Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

November 11, 2007

Keeping with the Animal Theme

Northwest Trek is a fantastic wilderness park and nature preserve, located in Eatonville, in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. While you won't find elephants, tigers, exotic birds or fish, what you will find are beautiful animals indigenous to the Pacific Northwest.

The Pac NW is a huge region, the core being made up of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and southeastern Alaska, as well as British Columbia, Canada. Arguments can be made that the NW could also include far northern California, western Montana and western Alberta.

A few years ago, in June, 2000, Michelle & John came out from Maine to visit us for a week. We had only lived in WA a year at the time, so it was a lot of fun for me to take some time off and see some of the sites with them. We wisely chose a weekday to visit Northwest Trek and it was much less crowded than on weekends. I've only been to NW Trek the one time, because both the drive and the crowds on the weekend are not something I wish to deal with.
The first thing we did was take a tram ride through the largest part of the park. This area is only accessable by tram because the animals roam freely and always have the right of way. So if a herd of slow moving elk decides to hang out on the road, you're going to be there till they decide to move. But what a wonderful way to see these beautiful creatures up close and personal!

As I do not know the names of some of these animals, I invite all of you to fill me in! Anyone know what kind of bird this is?

I love buffalo and bison.
I'm not sure, but these may be Roosevelt Elk.

Going to NW Trek in June allowed for the unexpected but delightful surprise of seeing the newborn animals.
This li'l mountain goat was sooooo cute. Everyone on the tram was cooing and shooting pictures.

Too bad they grow up to be not-so-adorable.

Like Wisconsin and Michigan, we have wolverines up here too.

"Nice rack!"

After the tram, you can walk acres and acres of trails through the natural habits of the smaller critters. The barriers between you and the animals are so natural and unobtrusive, you get the feeling of being right there with them and not like you are in a large zoo. Here's a plump porkypine.

They're destructive and a nuisance, but racoons are just so frickin CUTE!

"Badgers! We don't need no steenkeeng badgers!" Oh come on! You know you were all thinking it.

The otters were a hoot. They had an outdoor pool/river bank set up and you could walk down some stairs and go underneath to see into the pool from under the water level. The otters would swim directly towards your face, their noses even with yours and as they got to the glass, they'd summersault and kick off the glass with their feet, swim back to the other end and do it again. We were laughing so hard. I could have stayed there all day. This was the best picture I could get before he zoomed off.

I love otters. They're soooo cute!
I love bears too.

Here's Michelle on the trail near the wolves and bears areas. I love how the trees look.

The wolves proved to be very elusive, but I was able to get one good shot.

A beautiful mountain lion.

They keep the wings clipped on the birds of prey so that they don't fly away. I have, however, been lucky enough to see bald eagles in the wild and they are breathtaking and noble birds.


  1. Oh, what absolute BEAUTY, Jojo!!

    Shit, I could get totally lost there (however, that's not a good idea...) and never wanna come back.
    Most of these animals, I could never see over here!

  2. Wonderful pictures, great memories.

    The bird looks like some kind of crane, but I'm no expert.

  3. I remember being in Yellowstone and rounding a corner to see an entire herd of buffalo; something I never thought I'd see in this lifetime.

    Thank you for sharing your pictures.

  4. LOVE the otters!Cute little things!We have "big cats" here as well,though not as many as we use to.The most "exotic" indigenous thing here is opossum!

  5. michellefriend3:14 PM

    I believe that was a sandhill crane, Jojo, but not positive. That mountain goat was soooo darned cute.
    I also remember how we could almost sense the desparation of the wolves in their environment; they paced back and forth constantly. They were the only creatures that seemed to have that desparation. It made me sad.
    Here in Maine, possums are born dead on the side of the road. Okay, not really, but many of us have never seen a live one!
    Freakin' raccoons destroy and steal my bird feeders and suet cages. One time, I turned on the back deck light at night because my dog Willow was woofing at something outside. I saw a couple of raccoons perched on top of the post where my bird feeder was. One jumped and ran off, the other just sort of froze and kept looking over his shoulder at the one that booked it. It looked like he was saying: "Oh crap. Now what. Uhhh, buddy, uh, where you goin'? What about me? Oh crap..."
    I had a mystery one late spring when I'd wake up in the morning to find my hummingbird feeders drained. They would be right where I hung them, but empty. I asked my birder friend if hummingbirds fed at night in huge flocks or something. She said she didn't think so. I looked online to find out if bats would do it. No go. Then, again, one night I turned on the back deck light and there was a raccoon, straddling the hook from which a hummingbird feeder hung, and guzzling the liquid from one of the holes!
    Once I solved the mystery, I locked the feeders in the shed at night.
    Thanks for the memories Jojo!!!

  6. Michelle - tons of raccoons used to invade the carports where the trash was kept at our condos in Fairfax. We'd see them at night dragging trash up the hill and chattering. It sounded like laughter. Later on, you'd shine a flashlight into the trees and see dozens of pairs of bright eyes looking at you!

    It sure was fun when you came to guys need to come here again!

  7. i just love zoos and nature preserves. and you took a pic of a wolverine...and a fitting. but, you didn't see our fave animal, did you? the rare and exotic specimen known as vincent???

  8. jojo, this is a most amazing post... absolutely enchanting and what a wonderful trip you guys had...

    I saw some magnificent beasts on safari in South Africa... it wasn't a particularly great safari compared to most, but still a great


    lotsa luv ann xxxxx

  9. I love Buffalo! We have quite a few of them back here. The otters are adorable...

    Hey Jojo everything OK back there? I heard the northwest was supposed to get hit with stong winds again.

  10. What a cool place!

  11. gosh these are gorgeous pics! the closest i've come to anything like this was when we lived in MO. there was a place there w/ like 200 acres that you drove thru in your own car, called exotic animal paradise. when you started o/ you buy bags of food that you can feed them o/ your window w/. i wouldn't exactly call them exotic, but there were camels (one time one of them broke the mirror on my van!) buffolo, deer, llamas, long horned steer, mules, zerbas, ostrichs..i think that's all. it was fun tho, the kids go crazy w/ it you know? sis got a little scared. the animals are so used to being fed that they stick their whole head in your car if you let them, it's nice to have automatic windows that roll up really fast!

    but then there is also a little zoo there too w/ some cool animals and peacocks that wonder around. i got a magnet of a buffulo that says "i got slimed at exotic animal paradise" and he has a huge tongue. it's funny, you kind of have to go thru a car wash afterwords, your doors and windows are rather icky...

    thanx for this post!