do not exercise your rights, you will forfeit those valuable rights guaranteed to you by the U.S. and Washington State constitutions. You also may be forced to relinquish your beloved family pet, euthanize it, move out of the County, or live with severe restrictions on the animal and very expensive insurance.

Ascending New Hampshire’s Mount Washington

1. Mount Washington:

If the White Mountains wore a crown, it would look like Mount Washington, the highest peak in New Hampshire, New England, and the northeast, cresting at 6,288 feet. Yet, the greater the obstacle, the greater seems to be its attraction, and it is this philosophy which has served as its magnet for hikers, skiers, and technology-tamers-that is, those who sought to surmount it by road and rail-all in the conquering spirit of “reaching the top.”

Originally designated “Agiochooki”-the Indian word for “home of the Great Spirit,” “the place of the spirit of the forest,” and “the place of the storm spirit”-it was seen as the exalted domain of just such a deity, “Gitche Manitos,” and any attempted ascent was therefore considered sacrilegious. Non-Native Americans, however, did not think so and did not hesitate to try.

Its obstacles were not to be underestimated. Surrounded by 5,372-foot Mount Monroe, 5,716-foot Mount Jefferson, and 5,533-foot Mount Clay, Mount Washington itself, a melange of metaphoric rock and characterized by ancient alpine glacier-carved ravines, lies at the center of three storm tracks in the Presidential Range and its prehistoric continental ice sheet covering left vegetation above its tree line only found in the near-arctic regions of Labrador. Its slopes are drained by several rivers, including the Ammonoosuc, the Dry, the Rocky Branch, the New, the Cutler, and the Peabody.

Below-zero temperatures on more than 65 days per year ensure summit permafrost, and hurricane wind velocities of at least 75 mph pound it on more than half of its winter days. Its lowest temperature was -49 degrees Fahrenheit and highest wind velocity 231 mph, as recorded at its summit on April 12, 1934.

Yet, none of this daunted summit-strivers. The initial path, so to speak, was forged in 1642 when Darby Field, aided by two Indian guides, made the first recorded climb, while the first scientific mission, the Belknap-Cutler Expedition, was conducted more than a century later, in 1784, when it was undertaken for the purpose of measurement and alpine plant collection.

Renamed Mount Washington after then-General George Washington, it was also the target of Colonel George Gibbs, a mineralogist, who cleared its first path in 1809, but made several successive climbs since then.

Forging their own summit-surmounting path a decade later, Abel and Ethan Allen Crawford, a father-and-son team, passed it to brother Thomas, who considerably improved it between 1838 and 1840 by widening it and rendering it suitable for horse negotiation. Although it has no current equestrian use, it remains as the Crawford Bridle Path and is maintained by the White Mountain National Forest.

Each “step up” brought those path blazers to new strata as the flora and fauna reflected the climactic conditions generated by their elevation-associated temperatures, which dip three degrees with every 1,000 feet, and wind and precipitation, which commensurably increase.

Between 2,000 and 2,500 feet, for example, hardwood forests-of American beech, sugar maple, yellow birch, white ash, white pine, red maple, red spruce, Eastern hemlock, and red oak-predominate, becoming spruce-fir forests, of balsam and red varieties, up to 4,000 feet.

As if malnourished, the balsam fir trees creating their own system become stunted at about 4,500 feet, yielding to the short transition, or Krummholz, zone, up to 4,800 feet, where twisted and slanted trees mark the end of the forest and the beginning of the alpine area. The latter, considered above the tree line, is no longer able to support tree growth because of its pounding rain, snow, fierce winds, and intolerable temperatures, and instead incubates robust, low-lying plants.

There are two significant plateaus above 5,000 feet: Bigelow Lawn, an alpine meadow with arctic sedges, and Alpine Meadow, abundant, as its name suggests, with alpine wildflowers.

The summit is a rocky, desolate, wind-swept moonscape whose view of the other Presidential Range peaks is awe-inspiring when the clouds allow it.

In order to take up the challenge imposing Mount Washington seems to propose, visitors have three principle means of doing so: by foot, road, or rail.

2. Foot:

Most of the challenges early ascenders had faced remain for modern-day hikers and climbers. Because of the mountain’s weather severity and changeability, the season for either is relatively short, running from Memorial to Columbus Day, with often-encountered mud, snow, and ice after this time. Winter surmounts, fraught with the most frigid temperatures, highest winds, deepest snow accumulations, and the least amount of daylight, should only be attempted by the most fit, trained, experienced, and provisioned. Ravines expose climbers to potential avalanches and the summit is usually shrouded in cloud.

Indeed, a sign located at the mountain’s approach warns, “Stop! The area ahead has the worst weather in America. Many have died there from exposure, even in the summer. Turn back now if the weather is bad. White Mountain National Forest.”

Trails vary according to length, elevation gain, gradient, severity, and obstacle, and run the spectrum from short, low-elevation hikes to full, summit-surmounting climbs. Of the latter, there are several.

From the west, for example, the Ammonoosuc River Trail, passing waterfalls, the Lakes of the Clouds, and the Appalachian Mountain Club hut, offers a 3,800-foot elevation gain and covers a 9.2-mile round trip distance. The Jewell Trail, Gulfside Trail, and Trinity Heights Connector, with only a 100-foot greater elevation gain, offers a ten-mile round trip path that initially follows the westerly ridge of Mount Clay before leading to Mount Washington and crosses both the Ammonoosuc River and the Cog Railway tracks.

