Heading West

We are going on one of our first “real” family vacations this year, taking a trip out to visit my brother in Seattle and then down to Portland to see my cousin and aunt & uncle.

The trip is very exciting for us.  We’ve been reading about the area and learning about Seattle’s history in preparation for the trip.  Seattle was once known as the “gateway to the goldfields”, so we borrowed several books and videos about the Klondike Gold Rush to better understand what that meant.

The girls and I read a few books together, including Gold Rush Women by Claire Rudolf Murphy and Jane Haigh.  They were amazed to see how women dressed in the late 19th century.

Gold Rush Women

We also borrowed a videorecording called Story of America’s great Northwest, which gave us a good taste of some of the geography and history of the area.

Since there is a National Park in downtown Seattle dedicated to the Klondike Gold Rush, I also got a video about the Klondike and we learned about the towns of Dyea and Scagway, the Inside Passage, and how hard it must have been to travel through the region with a year’s worth of supplies.

We planned to spend a day whale watching in the Puget Sound area, so we learned a little more about orcas and also how the Sound (which is really not a sound!) got its name.

Finally, I bought a copy of Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest by Ella E. Clark.  What a treasure!  This is a beautiful collection of oral stories, myths and legends.  We read many of them before leaving.  This book gave us a glimpse into how some of the geologic/geographic features of the northwest got their names, and also how the native people thought about the lands they lived in.  We encountered many of the formations in the book, including the Columbia river, the Umpqua region, and the large volcanic peaks like Hood, Rainier and St. Helens.  We also heard many names like Clackamas, Willamette, and Chilkoot as we spent time in Seattle and Portland.  It definitely added a whole dimension to our trip.

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