2013, Trip Six, The Northwest, July 27

Mazama, WA Saturday July 27

Driving to Rainy Lake

Driving to Rainy Lake

A wonderful, relaxing day. The weather was pleasant up in the mountains and hot in the valleys. Plenty of sunshine. The area is dry, however, fire danger is high.

We had breakfast at the restaurant here. Unlike the cabins we stayed at in Lyman Utah back in May, this area is functioning. A family reunion of 39 people has taken many of the units and the restaurant for dinner Friday and Saturday nights.

Rainy Lake

Rainy Lake


Snow creep at base of front tree

Snow creep at base of front tree

Breakfast was open to all though and wonder of wonders, the milk was very cold and I got refills free. What a great way to start off the day.

We went for a hike to Rainy Lake. To reach it, we had to reverse course and go west over Washington Pass again. Rainy Lake (see picture) shows multiple mountain features; lake, cirque, waterfall, glacier, forests and mountains. Like winning the lottery!

This trail had a short description of ‘snow creep”, a term we had not heard of before. Evidently, in certain forests the snow exerts down slope pressure on trees, causing them to have a slight curl or bump in the trunk. The picture gives a better understanding.

Suspension bridge on trail

Suspension bridge on trail

Our second hike took us along one of the community trails along the Methow River. A suspension bridge had been installed for crossing the river, wide enough for the horses to cross from the several ranches offering horse back rides in the summer.

Where we are staying is not part of the national park, or the surrounding national forest. Mazama, etc are located in a wide, high meadows area. The Methow Valley is “the” winter cross-country ski area in the country. The Cascade Highway west of Mazama is closed in the winter. Cross country skiers enter from the east and have over 120 miles of groomed ski trails. The snow is usually light and powdery.

Store in Winthrop

Store in Winthrop

Our third hike was a short one to a nice waterfall. It was north of Winthrop, the more “urban” town in the area. We had a pleasant ride through the valley to get to the portion of the forest with the waterfalls. Horse ranches were abundant. THe fields were dry except where irrigated-which was frequent. Without the irrigation, the hills reminded us of the Santa Fe area; high desert, dry, rolling hills with mountains in the background.

Winthrop has re-themed itself as a western, cowboy town. The area had been home to mining which did not last real long. Access to the area has been difficult since it was settled. A friend of the founder, both graduates of Yale, wrote the book the Virginian. The old TV series was loosely based on the book and some of the scenes from the TV series were shot in Lone Pine, CA (back in Trip 4).

Dinner was in Winthrop at a Mexican restaurant and then an ice cream stand watching the world go by. Just a pleasant day overall.

Ed and Chris July 27 10 pm

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