There are two approaches from the east, both of which are accessible from Route 16 in Pinkham Notch. The first, the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, offers a 4,250-foot elevation gain and an 8.4-mile round trip distance. Because of its moderate grades, it is the most popular. The second, also encompassing the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, as well as the Boot Spur Trail and the Davis and Crawford paths, entails a 4,300-foot elevation gain. At 10.6 miles in length, it is both rougher and longer than the previous routing, but is also considerably more scenic.

The Glen Boulder Trail, combined with the Davis and Crawford paths, affords a southeasterly approach, again from Route 16, and entails a 4,400-foot elevation gain during its 11.4-mile round trip stretch.

From the northeast, the Great Gulf and Gulfside trails, with the Trinity Heights Connector, penetrates the deep, secluded Great Gulf Valley and proceeds over the 1,600-foot rocky headwall, delivering a 5,000-foot elevation gain and the longest, 15.8-mile round trip distance.

3. Road

Present-day sport, of mountain climbing, followed and emulated past-day necessity to reach Mount Washington’s summit, but a designated trail for equestrian and wagon negotiation was soon proposed. Abel Crawford, reaching the top on horseback as early as 1840, paved the way-at least in idea.

Access, to the mountain’s peak, is exactly what bred it-in the form of rail to its base. In order to provide an overland route to transport wheat from Montreal to Portland, the Atlantic and Saint Lawrence (later Grand Trunk) Railroad laid track in 1851, carrying passengers into Gorham, New Hampshire. Quickly assessing the area’s tourism potential, it invested in infrastructure, including the Alpine House Hotel, a road to Pinkham Notch, and the peak-pinnacling Glen Bridle Path, at the foot of which rose the First Glen House.

But the desire to triumph over Mount Washington’s imposing height provided the impetus for a road that could support horse-drawn tourist-transporting omnibuses and a peak hotel in which to lodge them, and Governor Noah Martin granted a charter to the Mount Washington Road Company on July 1, 1853 for an eight-mile artery from the Glen House to the summit. David O. Macomber, of Middleton, New Hampshire, was appointed Project Manager.

Not all visions, however, are transferred into reality. Construction in pre-motorized and relatively primitive times was daunting. Residing in shanties or tents, and devoting between ten and twelve hours per day, workers often relied on their own strength and brute force to transport supplies to the site from an eight-mile distance, relying on horse or oxen, hand-boring their own blasting holes, filling them with black powder, and then removing the explosion’s resultant gravel and rock.

Yet, by the time the project had reached its halfway point in 1856, funding had been as exhausted as the men performing the job.

Assuming the project three years later, the newly formed Mount Washington Summit Road Company completed the artery, and the Mount Washington Carriage Road-the country’s first man-made tourist attraction-officially opened amid a ceremony on August 8, 1861. Earning the title of “first to the top” had been coveted by many, particularly Joseph Thompson, proprietor of the Glen House, and Colonel John Hitchcock, landlord of the Alpine House.

Ascending in a horse-drawn carriage three weeks before the road’s completion, and negotiating still-existent boulders near its terminus, the former succeeded.

The road’s popularity, confirming its concept, progressively increased, as did the number of first feats accomplished as a result of it. Three members of the Dartmouth Outing Club, for example, made the first ski ascent in 1913, and they were followed by the first husky team to reach the summit in 1926. Four- to six-horse wagons, accommodating between nine and 12, transported as many as 100 daily passengers.

But, although the road in and of itself did not change, its use did when Freelan O. Stanley had earlier made the first steam-motor climb on it in two hours, ten minutes on August 31, 1899 and it paved the way for the first gasoline powered automobile to follow in its motorized tracks, sparking its redesignation from its initial “Carriage” to a final “Auto Road.”

A graph line representing the annual number of cars using it is as steeply angled-and rising-as the mountain it represents: 3,100 in 1935, 6,600 in 1955, 12,800 in 1961, and more than 45,000 today.

Present-day motorists can “take the high road,” as it advertises itself, by accessing it from Route 16 in Pinkham Notch on the mountain’s east side. The Great Glen Lodge, with a restaurant for breakfast and lunch, and the adjacent Douglas A. Philbrook Red Barn Museum, are located at the Auto Road’s base. The latter, the last of the many horse and hay barns which had been integral to the then Carriage Road’s staging process, is complementary and features a collection of restored wagons, carriages, stagecoaches, and automobiles that once left their own imprints in the path up the mountain.

The basic fee to enter the Auto Road includes the car, its driver, an audio or CD cassette tour, and the famed, “This car climbed Mt. Washington:” bumper sticker, with separate and supplemental charges for additional adults and/or children and motorcycles.

Guided van tours, including commentary and admission to the Mount Washington Observatory Museum at the summit, last 90 minutes, with a third of the time at the top, while season and time-of-day tours entail those conducted at dawn, in the evening, and during winter, in which case ski-equipped vehicles operate “SnowCoach” trips.

Intermodal climbs, offered between late-May and early-October, enable the hiker to travel one way by foot and the other by van, with hiker’s shuttle stops at the Auto Road base, the Great Gulf Train Head, and the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Pinkham Notch Camp.

Driver and mother nature respectively produce ever-changing vistas and weather, as the car negotiates the winding, climbing, partially paved and partially graveled, mountain surmounting road that once bore the imprint of horses’ hooves.

