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.
Northwest native Murphy Pierson draws on the experience of more than 30 years fishing Puget Sound’s waters to help aquatic enthusiasts charter their own saltwater-fishing excursions. Specializing in guided salmon tours, Murphy equips guests with bait, tackle, and fish whistles for year-round charters where they try their hand at reeling in king salmon and coho in the summer or blackmouth in the winter. During May and June, Puget Sound Sports Fishing’s morning and afternoon trips down the Edmonds-nestled waterways turn into bottom-fishing voyages for lingcod. While visitors rest at the end of their trip, Murphy and his crew get their hands dirty cleaning and bagging each catch for the water-weary fishers.
Yuen Lui Studios, a family-owned photography business specializing in individual and family portraits and wedding photography, creates photographic heirlooms in a tradition of quality it has upheld since 1947. With several area Yuen Lui studios available, each boasts a multitude of backdrop options for portraiture sessions, or photographers may take sessions outdoors to add natural scenery to the frame. Wedding and engagement shots come to life under the careful eyes of each photographer as they seize rare moments and trap them in frames to be displayed like trophies from a hunt. High-school, child, baby, and family portraits keep precious memories locked in time for clients, who can peruse an online gallery of their images after their session.
After his first time riding a Segway, 11-year-old Gregg Jantz Jr. was hooked. There weren’t Segway tours in his hometown of Edmonds, so he and his father went to the company’s headquarters in New Hampshire to learn more about the self-balancing transporters. They were excited about what they learned there, leading to the creation of Segway of Edmonds.
Today, visitors can take 90-minute tours of Puget Sound. By day, the tours take a historical angle, and educate groups about Olympic Beach and the mills that used to sit along the coast. Sunset tours create beautiful photo ops, and can be arranged to end with dinner at one of the waterfront restaurants. All tours begin with a 30-minute orientation session, and guides stop occasionally to take photos of groups and make sure no one has fused to their Segway. Visitors can also rent Segways for self-guided tours.
Numbered balls ricochet across the green-felted pool tables at Olympic Billiards during regular open-play sessions and tournaments, their clacks creating a subtle rhythmic soundtrack. When not aiming pool cues or hiring a sheepdog to corral every ball except the eight ball, patrons can test their accuracy at dartboards and their timing at air-hockey tables. While playing, they sip on cocktails such as the incredible hulk, surfer on acid, or oatmeal cookie shot, or choose from 12 domestic, imported, and craft beers on tap. On the food menu, traditional pub bites mingle with Asian dishes such as gyoza, egg rolls, and spicy ramyun noodles.
All Season Charters' quartet of captains share the wheel of the company's single 50-foot, all-purpose boat, Annie A. The ship serves a variety of purposes, ferrying passengers as they hunt salmon with the firm hand of Captain Amy at the tiller or spot whale flukes with the eagle-eyed guidance of Captain Michael. It holds up to 20 people, providing ample railing-space for scenic views, as well as the comfort of a galley with free coffee. The captains, for their part, charter their vessel out for any kind of oceanic excursions, such as sea burials or hunts for that message in a bottle you lost.