Winter in the Methow Valley

I’ve been visiting the Methow Valley for a few years now, but this was my first winter trip. When planning the trip a year ago, we decided that this would be our time to try Nordic or skate skiing.  After all, the Methow Valley has over 120 miles of trails. Maybe it was the fact that we were so excited about our new snowshoes, but we decided not to try it this year. The Methow Valley had about 80% of the normal snow pack but there was not any fresh snow. Regardless if you ski or not, the Methow Valley is awesome in the winter.

We stayed at the Sun Mountain Lodge, and the views from the lodge are awesome. You can see mountains every time you turn around. By day we snowshoed on the trails and by night we were sipping beer at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery.

The Sun Mountain Lodge doesn’t have TV, and the internet was terrible. I did not have cell coverage the whole weekend, so it was a pretty great escape from life.

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We always spend the trip home dreaming about our own Methow Valley homestead. I even looked up the school district to see if I could possibly work there. With only 600 students, they probably don’t need a full time psychologist. Oh well, a girl can dream. See you again soon Methow Valley!

Helpful links

Methow Winter Trails

Snowshoeing at Paradise

Have you ever tried a new activity and quickly wondered why you have gone your whole life without that activity?

That’s exactly how I felt the first time I went snowshoeing.

In the PNW, we’ve had an awesome winter. (Although, it’s not so great for snow, which is unfortunate since I’m finally at a point in life where I can afford to ski.) One Saturday in January, my husband and I woke up and checked the webcam at Paradise on Mount Rainier. There were clear blue skies despite the low land fog.  We didn’t have snowshoes and we were not sure if we could rent some there. As we neared the park, we drove past a sign that advertised snowshoe rentals. About $30 later, and an hour later we made it to the parking lot.

We didn’t exactly know where to go, but there were tons of people snowshoeing up the mountain so we followed everyone up. There didn’t appear to be any signs so we really have no idea how far we went or what trail we were on. (Not very helpful am I?)

The views were amazing, and I was once again in awe at the beauty of the mountain. I love this state!

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P.S. When it’s sunny with highs in the 40’s, you really don’t need to wear tons of layers or snow gear. Unless of course, you want to sweat a lot.

Soaking up sunshine on Orcas Island

September and October were really busy months for my travel companion and I. We visited Orcas Island, Pullman, British Columbia, Skamania, and Whidby Island. With all this rain over the past couple of weeks it’s hard to remember that we had a great start to fall in the Northwest. It wasn’t too long ago that we were blessed with sunshine and warm days.

Back in September, I spent two days on Orcas Island. This was my first time on the island. The busy summer season was over but the sunshine was still out and the skies were clear. We stayed at the Deer Harbor Resort. The unit we stayed in had a great harbor view, and a private hot tub on the deck. It was a perfect place to sip a few glasses of wine, and take in the beauty of the San Juans.

We spent a few hours exploring the town Eastsound. It’s very quaint town, and has a beautiful water view.

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We then drove up to the top of Mount Constitution. It’s a long windy road to the top, but the view is amazing. We were pretty lucky to visit on such a clear day.

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We were pressed with time, so we didn’t get to explore the whole island. We drove through Moran State Park and then drove to the ferry to get in line. While waiting for the ferry to come, we had lunch at a local restaurant. Luckily they were showing the Hawks game. I’m  always amazed by the beauty of the San Juan Islands, We really do live in an awesome place.

Wallace Falls Hike

Since I don’t work during the summers, I like spending my time exploring the hiking options around me. After doing a few hikes off the I-90 corridor, I decided to move on to the Highway 2 area. Wallace Falls seemed like a perfect choice for a day hike. I called up a co-worker and we met in Monroe.

The trail  head is easy to find. It’s within the Wallace Falls State Park. There are a lot of road signs pointing to the park.

We started on the trail head around 10:00ish, and surprisingly it wasn’t that crowded. I read that this is a really popular trail but we only passed people at the viewpoints. Of course, we were hiking mid-week which helps. We hiked all the way up to the upper falls viewpoint. It’s a pretty challenging hike at times, and we were both sweating by the time we got to the top.

After a quick snack, we hiked back down. At this point, the trail was getting more crowded and we passed by a lot more people. Overall, it is a beautiful hike. The old forests are lush and green. There are numerous views of the river and waterfalls. Next time, I’d like to try mountain biking up to Wallace Lake.

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More information

WTA Wallace Falls Hike

Wallace Falls State Park

Whislter, BC

When I was in middle school (about 15 years ago), my parents and I went up to Whistler, BC for a weekend. They bought a timeshare, and neither of us have returned since.

Initially, my husband and I originally planned on bringing our mountain bikes up. But as I was doing research about mountain biking in the area, I got a little intimidated by the Whistler Bike Park. It looked pretty technical, and way above my skill level. As soon as we drove into town, I knew that not bringing the bikes was a mistake. There are miles (or should I say kilometers) of paved and gravel biking trails. Everyone there was biking! I was constantly reminded that I left my bikes at home. So if you’re not an aggressive downhill rider, here is some information about biking trails in the area. There are a lot of paved trails for road bikes too. Don’t make the same mistake that I did!!

Whistler valley trail

Lost Lake trails

In the summer if you buy your gondola pass 5 days in advance, you get a second day for free.  Luckily we saw that deal exactly five days before our trip.  We spent two days up on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain. First we rode up to the top of Whistler Mountain. Then we rode the chairlift up to the peak.

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We then rode of the peak to peak gondola. That was a really cool ride!!

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At Blackcomb, we rode the chairlift down to the upper village.

Since we didn’t have our bikes, our weekend activities included shopping, strolling through the village, and watching the hawks game at a sports bar.

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We were in town for two of the summer concerts. We went to one of the concerts. The band was really fun and I really enjoyed it.

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Whistler is such an awesome place to visit year round. This is a place I’d like to visit every couple of years. Maybe next time I’ll come up during winter and go skiing (another thing that I haven’t done since middle school).