Passing through a ravine on the mountain’s east side, the 7.6-mile-long Mount Washington Auto Road ascends from 1,543 feet to 6,288, with an elevation gain of between 594 and 880 feet per mile, passing Two Mile Park; the Mycko’s, Jenny Lind, and Twin bridges; the Halfway House and Horn Park; and negotiating S-turns and Five Mile Grade. Moving northerly, it widens and commences a distinct climb on the crest of Chander Ridge, passing Cragway Spring and Six Mile Park and ascending Six Mile Grade.

4. Rail:

Prior to the motorized days, Mount Washington’s pendulum had swung to its west side and to yet another peak-pinnacling method-rail-each technological step having provided another step up the imposing New Hampshire monolith.

Its catalyst-once again proving the validity of the “turn pain into purpose” philosophy-had been the climb that Sylvester Marsh, a Campton, New Hampshire, native and wealthy Chicago meat-packing veteran, had made in 1852. Caught and lost in a fierce snowstorm, he was forced to spend the night on the mountain, almost succumbing to its arctic temperatures and vowing, upon his return, to devise a means of ascending it that was rapid, comfortable, enclosed, and safe.

Mechanically-minded, he had already had considerable experience with applying for farm machinery patents, such as for grain conveyor belts and dryers, and therefore parlayed this background into a rail system whose technology would enable a locomotive and at least one car to negotiate, climb, and surmount grades hitherto impractical for conventional railroads.

Devising a plan for a mountain-climbing cog rail system, he applied for a patent for it on August 24, 1858, but it was rejected the following month, the New Hampshire Legislature claiming that five similar submissions had already been received between 1836 and 1849 and laughing at the idea with the now-famous statement that Marsh “might as well build a railway to the moon.”

Undeterred, he applied for an amended one three years later, on August 3, and it was quickly granted.

The secret to the system’s ascend-ability was a small cogwheel positioned below the locomotive whose 19 teeth would bite into the cylindrical rungs of a center track, pulling it and its cars up the mountain, like tiny hands grasping bars, on a trestle that, depending upon its section, was positioned somewhere between the horizontal and vertical and thus formed an angled ladder. The engine itself would provide the propulsion and the traditional rails would guide otherwise standard wheels.

Financed with an initial, $20,000 of capital, the system’s underlying Mount Washington Steam Railway Company was organized. Marsh would serve as both its president and construction agent.

After several mountain surveys, it was decided to adhere to the route laid out by Ethan Allen Crawford in 1821 on the mountain’s west side and to begin track laying at its base near the Ammonoosuc River. Access to it, however, was hardly obstacle-free. An old logging road, extended from Fabyan’s Station, terminated half a mile from the construction site, and the remainder of the distance was densely forested.

A rudimentary, oxen-traveled trail hacked out ultimately enabled men to reach the construction worker-housing log cabin. Timber had to be hand hewed.

The Cog road consisted of 12-foot sections, or “bents,” and progressed in number from “1” at the base to “1200” at the summit

Each component of the construction process, which itself commenced in May of 1866, made the proceeding one possible. Marsh himself, for example, built the first 40-rod test track. The first locomotive, still in sections, was then ox-pulled to it, and a platform car to transport construction materials followed it.

The geared locomotive itself was cabless and featured a single pair of cylinders and drive wheels. Although it had been called “Hero,” its vertical, pepper sauce bottle resembling boiler quickly earned it the nickname of “Peppersass.”

Pushing a flatbed car during a two-hour test run on August 29, 1866, it successfully demonstrated the cog concept, construction, and capability, and attracted the necessary additional investment from initially skeptical railroad companies.

Reaching a section designated “Jacob’s Ladder” two years later, on August 14, the world’s first rack-and-pinion Cog Railway reached the summit in July of 1869 after a $139,500 construction project, becoming the second steepest-after one in Switzerland-and it is today both the oldest and a National Historic Engineering Landmark.

Cog Railway access was improved in July of 1876 when the White Mountain Railroad completed a spur line from Fabyan’s Station to its base.

Other than “Peppersass,” it had initiated service with three other upright boiler configured locomotives: the “George Stephenson,” built in 1868, and “Atlas” and “Cloud,” which followed two years later.

Employing wood for the first 40 years, these and the 18 other engines in the fleet subsequently used coal, each ascent requiring a ton of it, as well a 1,000 gallons of water. Combining original, 19th-century cog and 21st-century “green” technologies, the four locomotives introduced since 2003 are bio-diesel types and burn between 16 and 18 gallons of fuel per trip.

The Mount Washington Cog Railway, reached by the six-mile base road leading to it from Route 302 next to Fabyan’s Station, offers three-hour round trips to the summit between May and October, with time at the top varying according to steam or diesel locomotive propulsion, and one-hour halfway trips in November and December.

Unlike the Auto Road’s east side access, the Cog Railway’s track climbs the west side and enroute views and vistas are therefore different. All trains depart from and return to its Marshfield Base Station, named after the railroad’s inventor. The depot itself offers reservations and ticketing; a self-service restaurant, Catalano’s at the Cog, with prime views of the train departure point; a gift shop; and the Cog Museum.

