Elf, Bison, and Bears! Oh my!
That's right, Josh and I had a wildlife encounter the other weekend (yes, I'm a bit behind on my posts - deal with it). There is a wildlife park (or is it a wilderness preserve?) about an hour and half away from Seattle called Northwest Trek. We decided to leave the urban life behind for the day, and get up close to nature and animals.
I think the best way to describe this place is to say it's like the Pacific Northwest's answer to the Wild Animal Park in San Diego.
Wait. Whoa whoa whoa. Time out people. This is serious. The Wild Animal Park is now called the Safari Park? What? I was just about to hyperlink that for you, and found this out. My childhood. My memories crushed. How could they? Why would they? They should have called me first before making such big decisions. Tear. Okay, back to the post...
It's like the Pacific Northwest's answer to Safari Park (just doesn't feel the same). If you don't know what that is, then I just don't know what to say to you. Oh alright, for your sake, I'll give is a whirl. It's basically animals in a huge enclosure where animals roam freely. Then they put people in a tram and bring you though for a look at animals in their natural habitat.
Now, the Northwest Trek doesn't have quite the diversity of animals as the Wild Animal Park (I'm sticking to it), but you do get to see some pretty cool animals.
Before Josh and I went into the wild, we had a nice picnic lunch. We picked up sandwiches in Columbia City on our way down to the park . I got my sandwich from the Columbia City Bakery, and Josh got his at the Jus Bar. I thought mine was better, and he thought his was better. That's how we are.
We took the 2pm tram and Sadie was our guide. The tram was a bus (I tell you this because I had envisioned a train type of tram). Josh and I were second in line, so we got prime seats in the first car on the left (note: if you go, sit on the left, better viewing on the ride). The tram ride was an hour long, and I never once got bored.
The tram doesn't just go around the perimeter, but takes you though the enclosure. At one point, the Roosevelt Elf were right next to the tram, and crossing the road in front of the tram. I could have reached out and petted the darn thing. I decided not to since Sadie said not to, and I didn't watch to get a elk bite. But, it was pretty cool.
When you go on tram rides such as this, rarely do you get to see all the animals in the enclosure. Uh hello, they are supposed to be in their natural habitat, so it should somewhat be like real life, right? I don't see you walking by a bison everyday...
Well, lucky us, we got to see every animal on the tram ride. That means we saw: Bighorn Sheep, Bison, Blacktailed Deer, Mountain Goats, Moose, Roosevelt Elk, Woodland Caribou, and Trumpeter Swans. Bam! All the animals.
After the tram ride, there were still plenty of animals to check out on the walking tour. Although we had luck with the tram ride, we must have caught animal nap time. We didn't get to see the cougar, lynx, or wolves. Although, we did see the beaver & otter swimming, the porcupine & badger sitting, some owls perching, and the wolverine & fisher sleeping (we saw some others sleeping & sitting animals, too).
All in all, a fun day, in nice weather, looking at cute (and sometimes interesting) animals. Can't beat that! To round out a great day, Ion the way home, I got a taste of a new frozen yogurt shop, Black Bear. It was like froyo Pacific NW style (in that the decor had a wooden bear, antler chandelier, etc) . Oh, I loved it. Yum! And Josh was happy with a Sonic limeade.
Then, on the way home, we stopped for a sunny view of Mount Rainier at Clear Lake. That was that.