WASHINGTON: The Avalanche

On a clear and frosty Seattle morning, the vast white bulk of Mount Rainier sometimes seems to be floating low in the southern sky. East and west, the peaks of the Cascade and Olympic ranges run off sharp, cold and glistening along the horizon. Looking at them, Seattle likes to reflect that the frontier still exists: the mountains are still as pitiless—and as alluring—as they were when Henry Yesler's little sawmill was first cutting Douglas fir logs and Indian war canoes still coursed Puget Sound's lonely arms of green tidewater.

To many a...

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