Superbowl Sunday Snow – Thank you , Panorama!

Written by Panorama resident, Deb Ross. February 2017

This blog is a little off my usual  topic of “newbies, boomers, and would-bes” but I wanted to express my gratitude for Panorama’s awesome response to yesterday and today’s Superbowl Sunday snow event (“storm” might be a little too strong a word). First off – we vaguely heard the phone ring during the last thrilling minutes of Super Bowl – or was it a ref whistle? Were we going to answer it? No way! But Panorama left a voicemail message letting us know that some events and facilities might be closed tomorrow (Monday) due to the snow event. Later on, after catching our breath following the game, we checked and confirmed that the Aquatic and Fitness Center would indeed be opening late. Thanks to Jenny, Security, and others for great communication! We know that some staff worked beyond their normal hours to ensure the safety and awareness of residents and staff.

In the morning, we also got an email from Grace Moore to let us know of Monday evening’s concert cancellation. Thank you so much, Grace, for being on top of communications! While email is not yet available to some residents, it’s a great way to communicate last-minute changes to the schedule.

At about 11 Monday morning I ventured out, equipped with my Yaktrax tread devices on my boots (thanks to fellow resident Susan W for the suggestion!), and, of course, my SARA pendant. During my walk, three snowplows came by, and there were Panorama staff out at each neighborhood shoveling walkways. Most sidewalks were shoveled by then, as were most roads. A shouted “thank you” to staff was invariably met with a smile. 

Inside the Quinault, by the door, were two armchairs that allowed me to take off (and then put back on) my Yaktrax before heading to the exercise room. 

So, KUDOS to Panorama and staff for their great efforts at communication and response! 

Deb Bio_Edit


A Resident’s Perspective – December is Here

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. December 2016

Sometimes we forget the beauty of seasons other than the blooming loveliness of our spring, summer, and winding down into colorful fall here at Panorama. October and November saw more rain, perhaps, than we liked. But boy did December deliver a wonderland. The tall trees were frosted and stately.

Sandy-Snow1Our yards sported a special look as the 4-5 inches continued to fall.

Sandy-Snow2And the ambient night light made things magical.

Sandy-Snow3We walked around in this just to enjoy the quiet you get with this type of event. The best place to view this, if you couldn’t walk and crunch around on the new wet snow, was like our little buddy Mirka….

Sandy-Snow4There were also whimsical animals out and frosted with fresh snow. Perhaps a resting rabbit????

Sandy-Snow5We’ve not gotten into the real 20 degrees freezing nights yet, but they are due. The Panorama crew was out with snow shovels, making paths to our mailboxes. The back hoe from grounds was out snow-plowing small loops and courts with a grinning operator. The bigger plow was out for our main roads/streets, commandeered by our wonderful trash collecting man. 

How lucky we are at Panorama. Our environs are kept navigable even when they aren’t blazing with blooms. We all are grateful.  

Enjoy our campus during this season as we enjoy friends and family. Be mindful of the puddles that may well freeze in days to come. We’ve all landed in the best place in the northwest!!!!!

Sandy Bio



Hikes with Steve – The Great Olympic Peninsula

Written by Steve Pogge. Photos by George Bush. September 2016

Olympic ForestOn Sept 19, 2016  thirteen hearty adventurers took off from Panorama on what was to become one of our most awe inspiring trips of the primeval NW forests and beaches that I have been fortunate to lead.   This was a 3 day/2 night trip that was based out of Forks Washington.   Forks is renown for Vampires, not for its culinary and lodges.  We were however treated to a nice clean little Inn tucked away in the woods for a few nights and ventured out to La Push for a quaint gourmet restaurant found on the Quileute Indian Reservation.

G.Bush_8Having procured housing and food we were set to explore and discover the beauty of this magnificent area.  The Pacific Northwest is the largest temperate rain-forest in the world, getting over 15 ft (not inches) of rain a year.  It is filled with big trees.  I don’t mean the run of the mill big, I mean HUGE Mammoth trees.   Our first stop was to see the biggest Sitka Spruce in the World, located in the Lake Quinault region of the National Park.  This tree is not only big but it is also very old.  The best guess by the experts is that this tree has been around for 1000 years!  It is impossible to describe the feeling of standing next to an ancient living species that dwarf everything around it and was a young tree even before the Crusades.  This was the first of many jaw dropping experiences during the week.

