Just Add Water

Rachel Hart on our love affair with water.

You might have noticed a bit of an obsession with iconic Northwest landscapes in our travel and outdoors issues this year. In May, we celebrated the craggy mountains that frame our horizons. This month, we turn to our love affair with those other defining natural landmarks: our vast and varied bodies of water.

I’ve always been drawn to water, having lived only in lakeside and seaside cities all my life (a must; I have the world’s worst sense of direction, but if I know where the water is, I can find my way around). But until I moved to Seattle 14 years ago, I had never seen people so geeked about water—the water they play in, the water they collect from their rooftops in barrels, the pristine drinking water that flows from their faucets. Where else but in Seattle would you find people doing yoga on stand-up paddle boards?

But for someone who loves water as much as I do, I don’t like getting into it (that ocean I love so much is so cold!) or on it (wish I could take more people up on invitations to go boating but, alas: seasickness). I love to swim, but my general rule of thumb is that if I can’t see the bottom of what I am swimming in, then there must be a shark down there—or some other creature from the deep. Doubt me? Check out our report on Loch Ness-type monsters in our local waters.
Like mountain climbing, water play is more of a spectator sport for me. I love exploring gorgeous waterfalls or looking out over Lake Chelan with a glass of crisp, local white wine in hand. But a few years ago, in a burst of get-out-there-and-do-it inspiration, my husband and I bought an inflatable raft and oars for a camping trip with friends in Wenatchee. When we got to a smooth patch in the river and decided to just float for a while, our younger son, Luca, who is the king of unintentionally hilarious one-liners, kicked back and reclined with his arms behind his head and said, “Ahhhh! This is so good for me!” We all got a good laugh out of it—as if a four-year-old has any idea what it means to have real stress in his life—but Luca was right—our water is so good for us.
And for a locally bountiful liquid libation of another sort, those of you who weren’t able to attend Taste Washington this past April—the state’s grandest opportunity to taste more Washington wines at one time than at any other—will be happy to discover wine writer Shannon Borg’s picks (page 58) of the best new Washington wines to drink right now.
P.S. I am not much of a horn tooter, but I was pleased to learn the news that in May, Seattle magazine won the 2010 General Excellence award in the Magazine Division of the SPJ Pacific Northwest Excellence In Journalism awards, recognizing the very best magazine journalism in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Alaska. We were recognized with several other awards, but I’m most proud of this one, since it affirms all the tireless talents of our staff—from our editorial team to our design, photography and production teams. We hope to continue to live up to the recognition for our readers.