High or low, where shall we go?

Students give their takes on favorite Seattle natural backdrops

Rita Chetty, Staff Writer

Mount Rainer peaks through the clouds. (Rio Giancarlo)

Lush green trees, hikes to scenic mountaintops, the smell of fresh-cut grass and flower-filled gardens. Living in an area such as Seattle means being surrounded by greenery throughout the year.

Many see the beauty of the Evergreen State in every sunset, every hike and every road trip, but there tend to be several favorite spots that catch the eyes of different individuals.

First-year physiology major Lainey Mendoza mentioned how her favorite spot to visit is a place where she can enjoy the stunning view of the whole city and its natural wonders.

“One of my favorite places outdoors would definitely have to be Kerry Park,” Mendoza said. “I love that view. I’m a sucker for it every time, because it gives you that full skyline of Seattle and really shows how beautiful the city is.”

First-year psychology major Harmanpreet Kaur mentioned how her go-to outdoor destination brings her comfort and tranquility.

“One of my favorite places to go around Seattle is Discovery Beach Park,” Kaur said. “It’s a very peaceful environment there. I like to go there to see the sunsets and sometimes even to do my assignments.”

Along with greenery, Seattle offers ocean views that beautifully showcase aquatic nature.

First-year psychology major Hanna Callender mentioned her go-to place to catch a glimpse of the ocean is the Seattle Waterfront near downtown.

Callender included how by the waterfront, many can catch the beauty of sunsets, wildlife and the surrounding beaches that live up to the display of the Seattle flora, despite Seattle being so industrialized.

“The waterfront has a good mixture of tourists coming for the scenery and those who are from the area,” Callender said. “There are many places that are beaches and have a lot of trees and flowers, so you get the view of the water Seattle is known for and all the green surrounding it.”

Mendoza added that the waterfront could be a great place to collect some of Seattle’s flora at Pike Place Market.

“The flowers at Pike Place really show the color and nature we have in the Pacific Northwest. They are absolutely gorgeous,” Mendoza said. “You’re right out at the water, and you get so much of the history of the development of the nature and coast of Seattle.”

Kaur added that while those who are longtime residents of Seattle know their way around, those new to the area might not be as familiar with where to go for the best experience in taking in all the local flora. She gave some helpful suggestions.

“For newcomers, some recommendations are the Great Wheel and Discovery Beach,” Kaur said. “From the Fremont Bridge at night, the city looks so good and peaceful. Other than that, the Space Needle is the best place to have a 360-degree view of the city.”

Kaur included how captivating the botany can be, as Mother Nature is always picture-perfect.

“Seattle is so green and so pretty, especially in summers when all the trees are lush green and yellow,” Kaur said. “I love living here. It always feels fresh outside and [has] good backgrounds for Instagram photos.”

Mendoza compared how living in a flourishing city like Seattle provides her bliss compared to her hometown, which lacked the green aspect that we often see.

“I live to the east of the [Cascade Mountain Range]. It’s very brown, very dry, very desert and I always loved coming up to Seattle cause it’s the exact opposite, so full of rain and so many trees, forests, and greenery, and it just makes me feel so happy,” Mendoza said. “It was just the best experience, so being here, perhaps, could’ve been the best thing I have done for myself.”

Similar to Mendoza, first-year business administration major Aiden Blanco mentioned how the nature of Seattle adds to the spectacle of living in Western Washington.

“I love living in a place with a lot of greenery so much. It’s really the best,” Blanco said. “I feel like I’m so alive and comfortable. A breeze that feels so good is something that you can’t get in an immensely dense city with no greenery.”

Callender mentioned how having these beautiful locations within walking distance is an opportunity to appreciate each changing season.

“I feel more in touch with the seasons when you see the trees around you with the leaves changing and the beautiful falls we have here,” Callender said.

Seattle being half industrial and half green-filled can be taken by many as the best of both worlds. One may have a hot cup of coffee in the lobby of a downtown skyscraper before heading out on a hike to take in the lush forest found on the Mount Rainier trails.

Fourth-year Chloe Guillot, majoring in both Christian theology and social justice and cultural studies, remembered her first time on a Mount Rainier hike and being surrounded by captivating scenery.

“It was definitely my favorite place that I have done,” Guillot said. “I did my first Mount Rainier hike on Paradise Trail over the summer, and it was so much more beautiful than I thought it would’ve been. It is a six mile loop hike up the mountain face filled with waterfalls, views of the Cascade Mountains and the surrounding mountains with snowy mountaintops.”

Those who view Seattle as just a hub for rain and gloomy days may just be individuals who have yet to discover the city’s true natural beauty.

“I find a lot more that I like about Seattle compared to what I don’t like, and if it’s just about the rain, then you haven’t experienced a good Seattle summer,” Mendoza said. “There’s so much more to see and enjoy than the negative of there being rain, because the rain is what gives us so much greenery. It’s actually the whole reason why it’s such a beautiful ecosystem.”