Title: Yakima: Fertile Valley in the High Desert

Release Date: 2016-12-07

Document Date: 2004-02-12

Description: Description of life in beautiful central Washington, at the foothills of the Cascades.

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(U) Yakima: Fertile Valley in the High Desert
FROM:
Yakima Research Station
Run Date: 02/12/2004
FROM:

Yakima Research Station
(U) An assignment at Yakima Research Station (YRS) in the state
of Washington is the sixth PCS for this family and our first CONUS
PCS**. The best part about it - the kids are now grown and gone!
The down side - the grandchildren are on the East Coast! Still,
keeping in touch is only a phone call or e-mail away and traveling
for a visit is easier than a trip from overseas.
(U) We've only been in Yakima since summer and we love it here.
The drive across country was an education in itself. Having spent all
my adult years either in Maryland or overseas, it was exciting to
see parts of my own country for the first time. I-90 west of the
Mississippi travels through country that doesn't appear to have
changed much since the days of the Conestoga wagons and it was
humbling to imagine the hardships and deprivations that the early
settlers endured on their move west.
(U) The day that we arrived in Yakima the mercury hit 104° yet it
cooled off nicely when the sun went down. Everyone says that it
was an unusually hot summer; still, the average humidity is very
low (this is high desert) so the heat wasn't especially bothersome
compared to a Maryland summer's day. We are currently
experiencing our first winter in Yakima. Though there has been
some snow and cold, it is nowhere near the cold and precipitation
that Maryland has been having. And with Yakima located in the
foothills of the Cascades, the snow-covered mountains are a
spectacular sight! Many YRS families have homes with a view of Mt.
Adams, Mt. Rainier or both.
(U) Yakima itself has a population of about 70,000 and my husband
and I enjoy the small city atmosphere. Traffic is seldom heavy and
the locals consider it a traffic jam when they have to wait for a
stoplight to cycle twice. Each Sunday in summer and fall, there is a
farmer's market on a downtown street - an excellent place to get
just-picked local produce. The primary industry in this county is
agricultural.
(U) Though the average yearly rainfall is only 7-8 inches, irrigation
makes the Yakima Valley very fertile. Most of the Washington state
apples and cherries come from the Yakima area and, in recent
years, a thriving wine industry has also developed in the valley.
Though the shopping opportunities aren't as extensive as in
Maryland, we have had no problem finding what we want. For
bigger shopping trips or just for a change of scene, YRS'ers travel
to the Tri-Cities (Pasco, Richland and Kennewick), just over an
hour to the southeast along I-82. Portland, Oregon, is only three
hours away and there is no sales tax in Oregon. Seattle, home of
the Mariners, the Seahawks and Starbucks, is just over two hours
away and many go there for day trips or the weekend.

SERIES:
(U) SID Around the
World '04
1. Letter From Ottawa
2. Yakima: Fertile
Valley in the High
Desert
3. Life in Alice
4. Omaha - The Heart
of the Heartland
5. Life in the Big Apple
6. 'Dropping Anchor' in
Anchorage

(U) One sunny weekend in October, when the leaves were
beautiful, my husband and I took a drive to Chinook Pass to see
the fall colors and the first snow of the winter. At 5,432 ft., the
pass is the highest pass crossing the Cascades. It generally closes
in early November and re-opens in late May when the snow melts.
Believe it or not, that day we saw very few cars on our drive and
only a few people were at the pass itself. Compare that to the
traffic on the Blue Ridge Parkway in fall!
(U) There is always something to do in the area. For outdoor
enthusiasts, there are endless opportunities for hiking, fishing,
hunting, skiing, snowmobiling and boating. If the arts are
preferred, Yakima has active local theater groups and its own
symphony. Numerous local venues regularly host big-name
performances. Yakima is the home of the Central Washington
State Fair in late September and the city boasts its own Continental
Basketball Association team, the Sun Kings, and a minor league
baseball team, the Yakima Bears.
(U) YRS'ers find getting to work in the morning to be nearly
stress-free. Traffic on I-82 to the Yakima Training Center, where
YRS is located, is usually very light. It also isn't unusual to see
coyotes, jackrabbits or even deer and elk along the way. It doesn't
surprise me that many YRS'ers say they never want to leave!
(U//FOUO) See the YRS PCS website for more information .
** Footnotes:
CONUS= Continental U.S.
PCS= Permanent Change of Station

"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet
without the consent of S0121 (DL sid_comms)."

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