Rainy forests of towering evergreen trees. Hip urban centers known for gourmet coffee and advanced tech companies. Majestic mountains with rain clouds at their base and snow at their peaks. Sheltered waters teeming with fish and dotted with beautiful small islands. And did I mention the rain? The Pacific Northwest is one of the most distinctive parts of North America, with its own unique climate and a well-defined cultural identity. I spent a week visiting this region together with my family in the summer of 2012, the first time that I had ever been to the area. Our path would take us to the three major cities ringing the Puget Sound: Seattle, Vancouver, and Victoria, each with its own distinctive sights to see. We would also be spending time visiting some of the incredible natural scenery in the area, from the slopes of Mount Rainier to the temperate rain forests of Olympic National Park to the weathered rock formations on the beaches of the Pacific coast. My family returned back home after eight days of travel, while I would continue onwards to spend another week exploring the Canadian Rockies several hundred miles to the east. That's a separate trip though, which is covered on the website here. This particular section details my experience during the first half of this excursion, the trip through the Pacific Northwest regions of Washington and British Columbia.