Take care not to confuse Washington with Washington DC. One is a state on the pacific coast while the other is the federal capital which is near the east coast and an administrative district not within any state. Washington was originally part of the territory of Oregon. In 1846 the Oregon Treaty set the border at the 49th parallel making the area US territory. Washington became a separate territory in 1853 with the Columbia River forming most of its southern border with Oregon. Statehood followed in 1889. This is a state that is very memorable for its coastal and mountain scenery. Washington is also a major business centre with software giant Microsoft calling it home. It is also where Boeing grew into a major aircraft supplier and it still has a major manufacturing unit close to Seattle.
Yakima & Mount Adams from I-82 Viewpoint
When the Lewis & Clark expedition passed through the area in 1805 they found the Yakama Indians living in a rich and fertile valley. Their discovery attracted settlers to farm the area and by 1855 the Indians had been moved to a reservation. Agriculture remains the main industry around Yakima particularly the growing of fruit, vegetables and a and fast developing wine industry. Behind the city looms dormant volcano Mount Adams, the third highest in the Cascades range at 3,742 metres (12,276 feet) high.
Downtown Seattle & summit of Mount Rainier from Space Needle
There are separate pages for both Seattle and Mount Rainier, but this picture brings home a more general point about Washington state, the proximity of major cities to large volcanoes. Mount Rainier is a stratovolcano and the highest peak in the Cascade range. When we ascended the Space Needle on our 2006 visit there was no sign of Mount Rainier then on our second circuit of the observation deck we suddenly became aware that the summit had appeared above the haze of city pollution. Mount Rainier is not extinct, it is merely dormant which raises the nightmare scenario that a major volcanic eruption could take place only 87 kilometres (54 miles) from Seattle. If you can’t make out Mount Rainier, just click Tab 2 for an enlarged and enhanced view.
Columbia River from I-90 Viewpoint near Vantage
Although the Columbia River runs along much of the border between Washington and Oregon, in the east it turns north into Washington then crosses the Canadian border into British Columbia. It is 2,044 kilometres (1,232 miles) long and carries the second largest volume of water in North America after the Mississippi. It is also the largest source of hydroelectric power in North America. Numerous hydroelectric dams mean that much of the river has been turned into artificial lakes, as shown here near Vantage where the Interstate 90 crosses the flooded valley.
Hobo Inn, Elbe
Ever fancied staying in a railroad caboose? At Elbe you can, but don’t expect the scenery to have changed when you wake up the next morning. The Hobo Inn is a railroad siding filled with eight brightly coloured cabooses that have been converted into accommodation. We didn’t stay here, like many people we just saw it by the road as we headed towards Mount Rainier. We can’t say if it is any good but the food on site seemed a bit limited, a just a converted carriage serving pizza. Click Tab 2 to see the Pizza Station.
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Wild Horse Monument near Vantage
Looking up to the ridge overlooking the Columbia River near Vantage, you might at first think that you see a herd of horses with someone trying to control the lead horse. The person is real but the horses are made of welded steel plates and are the work of Spokane artist David Govedare.
We have more pages on Washington State. Click below or on the Minimap: