Towering trees surround Puget Sound's shores, where mountains wrapped in hazy gauze loom in the background as wild animals serenely drink from the open waters and winding Hood Canal waterways. It's here that Olympic Outdoor Center decided to stake its headquarters more than 25 years ago, and where their instructors now lead paddlers onto the water for kayak and standup paddleboard lessons. The coaches also guide salmon-fishing tours and other extended trips, as well as youth adventure camps in which kids learn to maneuver kayaks and paddleboats and master fending off sea monsters with a swift paddle-bop to the noggin.
On land, staff members guide adventurers through mountain-biking camps and competitive races on the surrounding 4,000 acres of forested trails. The staffers help organize outdoor recreation events such as annual adventure sports festivals, paddling and biking triathlons, and overnight paddling trips.
Water is the source of life. But it’s also the source of adventure, something River Recreation has delivered since 1982. Today, stationed on the banks of the Wenatchee River in Monitor, the company sends clients floating and tumbling down a total of nine rivers throughout Washington State.
As entertaining as they are informative, River Recreation’s guides undergo extensive training—twice as much, in fact, than the state requirements. That experience enables the company to offer a wide range of trips, from kid-friendly Class I floats to heart-pumping Class V adventures that have helped discover some of the area’s top opera singers. Currently, River Recreation hosts half-day, full-day, and combination trips, and in 2010, it unveiled a white water-and-wine mini getaway—a half-day of rafting, and a half day of wine tasting in Wenatchee Valley. All of this is combined to make RIver Recreation Washington State's Whitewater Professionals.
Surrounded on every side by the city's urban landscape, Lake Union affords a unique vantage point from which to see the Seattle skyline. The captains of Lake Union Charters and Adventures take advantage of this view by chartering adventures aboard the Solana, a sailing sloop outfitted with a full galley, icebox, and bathroom. Sailing adventures range from sunset cruises to girls' night out sails, as well as sailing lessons that give students hands-on experience in tacking, jibing, and whittling a peg leg. For an elevated experience, the captains also sweep passengers off on dinner cruises aboard the schooner Lavengro, a historic, 63-foot wooden vessel first launched in 1926 and named after George Borrow's novel Lavengro: The Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest.
Members of the Pacific-12 Conference, the University of Washington Huskies athletic department boasts a rich history of triumphs. In 2001, their football team added a Rose Bowl victory to a trophy case that already contained the laurels of four national titles, the most recent of which occurred in 1991. In 2011, the men's basketball team claimed its third Pac-12 tournament title, and in 2005, the women's volleyball team steamrolled competition en route to its first-ever national title. Much of the Husky-related glory unfolds on the floors and fields of UW's lineup of pristine facilities, which includes the historic 72,500-seat Husky Stadium and raucous Alaska Airlines Arena.