We then stopped at the Lake Quinault Lodge to view the grand old Lodge built in the early 1900’s after the National Park model.  What we didn’t expect was to run into a native American woman, named Harvest Moon, who had been a story teller for 30 years and basket weaver for 40 years.  She just happened to be showing her baskets that day.  She was willing to share a few stories of the “first people” and had us captivated for the rest of the morning.  She also had a fine sense of humor.  We all laughed after she recited the shortest Indian story ever told;  “The salmon swam up the river and said DAM.”

Olympic ForestWe could of stayed longer but had scheduled visits to 3 rain-forests on the Peninsula: The Quinault valley, the Hoh valley, and the Sol Duc Valley, one for each day of the trip.  Our first rain-forest was on the North shore of the Quinault river.  This rarely visited side of the park was magical and surreal.  Walking through the moss laden cedars and hemlock lined paths we expected elves and hobbits to jump out at us.

Kestner HomesteadWe came out at an old homestead that has long been abandoned and taken over by the National Park system but previously had housed and sustained 4 generations of the Kestner family.  After a quick lunch we loaded up and headed towards Forks where we hunkered down for the next few nights.

Rialto BeachDay two, took us to one of the most visited beaches on the NW coast; Rialto Beach.  The walking was difficult on this rocky beach but the sea stacks on one side and the huge driftwood trees on the other side with sea birds to entertain us all the way made the trip far less daunting.  A few of our troupe made it to the famous Hole-in-the-Wall rock that allows a person through the hole, for only a few hours, at low tide.  If caught on the wrong side, you are stuck till the tide changes.  We got lucky and were able to walk through and back only minutes before the tide closed off our passage.  Knowing lunch was back at the bus was incentive enough for everyone to get back without a swim.

Rialto Beach Hole In The Wall

For the afternoon, we headed up for our second Rain forest experience, the Sol Duc Valley.  We got to see salmon spawning on the Sol Duc river along with a memorable hike through an ancient Old growth forest and then on to the beautiful Sol Duc Falls.  Two of us were attacked by Yellow jackets  (myself included) at the trail head.  As with all adventures, there is always the unknown and sometimes it can sting.  In this case, we used ointment, ice and a few choice words and we were able to carried on.

Sol Duc ForestKalayloch_Beach_G.BushDay three took us to the last of the Rain forests we were to visit.  All of us commented on how each rain forest was so different but amazing in their own special way.  The Park ranger gave us a private personal introduction to what we were about to experience. The Hoh did not let us down.  We talked in whispers as we ventured through the Hall of Moses and marveled at the breathtaking beauty of this special place.  We had our last picnic lunch and then set off to see Ruby Beach, a short drive away.  The sun had broken out by this time and lit up the beach like a picture postcard.  After being awe struck by one of the prettiest beaches and most magnificent forests we ever saw, what more could we asked for?  Well there was more to come, we continue down the coast to see another one of the Ancients.  This time it was a Western Red Cedar that was impossible to describe with its incredible mass, height, shape, color,and age.  All we could do was marvel at one of the largest living organism on the planet.  The trip was drawing to a close but not without one last final stop to top off a great 3 days.  ICE CREAM at Scoops in Aberdeen.

I am hopeful this trip will be one that is remembered for a life time.  I want to thank all those who participated for being wonderful traveling companions.  It was the love of nature and the outdoors that came from each of the participants that made this such a special experience.   I am hoping to run this trip at least once again next spring.

Steve Pogge Bio



A Resident’s Perspective – Night Sounds

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. December 2015

Now that we have turned into real winter (by the calendar, at least), I’m offering a few thoughts on night sounds. What strikes me so very specially is what we hear at night when all the helpful folks are done keeping our environs so very pristine and making room for new residents.

Spring and fall bring us geese overhead. With our windows open and no heating or air conditioning running, it is easier to hear them. They are always special. They move from the retention ponds to Chambers Lake and back again, eventually either arriving from the north or leaving for the south. Yes, many are here year round, but the sky filled with honking has always been special to me. I watched two days ago at dusk as 16 of them flew in formation.

We hear the busy trains, AMTRAK and cargo-laden cars, most of the year whether the windows are open or not. The whistle for the crossing out Nisqually way can be haunting.  When the nights get quiet or foggy, it is easier for hearing-impaired to pick it up. I think many of us residents go way back with train sounds.

There seems to be no real season for the hootie owl/s that I hear, easier with windows open a bit. They can be heard with windows closed if your hearing is good. The perch must be close between our home and Chambers Lake. It sounds like a great horned owl from what I can find out.

However, now we are into our winter pattern of rain often with wind. Rain sheeting down the roof, and gurgling in the gutters of the eave system is easy to fall asleep to. We have also had two largely high wind quick storms that produce their own sound. Our cats are not so happy with wind sound which they interpret as dangerous. They can often be found under the sofa with big eyes.