Aside from showing the “Railway to the Moon” film, the latter provides a glimpse into early cog technology. A 1908 boiler, for instance, was continually used by the Number 9 locomotive– itself constructed by the American Locomotive Works-until it was replaced by a Hodge Boiler Works-furnished contemporary boiler in 1986. The devil’s shingle, employed between 1870 and 1920, had enabled railroad workers to descend the track’s length in less than three minutes. A frame section demonstrates how the cogwheel’s gears mesh with the track’s rungs. A log cabin office offers insight into the life of Sylvester March-promoter, as well as inventor and builder, of the railroad. The Mount Washington Cog Railway Shop furnished all but one of the seven currently operating locomotives and cab and boiler sections illustrate their construction.

“Old Peppersass,” the very first engine to propel the railroad up Mount Washington and into National Engineering Landmark fame, is displayed outside. Built, of course, by Marsh himself and ox-transported to the track in sections, it weighs four tons, cost $3,000, and could transport a payload equivalent to 60 passengers. It presently sports the letters, “N. 1 Mt. W. R.” on its side. It was withdrawn from service after it literally wore itself out and succumbed to mechanical exhaustion.

The 4.8-foot-wide cog track (a half inch less than the American Standard Gauge), commencing at the 2,700-foot base station and entirely laid on a wooden trestle, spans three miles as it ascends a narrow ridge line between the Ammonoosuc and Burt ravines at an average 25-percent, or 1,320-foot-per-mile, grade. Its nine curves vary in radius from 497 to 945 feet.

All trains consist of a steam or diesel locomotive attached to the back of a single wooden or metal passenger coach in pusher configuration and, after pulling away from the slender platform, almost immediately cross the Ammonoosuc River and then begin their climb up Cold Spring Hill, the track’s second-steepest section.

It next arches to the right, facilitated by solar-powered, hydraulic switches, circumventing Waumbek Tank at a 3,800-foot elevation, and either awaits the descending train so that it can pass it on its own side track or replenishes itself with water, if it is a steam engine.

Visible in the distance on the right side is the Appalachian Mountain Club’s camp and hut and several Presidential Range peaks, including Mounts Monroe, Franklin, Eisenhower, Clinton, Jackson, and Webster.

Passing the Halfway House at 4,500 feet, the locomotive-and-car pair now surmounts Jacob’s Ladder, whose grade is an astonishing 37.41-percent (and renders it impossible to walk down the car’s aisle without grasping its seat backs), and transcends the tree line.

Crossing the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Maine to Georgia, the train approaches the summit, with views of the Great Gulf Ravine on the left and its dramatic, 2,000-foot drop to Spalding Lake.

5. The Summit:

Converging point-and mountain-luring goal-of all hikers, drivers, and rail riders is the summit, location of the 59-acre Mount Washington State Park, which had been established in 1971.

Vistas from this desolate, wind-swept moonscape, when not obscured by cloud or precipitation, are part of the purpose of the climb and encompass a 130-mile radius. The four states of New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, and New York are visible, along with the province of Quebec in Canada and the glimmer of the Atlantic Ocean. Across the Great Gulf are numerous Presidential Range peaks, such as Jefferson, Adams, and Madison, and all are below the viewer-as often occurs with the clouds themselves-explaining the American Indians’ belief that the lofty, exalted position had been the exclusive domain of the Great Spirit.

With the exception of the State Park and an additional 60 acres of private land, most of the visible mountains belong to the 725,000-acre White Mountain National Forest, itself the spawning ground of four major New England river tributaries.

Visitor services are located in the Sherman Adams Summit building, the fourth and only non-hotel Summit House to grace the peak. Serving as the Mount Washington State Park’s headquarters, the building, constructed in 1980 as an integral part of the north slope, features a cafeteria, two gift shops, a post office, a museum, and the Mount Washington Observatory, the latter of which is a Class A weather station for the US Weather Bureau.

Another vistable structure is the Tip-Top House. Built in 1853 at a $7,000 cost from stone blasted from the very mountain that supports it, the 84-foot-long, 28-foot-wide hotel rose from the ruble to compete with the neighboring First Summit House, which had been completed the same year. A pitched roof, containing 17 tiny bedrooms, was later added.

Abandoned for 35 years, it regained its purpose when the Great Fire of June 18, 1908 ravaged the subsequently built, 91-room Second Summit House. Resurrected and remodeled, the Tip-Top House itself became the mountain top’s only hostelry for seven years until a replacement Summit House had been constructed in 1915–at which time it had let its guard down and was itself the victim of fire.

Reconstructed and relegated to a Summit House annex, it was vacated in 1968 before being restored for a second time, in 1987, so that it could begin its third life-this time as a National Historic Landmark.

Another significant structure is the Summit Stage Office, which presently serves as a souvenir shop and the hiker’s shuttle depot. Having housed the Mount Washington Observatory from 1932 to 1937, it was the location of the world’s highest measured wind velocity, of 231 mph, on August 12, 1934, as indicated by its outside sign, which reads, “The highest wind ever recorded by man was here – 231 mph.”

The actual, 6,288-foot summit can be reached by following Crawford Path, which was first laid in 1819 and is therefore considered the oldest mountain hiking trail in America.

Do not Forget "Precaution Is Better Than Cure" While Buying A Used Car in Washington

Washington is wrapped in nature's beauty. Diverse terrains make it even more stunning. From the rugged-pure beaches, high-rise mountains, desert lands, green forests to active volcanoes, the state has everything. Well, to explore the Evergreen State, you need to have a good transportation facility.

Even though public transportation is available in Washington, remote areas require a car. Washington's state routes are well-developed and offer great connectivity. And a car will obviously give you the much needed freedom. Imagine you do not have to leave early to catch the bus, because you have a car. It will take you faster – anywhere and everywhere you want.

