Frances Chiem in Two Serious Ladies:
The mountain that appears behind the “Welcome to Twin Peaks” sign in the show’s title sequence is in fact a real topographical feature, not a facade or even a composite image. The real “Twin Peaks” are Mt Si and Little Si, two of the most popular hiking areas in Washington’s King County. The gender parity on the trails is pretty impressive, even for the outdoor-recreation oriented Pacific Northwest. You are as likely to see groups of women in Lululemon as you are to see Boy Scout troops and families being dragged along by multiple purebred dogs. Both the fictional wilderness of Twin Peaks and the real wilderness near my home are, without a doubt, male dominated, but progressive Seattle is working to lessen this gender parity. The REI flagship store – a sprawling complex complete with indoor bike paths and a climbing wall a few minutes from my downtown office – hosts climbing, backpacking and mountain bike classes just for women. There is a concerted effort to get women into the wild. Multiple regional nonprofits like the Washington Trails Association and Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust also have programs with this end in mind. The popular trails 40 minutes from Seattle continue to play a significant role in getting urban women outside. These are safe, friendly spaces transformed into something abjectly unfriendly in Twin Peaks. Though the series’ iconic peaks reside in Western Washington, it would make the most sense politically and geographically to assume that the series itself is meant to be set on the Eastern side of the state.
In the pilot episode, abusive trucker Leo Johnson calls his teenage bride from the road (allegedly from Butte, Montana) and abruptly shows up in the driveway the following morning. He would not have been able to make it from Montana to Twin Peaks as quickly as he did if the town were west of the Cascades. David Lynch has also said that the town was somewhat based on Missoula, Montana, which shares a topography more similar to the right side of Washington than the left. That level of specificity may seem nitpicky, but the east/west distinction is essential to understanding Washington’s political identity. Western Washington is liberal, the land of Microsoft, Boeing and multiple national parks. Eastern Washington is rural, mostly conservative, its industry is the land.