And it just became obvious to me that the clunks on our roof, at Christmas, aren’t reindeer hooves, but fir cones!!!!!!!

In between the night sounds, if you walk about McGandy Park or your neighborhood, the sounds of silence are also there. These are also precious in our urban milieu.

Enjoy this season as some of our neighbors look forward to longer days. And I’m hoping your holiday, however you celebrated, was special to you and yours.

Sandy Bio

National Relaxation Day

Today is National Relaxation Day. So take some time to be still, listen to the sound of nature around you, our engage in a favorite hobby that never fails to help you unwind. There’s no place more perfect for relaxing than the shore of Chambers Lake, the foliage of the Panorama Pea Patch, or vibrant and peaceful lanes of Panorama neighborhoods. Lake-CompressedPeaPatch-CompressedBike-Compressed

A Resident’s Perspective – Exploring the Chehalis-Western Trail

Written by Panorama resident, Judy Murphy. April 2014.

The 22-mile trail was built on the bed of the former Chehalis Western Railroad, which was used throughout much of the 20th century to haul logs to mills and ultimately to Henderson Inlet.  At its southern end it connects with the 14.5 mile Yelm-Tenino trail, and the northern terminus is at Woodard Bay.  That makes for a beautiful bicycle trip in any season.

Canada GeeseMy interest is usually closer to home, however, on the short section between the Panorama dog park entrance to the trail and Herman Road SE.  Halfway in between there is an overlook on Chambers Lake.  It’s a great place to sit and observe ducks in winter, Canada geese, the occasional bald eagle, red-tail hawks, and red-winged blackbirds.

Along the trail there is a marshy wetland lined with willows on the lakeside and mostly woods, with some houses, on the other.  This habitat attracts a variety of birds as well as other critters.  I have seen raccoons and heard a coyote once and bullfrogs.  Of course, there are many other more familiar critters–dog walkers, bicyclists (beware, they go fast!), joggers, and parents with strollers.  But during the week, and especially at rainy times, the trail is often yours to savor alone.

Marsh Wren

Perhaps my favorite year-round bird on the trail is the marsh wren that inhabits the cattails by the overlook.  If you sit on the bench in the spring you will hear his near constant chatter, and if you are patient you may catch a glimpse as he sits on top of a reed and calls to mark his territory and attract a mate.  He has built several nests by the overlook.

Another year-round resident is the yellow-rumped warbler, though I most often see it in the spring.

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

The red-winged blackbirds whistle and call all year, and other common chatterers include chickadees, spotted towhees, swallows, juncos, song sparrows and robins.  I used to see a hummingbird perched atop a particular tree before the leaves appeared in spring.  Now and then mallards will waddle across the trail to look for nesting spots.


Western Tanager


In spring and summer you might see Western tanagers, black-headed grosbeaks, flickers, bushtits, kinglets, and cedar waxwings.  Listen for the witchety-wich of the yellowthroat in the willow thickets (but they are devilishly tough to see from the trail).

Winter is the season for waterfowl.  I enjoy looking for wood ducks, which are so beautifully colored. Buffleheads are cute little diving ducks, and the males’ handsome black-and-white heads stand out among the coots, ring-necked ducks, wigeons, and Northern shovelers.  I also like to look for nests, easily seen in the bare trees, to admire how their seemingly frail structures can withstand the harsh rain and wind of the winter.

In the fall, the lake can be hidden in the mist of deep fog, and you will wonder that you could be so close to home.

Chambers Lake in the autumn fog

Chambers Lake in the autumn fog

In any season, this small portion of the trail is a birder’s delight, and even if you aren’t keen to go out with binoculars and look for birds, just listening for the cacophony among the trees is good for the soul.

For details about the trail, go to

Murphy Bio


Introducing the Newest Addition to Our Campus

Dale Chihuly, Panorama Icicle Tower, 2014, 10 x 5 x 5’

Dale Chihuly, Panorama Icicle Tower, 2014, 10 x 5 x 5’

Dale Chihuly’s Panorama Icicle Tower was installed on Monday, April 14, 2014 by two members of Team Chihuly.

This is Chihuly’s second installation at Panorama. It is an astonishing 10’x5’x5’ and is comprised of approximately 230 yellow, red, and orange hand-blown glass elements.

Chihuly’s Towers evolved from his Chandeliers. The first Tower was made for the narrow vertical space of the American Craft Museum stairway in 1997. Subsequent projects continued to challenge Chihuly to create large sculptures for spaces where the ceilings could not bear the weight of Chandeliers, or spaces without ceilings, giving life to the development of this important series.

