Saturday, September 6, 2014

Over the North Cascades Scenic Byway to Winthrop, WA~~

But first a fast-forward:

Just in case you didn't get the memo, we are HERE!  It is beautiful and free for the month of September...after Labor Day, that is.  I'll dazzle you with beautiful pics and facts in the next installment.

Cascades drive:

This would be Highway 20 east of I-5 at Burlington, WA.  Scenic is almost an understatement.  It is magnificent, though a bit twisty and steep in places.  We are looking for a nice location to spend the upcoming Labor Day weekend, without reservations, of course. We had hoped to find a site on Lake Diablo at Colonial Creek CG, but all the lakeside sites were taken.  Otherwise we'd be parked in a dense forest which didn't appeal to us, so we continued on.  Lake Diablo, the crowning jewel of the North Cascades, is a stunning glacial lake of brilliant turquoise.

Once again our Passport America membership came to the rescue in the form of another great find at Pine Near RV Park in Winthrop, WA. Yes they were full over the weekend but with a little shuffling we were able to stay 4 nights, and actually got the half price discount for 3.  The park is pristine, well-maintained, great staff (obviously), and super-well situated to town access.

Winthrop, WA:

Now the town of Winthrop is a destination in itself!  Located at the north end of the 60-mile long Methow Valley, Winthrop is packed with history, a ton of recreational activities like mountain biking, cross-country and alpine skiing, hiking and rock climbing, fishing and rafting....all with a funky western flair.  We scored once again!

Sun Mountain:

After weeks of nasty sciatica and limited exercise it was time to take my body out for some hiking.  Howard, the older of the old farts, routinely runs 5 miles 3+ times a week and isn't bothered with these maladies!

It was a short drive up to the impressive Sun Mountain complex where we parked at the lodge with access to several trails, most of which are inter-active, pet friendly, and connecting.  We checked the maps and chose a combination of trails that would provide a loop, some elevation gain, and not be too lengthy.  First day out, you know... We did a combination of the Sunnyside trail to the Hough Homestead where there are great picnic facilities, restrooms, and some steer roping opportunities.  We returned via the Kraule and Ridge View. (Visual aid is needed here as I can't figure out how to embed a PDF file.  Any help greatly appreciated. I tried converting to JPEG.)   

We had such a great fun pain-free day we returned the following day to hike the Beaver Pond loop:

We toured the Shafer Museum, actually walked over as it is located right across the street from the RV park, then descended the steep stairway for a romp through the busy downtown on this crazy Labor Day Weekend.  We had the absolutely best Yucatecan-style meal at Carlos 1800; cochinita pibil for Lynda and poc-chuc for Howard.  And a fresh-made Margarita and Mojito made from scratch; no sweet and sour mix here.  Of course, we followed this with homemade butterscotch fudge ice cream at Sheri's.  We were walking, you know!

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