Once you decide on buying a car, you will have to think about some things. This article gives you a comprehensive explanation of the many things involved in buying a car.

Money Makes the World Go Round

It may sound cliché to you, but it's the fact. You need money to buy everything. Although you always have the option of loans, it is better if you have some cash with you.

Car is not an expense, it is an investment. Your car will be with you for more than 3 years. Here, you must take a well- thought out decision.

Consider several expenses that you will have to incur over the years. It starts with the registration process, taxes, insurance and fuel. Also consider the maintenance of car. I would like to advise that you should go for a car only when you can afford it. There is no point in buying a car which becomes a trouble for you.

Also think of auto loans. There are several options for you in the State of Washington. You can visit lenders and dealers or also get online and search for an auto lending company. The best thing about using the web is that you do not have to get out of your house to avail an auto loan. So, get online and search for your perfect car loan.

Thinking of finance is useful as it will help you to narrow down your list.

Do You Believe In "Old Is Gold"?

A car's basic work is providing you comfort and quick travel. And, with technological advancement, cars run many more miles than before. So, a pre-owned car can easily work for you. If you do not consider new car as a status symbol, then a used car is just fine for you.

After you decide on the used car, it's time to move on to the next set of questions.

What's The Purpose of Your Car?

Every individual needs a car for different reasons. So, decide why you need it. If you have a large family, a minivan will be useful to you. If your job requires more of off-road driving, then SUV will suit you. If you live in the Olympic Peninsula, then a convertible will not be of much to you. As the region receives heavy rains, you will need something like SUV to tackle the muddy roads.

Also, make a list of all the car applications that you require in your car. So, if you need power steering, write it. Mention things like good mileage, safety devices, stereo, etc.

What Are The Car Buying Options In Washington?

The State provides you many options to choose your favorite car. You can go to a local dealer and search for the car. You can also go for the private party option by buying a car from your neighbor or your cousin. Web is the latest addition to the list. Just type – in the car you want and you will get a long list of options to choose from.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you should and must avoid dealing with a curbstoner. The Washington State Department of Licensing is very active in spreading awareness concerning such dubious individuals. A curbstoner often poses as the owner of the car but actually is an unlicensed dealer. If you buy a car from him, then transferring car title to your name becomes difficult.

Does Choosing A Car Ends The Process?

Well, the answer is no. First of all you must never choose a single car. Have at least 2-3 options with you. Consider these cars on the basis of following factors and choose your perfect car.

Take Precautions Against Lemon

The Washington State lemon law is for new cars, but even pre-owned cars can be covered under it. Confused?

Well, let's make it clear.

You can not just call your car lemon and get your money back. It needs to be certified by an arbitrator. Now the arbitration request can be filed by second or permanent owners if the vehicle was purchased within 2 years of the first delivery (delivery to the original retail consumer) and the car has no more than 24,000 miles on the odometer. The other condition is that a request must be received by the Lemon Law Administration within 30 months of the original retail delivery date.

This means that if your car is older than 2 years or has an odometer reading of more than 24,000 miles, you are not protected by the Washington State Lemon Law.

So, when you buy a used car make sure that the vehicle is working fine and it comes with manufacturer's warranty. If you do not do so, then settling claims will become a very torturous experience.

What's The Vehicle's Story?

Get the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of all the cars that you have chosen. Once you put the number in the database, you will get information about the car. It will give you detail of the car's history – problems, accidents, repairs. Also, call the previous owner and ask him about his experience with the car.

What's Your Car's Score (Miles)?

To buy a great car, it is important that you stay away from odometer fraud. Check the condition of pedals and the tires. The original tires generally last for 60,000 miles. So, if you see new tires and a lesser odometer reading, be alert.

Also, check for warranty cards and service reminders to get more idea about the carms.

Clean Car Emission Requirements

After you choose your favorites, make sure they meet the clean air requirements. If your car is older than 2009, you will not require to be certified. Also, previously-registered vehicles with more than 7,500 miles will not require the certificate.

But all other cars which are newer than 2009 and have odometer readings less than 7,500 miles are required to fulfill the requirements.

To check whether the car is certified, ask the seller / dealer and also check the VECI label. The Vehicle Emissions Control Information (VECI) label in the engine compartment will help you know whether the vehicle is certified.

Clean and Clear- That's how The Title Should Be!

The car's title will establish you as the legal owner of the car. The title should be valid and should not have any liens against it. If you want to check a car title, you can contact the Washington State Department of Licensing at (360) 902-3770.

Mechanic – Proof

Once you are sure about the car, get it checked from the expert.

Ask your trusted mechanic to do a thorough check. Ask him to tell you clearly about any faults and problems.

As the mechanic approves your choice, you will be assured of your choice.

Do remember the simple adage of our schooldays – Precaution is better than cure. Take proper precautions in buying a car, it is hundred times better than sulking over a bad car decision.

So, do not forget the tips. Get your own car and explore the beautiful State of Washington!

Washington Dulles Airport Parking – What Are Your Long Term Parking Options?

Washington Dulles airport parking can be expensive and time taking proposal especially if you need long term parking and have not done your home work. Washington Dulles (IAD) is a public airport in Dulles, Virginia and serves the Baltimore-Washington-Northern Virginia metropolitan area centered on the District of Columbia. This is one of the busiest airports in the USA and largest in the Washington Metropolitan Area with an annual passenger count of 23 million. Along with Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) and Washington Reagan National Airport, these three serve well over 50 million passengers each year catering to travelers from Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC.

