regarding winter in the pacific northwest

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    Begin partial rant?

    I admit that I love winter here in the Pacific Northwest. And honestly, it boggles my mind when people constantly (or even occasionally) complain about it... at work, at the store, on Flickr. The haters are everywhere, grumbling about the lack of sun, the rain, the cold.

    Really? I mean, I guess I have a different perspective on winter in the PNW, since I didn't grow up here. I grew up in Iowa, and our winters featured many days where the temperature dropped below zero. We had many snow storms, but even more often biting wind, wind that tore at your face like a shrieking beast. Weather could absolutely be an enemy at times. To top it off, there was no where to go hiking... not even any decent hills for skiing or outdoor activities. And because I lived on a farm, we spent our outdoor time working... shoveling snow over and over out of hog pens, swathed in Carhartt coveralls and face masks, warming our hands under heat lamps in the barn. It was one of the things that made me decide not to continue living in Iowa.

    Then there were four years in Massachusetts, while I was in veterinary school. The snow there was so very grand... big, fluffy flakes, less wind than Iowa, and people who loved their outdoor activities in the winter. It was still wickedly cold though, and snow gets old after about two storms... at least, in town, where it turns brown and mushy and becomes a nuisance. Still, Massachusetts was an improvement over Iowa.

    Now I'm in Oregon. These winters are not only easier than in other places, but they're downright invigorating at times. It's green here, year round, and we have the rain to thank for that. We Oregonians (those of us on this side of the state, anyway) don't have to deal with dead grass, brown forests, or a dormant landscape. Our landscapes are almost as alive and vibrant here in the winter as they are in the summer. Some places - Forest Park, the Olympic Peninsula, etc., - are definitely more alive in the winter. If you haven't been to those places in the heart of winter, then you seriously need to get out there and see what I'm talking about. The air is so fresh, the forests are so verdant, and it's so very peaceful, when compared to the summer. That's because half of Oregon's population is inside, lamenting the rainy season. Oh, and the waterfalls! Winter completely transforms them into loud, thundering versions of their former selves.

    And don't get me started on the coast during this season... those winter storms are ferociously amazing, and will definitely leave you reeling (in a good way). The beach is another place that is best in winter, because it's practically vacant in places.

    And camping, in the winter? Yeah, it's a little wet, but you can still do it. No one in their right mind would camp in Iowa in the winter (not that we have many places to camp there). On top of that, even if campsites are closed (and many are not), you can still pitch a tent just inside the gate and not be bothered. I talked to a Mt. Hood Ranger once who said they didn't really care if you park at the gate and camped in the winter, so long as you picked up after yourself. And if that's not appealing, Oregon's also got a number of camping sites with yurts. Who doesn't love a yurt?

    It's not ideal, sure. The damp cold can work its way into your bones more easily than a dry cold. My own hands are shockingly cold from about October through April, and the lack of daylight can quickly zap my energy. But then I think about how green things are, and how much hiking I can still do, and the fact that flowers will start to bloom in late February at times (a full month or two earlier than Iowa)... and I'm fine.

    Don't get me wrong... we do have a lot of tough, outdoorsy people here. Most of my friends won't hesitate to sling on a rain jacket, grab a camera and find a trail in the winter time. But if any of you find yourself with the winter "blahs" this season, try at least a few times to bundle yourself up and hit the trail, or the coast, with a camera. There are lush, magical worlds out there to be discovered and photographed.

    Speaking of lush, magical worlds... this image was made along the trail to Neahkahnie Mountain. What an incredible forest that was.

    (/end rant.)

    gagilas, twoaftertwenty, and 189 other people added this photo to their favorites.

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    1. Jean Rost [deleted] 29 months ago | reply

      so beautiful , it looks peaceful and mysterious.. perfect for mind wondering. i also love winter.

    2. surfwax 29 months ago | reply

      this just takes me to another world...awesome...

