Over the rain shadow : Wenatchee to Seattle

Which are the most beautiful mountains in the U.S.?

That’s a question sure to start a debate. The Rockies are huge, Sierras famous, Wind Rivers barely known and coastal Alaska’s fiords’ spectacular. Then there are Hawaii’s volcanoes, Wyoming’s Grand Tetons, as well as the Adirondacks and Great Smoky mountains on the east coast. The list, like the country, is vast. If you ask a Washingtonian, the answer is almost always, the Cascades. Why? Probably a little bias, but mainly it’s the relief.

Young and energetic, these mountains rise from the once glaciated landscape of Puget Sound at an aggressive rate. In the process, they create a rain shadow that collects the region’s famous rain (and world record snowfall) and feeds it to the forests below. In a blink you transition from eastern Washington’s high desert to western Washington’s emerald forests. The change is dramatic.

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