There are around 8,300 parking spaces available at two daily parking garages close to the terminal at Dulles airport. Passengers can have easy access to the terminal from the garages which are equipped with automated space counting system that provides real-time information on available spaces.

Parking Lots At Dulles

There are many options for Washington Dulles airport parking such as hourly, daily and economy parking lots. The hourly parking lot is ideal for picking up passengers and short stay as it is located directly in front of the Main Terminal with hourly charge of $ 4 per hour and a maximum of $ 36 per day. The daily garages 1 and 2 have a 24/7 shuttle service and charge $ 4 per hour and a maximum of $ 17 per day.

The Economy Parking Lot has four sections Gold, Purple, Blue and Green and is located away from the main terminal. However, there is 24/7 shuttle service and the lot is easily accessible from the Dulles Access Highway. The charges at this lot are $ 5 per hour and a maximum of $ 10 per day. As is quite obvious from these rates, the Economy Parking Lot is the best choice for long term parking if you want to park on the airport.

You should make a note that if you do not collect your vehicle within the period of 45 days, it will be towed at your risk and expense. Furthermore, you would be charged a towing fee of $ 125 along with storage charges of $ 15 per 24-hour period.

Long Term Parking At BWI Airport

BWI Marshall offers a wide range of parking facilities that include covered parking garages as well as many surface lots. The hourly garage charges $ 2 for first and second h hours. The charge from second to 6th hour is $ 4 per hour with a maximum cap of $ 24 per day. A shuttle service is operated 24/7 to cater to your needs.

Long term parking at BWI airport is available for a maximum of $ 8 per day. These lots are served by closely scheduled 24/7 shuttle buses to the terminal. With economic parking rates and covered passenger collection points, this parking service is quite a convenient option for park at the airport site.

Child Witnesses in Family Law: Using Child Witnesses in Snohomish County, Washington Divorce Cases

Jane Doe is a fictional divorcée whose match will sound familiar to most divorce attorneys. Her husband, John Doe, had repeatedly and flatly lied in obtaining primary residential care of Jane's young daughters. He claimed to cook the majority of their daughters' meals, wash their clothes, read to them … the fabricated list went on and on. Few witnesses could oppose him because he maintained a convincing façade for family and friends. The only third-party witnesses who knew the truth were the parties 'daughters, and Jane Doe's attorney declined to offer the young girls' testimony. Her attorney said testimony from "kids is usually inadmissible."

Jane Doe, like many divorcing parents, may have lost custody because her attorney was unaware of recent legal developments opening the door for child testimony. In 2010 the Washington Supreme Court's opinion in State v. SJW, 170 Wn.2d 92 clarified that children are presumptively competent to testify. As the Court wrote: "A six-year-old child … may be more competent to testify than an adult in a given case; no court should presume a child is incompetent to testify based upon age alone … [W] e hold that courts should presume all witnesses are competent to testify regardless of their age. " The Court buttered its opinion with comparable federal law.

At a 2011 Family Law Evidence Continuing Legal Education Seminar in Snohomish County, commentator Karl Tegland stated witnesses over the age of four tend to survive competency challenges in Washington. An audience member responsibly chortled that no Snohomish County family law "commissioner would leave an attorney with a shred of dignity" if the attorney tried to submit a declaration from a child that age. Other attendees shared the vocal audience member's reservations about child testimony. Clear practical and public policy concerns have given local courts and practitioners a good reason to avoid child testimony, especially in family law hearings where parties submit evidence by declaration.

However, the SJW case, federal law, and Tegland's comment suggest the perceived value of child testimony is overcoming many of those concerns in other terms and jurisprudence. Eric Johnson, a Utah attorney, wrote the following in defense of the child deposits he conducts: "The real reason people do not want children deposited … is because children, by their virtue of being young, and then inexperienced and naïve, have a lot harder time being clever and evasive. People who do not want children deposited object because a child's testimony quite often has real evidentiary value that is damaging to the case of those who object to the child's deposition. "

For better or worse, attempts to offer the testimony of youngger children are coming. Divorce attorneys in Snohomish County and through Washington State should be prepared.

Eyewitness to History: 9/11 Fighter Pilot and Artist Unite to Recreate 'First Pass' Over Washington

Maj. Dean Eckmann is a soft-spoken North Dakota native who lifelong love for military aviation transformed him, in one substantial moment on September 11, 2001, into what he acknowledges to be "an eyewitness to history, to the day that changed all of America, forever. "

On the morning of 9/11, Eckmann, 36, was with his Fargo-based 119th Fighter Pilot Wing at Virginia's Langley Air Force Base for a routine week-long 'alert dispatch' to protect seven American sites tagged, in "post-Cold War and pre-9/11 naivete, "he says, as potential targets.

At the unmistakable blare of a Klaxon horn, he abandoned his planned training mission and was ordered to his fully armed fighter jet, and became the first pilot scrambled to fly over – just 700 feet over – the flame-engulfed Pentagon just about four minutes after terrorists attacked.

He and two wingmen spent more than five hours that day, securing and protecting miles of Washington DC airspace, the White House, Washington Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Capitol Building and other American landmarks, from the ground up to 30,000 feet in the air.

His perspective of the horrors of that tragic day, viewed from the cockpit of his F-16 fighter, has been captured for future generations and history books in the Air Force-commissioned painting, "First Pass: Defenders Over Washington" by artist Rick Herter .