    3. Debby.S 29 months ago | reply

      what a beautiful shot - so green! Us Brits are well known for complaining about the weather - and if we're not complaining about it, we're just talking about it. It's an obsession!

    4. gretchenhayhurst 29 months ago | reply

      I think that weather in the PNW is our best kept secret.

    5. manyfires 29 months ago | reply

      Holy comments! Thanks, all... you've left some wonderful and thoughtful notes. I'm glad no one was offended, and I am amazed and delighted by the number of you that enjoy your winters, regardless of the type. Then again, photographers do a better job at appreciating landscapes of all types, don't they?

    6. alfredmagesacher 29 months ago | reply

      You've a very good eye for shapes and colors

    7. Kurt Sadjina [deleted] 29 months ago | reply

      Wonderful forest, great capture!

    8. kainz0r [deleted] 29 months ago | reply

      I've done technical support on the phones, and doing so you have a lot of opportunity to talk to people, from everywhere. So often, they'd ask about the weather - when I had first started doing phone support work, I thought people doing this was a joke about the clichés of conversation. But it kept happening, with broad consistency, no matter where they were from. They were serious. I thought it was so strange that they'd want to know what the weather was like in a place they were unlikely to visit.

      I realized down the road that it's probably a throwback to when knowing what weather was on the horizon could mean the difference between success and failure for your family. I started paying attention to the weather just for the people I was supporting via phone. Being told about the sunny days of Austin always seemed to make them feel better.

    9. Bill Ratcliffe 29 months ago | reply

      Enjoyed the rant... Not sure I could take the constant year round rain up there - minus the summer - .. I'll always be someone that loves the desert. But the northwest is my favorite retreat to get away from heat, dry air, or break from the normal everyday life...

    10. Romair 29 months ago | reply

      Amazing how your experience so closely parallels ours. Forty five years ago, we fled the east coast for much the same reasons as you and landed on the central west coast, where the hills turn green during our rainy winters. We've never once regretted that move, even a little bit.

    11. Zeb Andrews 29 months ago | reply

      I would camp in Iowa in the winter.

    12. Standard Deluxe 29 months ago | reply

      You sold me. I'm moving there tomorrow Danielle. Truth is, I've been eyeing the Pacific Northwest for a long time now. I hope to live there someday. And this capture...It's absolute wonderful.

    13. pender2010 29 months ago | reply

      yeah, what you said!

      I'm a little north of you but hear it all the same.

    14. Mitch Snooks 29 months ago | reply

      like arms reaching out

    15. JoGo... 29 months ago | reply

      Your words painted Oregon so beautifully...i'm sold! I'm on my way ;) Gorgeous capture...beautiful and majestic tree...magical!

    16. JoGo... 29 months ago | reply

      Although I did have to google yurt!

    17. .nicole.marie. 29 months ago | reply

      Ahh..I definitely enjoyed reading this. Wonderful image. So so beautiful!

    18. joeysoliver 29 months ago | reply

      Great read. Nice image. I was just noticing the other day how ii seam to be more drawn to shooting in poorer weather. I do worry so much about my cameras. Ill beat the brush and streams hard. Im always breaking tripods. The rain is rough on my gear but im still belly down in the mud and ice sometimes. I really like shooting in the winter

    19. Greg-0 27 months ago | reply

      Wow, great post, both words and imagery. I spent two years in Germany, which had mild summers but cold as heck winters. I remember doing gaurd duty in -40 weather in Wildflicken. Later, I spent a few years in Kentucky, of which I didn't mind the cold, but had a hard time with the hot, humid summers. Born and raised in Oregon, I've lived outside the state long enough to realize we're pretty spoiled here. Maybe that's the problem with all the complaints, a lot of people haven't experienced outside the Pacific Nortwest, except for going on vacation once in awhile, and only when said places are really nice. :)

    20. Up' 15 months ago | reply

      Awesome shot! Congrats!

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