Chihuly's Panorama Icicle Tower

Dale Chihuly, Panorama Icicle Tower (detail), 2014, 10 x 5 x 5’

“The idea of a Tower just came from looking at one of my Chandeliers and imagining what it would look like upside down.” –Chihuly

There will be a formal dedication ceremony on June 10.

A Resident’s Perspective – Thoughts on Rain

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush, on March 17th, 2014.

“It always rains in the Northwest” was the comment that friends sent us off to Panorama with. We will have been here a year come May. The wonderfully kept secret of weather issues is amazing. This statement comes after a night of rain starting at about 1 AM .  It really rained!!! The street gutters had accumulated water when we got up.

However, by 9:15 AM the sun came out. Having been a couple of “weather nuts,” we have followed weather maps, and radar returns since 1966. We are finding a fun reality of weather in the Panorama area of the Northwest.

Panorama and Lacey are communities situated between mountainous areas. The Olympics scrape a lot of rain off before we even see it here. Then the storms coming from the East and down from Canada often spend their water content before getting here. The storms that come up from the south or southwest are the ones that carry the moisture. Locals and long time residents say this has been an unusual year and not so wet as some. It may be different in subsequent years.

The storm events here, when there have been days of rain, are nothing like the horrendous pulses we got in Northern California with ripping winds and erosion and flash flooding. Those came between long time spans with no precipitation and so were doubly hard on the land mass.

What we so enjoy here is the rain that falls at night and by mid- to late-morning when we are done with home chores and venturing out, we often don’t even need the old bumbershoot!!! Squalls happen and then they clear. Another observation of a friend here spoke of vertical rain here. The wind-driven horizontal or slanted rain there could be horrendous. Rain here almost becomes a non-event.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat do we get from all this? The lovely green-ness that is so much more pleasing than the dried, parched land for 6-8 months in the land to the south. We aren’t necessarily telling everyone that Seattle and Bellingham weather isn’t Panorama weather, but we chuckle often when asked, “are you in hip boots yet?”

Sandy Bio

A Wonderful Weekend of Oregon’s Waterfalls and Gardens

Our neighbor to the south is home to many breathtaking locations. Last week, 18 Panorama residents embarked on a 4 day trip aimed at exploration of Oregon’s majesty.

Crystal Springs Rhododendron GardensThe trip began with a tour of the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens, located in Portland, OR. The group then continued on to their lodging destination, the Oregon Garden Resort in Silverton.





Mt Angel Abbey ViewBefore enjoying a lovely dinner in Mt. Angel, residents stopped for a scenic stroll near Mt. Angel Abbey, overlooking the Silverton Valley.  Day two featured a walk along the Willamette River and a tour of the Oregon Gardens. Independently, residents indulged in a variety of activities throughout the day, including facials, massages, relaxation time in the gardens, and a visit to the local art gallery or Seven Bridges Tap Room for tasting.




The Grotto The third day included a trip to Silver Falls for some spectacular views and a bit of hiking finished with cocktail hour, dinner, and live music. On their way out, the group visited the beautiful and serene, Grotto Gardens of Portland.

What a wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable excursion! One resident called it a “masterful blend of walking, hiking, sight-seeing, and history.”

Panorama’s Welcome Pole

A dedication ceremony was held on Friday, April 27th for Panorama’s new Welcome Pole that now stands in the center of McGandy Park, at the heart of Panorama. The Welcome Pole was designed and carved by Squaxin Island tribal member, Andrea Sigo. Andrea named the pole Kia, which means “the giver of life” or “grandmother.” As a welcome pole, Kia’s purpose is to greet visitors, as well as guard the community and all who reside in her presence. The old growth pacific red cedar that Kia was carved from denotes her position as a provider and the apron that adorns her features hummingbirds and butterflies, together suggesting endless joy, beauty, and everlasting life.

We are proud to have this beautiful symbol of kinship grace our community.

Attention Baby Boomers!

Are you one of the 75+ million Boomers approaching retirement?

Get ahead of the pack in knowing the facts! Learn how to plan for the retirement that you have always wanted by joining us for a seminar designed exclusively for you. Take a closer look at our campus and meet fellow Boomers that are already enjoying what Panorama has to offer. Take this opportunity to ask your questions. Why consider Panorama? What are the costs involved? When should I start planning?

A complimentary brunch will be served with an optional campus tour immediately following the seminar. We hope to see you there!

Saturday, March 10th

10:00 am – 12:00 pm

at the Panorama Auditorium.

Register online at or call (360) 456-0111 for more information.