Herter, 44, has also completed for the Air Force a painting entitled, "Ground Zero, Eagles on Station," a re-creation of the scene of the terrorist attacks on New York's World Trade Center Twin Towers.

The pilot, the artist and prints of the paintings have toured the country to rave reviews, giving Americans a bird's-eye view of the magnitude of the tragedy of that brilliant September morning.

The original oil renderings of both scenes hang in the halls of the refurbished Pentagon in Washington DC, alongside many other original art treasures depicting famous battles and events in American military history.

The Art of Combat

Herter's mother, Diana, is president of the Dowagiac (Michigan) Art Guild who describes her son as "an artist with the soul of a pilot." As a member of the elite Air Force Art Corps, he spent two weeks flying with combat missions in Iraq as research for paintings of current military actions.

The fighter pilot and the artist are now good friends, but they did not know each other until the Air Force called Herter in November 2001 and inquired about his interest in painting the official 9/11 scenes.

Although he gives all of his Air Force-mandated paintings to the government free of charge, Herter said he never allowed when asked if he would speak with the pilots, research the events and commit the September 11 attacks to canvas.

"I jumped at the opportunity. I knew this was history," he said, pointing to the "Defenders Over Washington" painting, with its mountainous clouds of black smoke billowing upwards from the Pentagon to nearly touch the underbelly of Eckmann's F-16.

September 11: A Normal Morning

The morning of 9/11 began "so normally," Eckmann says. "I was getting ready for a training mission when the Klaxon alarm went off and we scrambled to our 'hot' (armed) planes.

He'd hear that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, but assumed it was "a puddle jumper, a tourist plane, that lost its way and had an accident." As a former commercial pilot for Northwestern Airlines, Eckmann said the idea that a fully loaded commercial jet could have been plunged into an occupied building was "inconceivable.

"We all had a false sense of security," he says. "Even on alert, before 9/11, we were focused on a danger coming in to us from outside, not coming the inside as it happened that day. To take a commercial airliner full of people and force it into a building? in America could imagine anything so evil. "

Eckmann says he was originally ordered to "heading 010," and immediately recognized it as New York. In retrospect, although he was unaware of it at the time, he says at the moment he took off from Langley, a second airliner was plowing into the second tower at the WTC.

En route to Manhattan, Eckmann received a revised order and a new heading, which he recognized as Washington DC Still, he was reliably unworried, he says, still being 75 miles away and with no smoke yet visible on the horizon. He associated only the injured trouble in New York with his new heading and assumed he'd be "flying CAP" – Combat Air Patrol – over Washington as a preventive measure.

At 50 to 60 miles out of Washington, Eckmann got his first sight of smoke – thick black smoke – pouring across the Potomac.

Usually, you'll see gray smoke or white smoke in a typical accident or industrial fire. Black smoke means very bad things. "

The Smoke's Source: The Pentagon

Flying high, still miles out and unable to make out buildings or structures, he searched his memory, he says, to identify the smoke's source. At 35 miles out, as oceans of smoke continued to pour from the site, he realized the unknown horror was taking place somewhere near the Pentagon: "an accident at Reagan National Airport, sometimes," he says.

"At 20 miles out, I knew it was the Pentagon, and I'm thinking: truck bomb," he said. "That's what we thought most of the day, in the air. I thought, 'we're at war.' But even flying at just 700 feet, I could not – no one could – see that an airliner was burning inside the Pentagon.

That initial perspective, and his bird's-eye view of the flaming Pentagon, with so many historic American sites in the background, is the focus of Herter's painting.

Two subsequent orders confirmed Eckmann's fears of an attack. The first was to confirm the Pentagon was burning. The second was to identify two unknown aircraft in flight toward the Pentagon. Those two aircraft turned out to be "good guys," Eckmann says, one a Medi-Vac helicopter and one a chopper from the local police, heading in to try to assist Pentagon victims.

Eckmann immediately set off to "buzz the Mall," he says, or overfly the Washington government complex. His eyes scanned the ground, searching for a yellow truck or anything that might be another truck bomb heading for another landmark.

He and his wingmen maintained skywatch over Washington for nearly six hours, refueling twice in-flight, until being returned to Langley for just an hour before heading out again.

A Final Shock

At Langley, he heard the mechanics expressing shock and horror at "what happened to the World Trade Center towers.

"I still did not know at that point," he said. "I said, 'What towers? What happened?' And they told me the towers had collapsed, that someone had blown commercial airliners into them. I could not believe it. "

At home, his wife had spent the frantic day fielding more than 50 phone calls from friends and relatives wondering whether Eckmann was flying that day, and if so, in what aircraft and for which employer, the US Air National Guard, or the commercial airline industry.

Both Herter and Eckmann say they're awed by the news that what they've seen and done will inevitably become as much a part of the American historical fabric as the scene of George Washington crossing the Delaware River, or the first film footage of the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

"This is what no one else saw and could not see," Herter says. "Only a handful of people ever saw the immediate aftermath of the Pentagon attack and this is the first sight of it." capital, secured the airspace. No one else got in, thanks to them. "

Ground Transportation From Baltimore Washington Airport (BWI) to Washington, DC

If your travel budget is tight and you are flying to Washington, DC, landing at Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) may be your best bet. As a rule, the cheapest flights into Washington land at BWI, which is Washington’s third airport after Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and Washington Dulles International (IAD). BWI is less expensive mainly because it is a Southwest hub. However, if you use BWI, you then have the challenge of finding transportation to Washington, DC. Inexpensive ways to get to Washington include taking: (1) the B30 express bus to the DC Metro subway system and (2) a shuttle bus from BWI to the nearby train station and then taking a train to Washington’s Union Station.

Express Bus Service to the Greenbelt Metro Station

Bus B30 runs non-stop between BWI and the Greenbelt Metro Station, the last stop on the Green Line, giving you easy access to most of the Washington, DC area, including nearby suburbs. Currently, the bus fare is $6, and you pay when you get on the bus. You need to have exact change available. To the $6 you have to add metro fare which varies by how far you travel and the time of day, but the fare from Greenbelt to downtown DC is in the $2.75-$4.60 range. There are vending machines at the Metro station for purchasing fare cards. Having a roll on bag should not pose too much of a problem. The B30 has a luggage rack.

The B30 bus runs about every 40 minutes. Most of the 40 minutes is required to reach the metro. If you are going to arrive at BWI at an odd hour, you may want to check with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Web site for the B30 bus schedule.

Both BWI stops for the B30 are located on the lower, baggage claim level. For the first stop, exit door number 2, which is in the Concourse A-B area near baggage claims 1-4. This area is dedicated to Southwest Airlines. When you exit the baggage claim area you will see two lanes of traffic in front of you and then a pedestrian island. Beyond the pedestrian island are more traffic lanes. Cross over to the pedestrian island and turn left. The Regional Bus shelter is about 500 feet down from door 2. At the shelter you should be able to find the schedule for the B30. For the second stop, exit door 17. Again, the Regional Bus shelter is on the pedestrian island. The shelter is between doors 17 and 18.

Train Service from BWI to Washington’s Union Station

In lieu of taking B30 to the Metro, you may want to take the complimentary Amtrak/MARC shuttle bus to the nearby train station. From the train station you can take either an Amtrak train or during the week you can take a MARC train (Maryland Rail Commuter Service). Both Amtrak and MARC service Union Station in downtown Washington as well as many other destinations in Maryland and, with Amtrak, beyond. At this writing, the fare to Union Station on the MARC is $6 ($3 for senior citizens). Amtrak trains are considerably more expensive (around double) and can be very expensive if you take one of the Acela Express trains, which are only slightly faster from BWI to DC. So during the week you may want to consider the MARC trains. By the way, if you don’t have time to purchase a ticket for a MARC train, you can buy a ticket from the conductor but you will have to pay a service fee of $3. You will need cash (no bills greater than $20 accepted).

At BWI you can access the Amtrak/MARC shuttle busses from the lower level baggage claim/transportation area. Look for signs to rail and parking shuttles. Ignore signs to “Light Rail,” which is a separate service to Baltimore. There are four shuttle bus stops that ring the horseshoe-shaped airport. You can access the bus stops through doors 2, 9, 15, or 17. Once on the curb look for a sign post for parking and rail shuttles. It will not be directly in front of you as you leave the baggage claim area, so look to the left and right. Expect to wait up to 25 minutes for a shuttle bus. The train station is about a mile from the airport. When you get to the station you can purchase a ticket to DC. Then all you have to do is make sure you get on the train to Union Station.

Washington DC Sightseeing – The Washington Monument

One of Washington DC's earliest tourist destinations was the Washington Monument. It's located on the National Mall at the west end of the Reflecting Pool and opposite of the Lincoln Memorial. The Washington Monument in its simple sandstone, granite and marble design is a striking and highly recognizable tribute to George Washington.

One of the basic ideas behind creating a monument for George Washington was the idea that gratitude and respect should be dramatically expressed for what he contributed in creating a republic where all people are equal.

Most people know that the Washington Monument is to honor George Washington as the United States first president. He was elected in a unanimous vote, and the founding founding Father of this country, but his achievements do not stop there as George Washington was really remarkable in a number of ways. As described by Abigail Adams, wife of the John Adams, Washington was "polite with dignity, affable without familiarity, distant without haughtiness, grave without austerity, modest, wise, and good." These may be her words, but the observations were the opinion of many people of his time.

Even during Washington's lifetime, there was much talk of how to honor him, but the end result would come many years after his death. The Washington National Monument Society began fundraising in 1832 on what would have been Washington's 100th birthday. Subsequently, competitions were held and design was chosen. The original design does differ from the completed design. In the original design, the base of the obelisk was colonnaded and containing statues of Revolutionary War heroes. Then there was the inclusion of a statue of Washington on a chariot.

The final design of the Washington Monument was patterned after the Egyptian obelisk. Construction began, but there were a number of delays that spanned several decades, and in the end the monument was completed by the Army Corp of Engineers. The pyramid point at the top of the monument is cast aluminum, which at that time was considered a rare metal and more expensive then silver. The construction of DC's first tribute to a president was completed in 1884, and fast became a popular site for visitors.

The Washington Monument was such a draw for visitors that even before the 20th century, tens of thousands of visitors had gone to the top. Currently, the Washington Monument draws hundreds of thousands each year.

The Washington Monument is still the tallest stone structure in the world, as well as the largest obelisk. In the DC area, it's the tallest structure at the impressive height of over 555 feet, and can be seen from miles away. A trip to the top offers visitors spectacular views of up to thirty miles if weather conditions are compliant. If you're in the DC area, then make sure you take time for the Washington Monument.