700 photos

386.6 miles

4 adults

3 days

2 kids

1 glorious road trip

On Thursday morning, the day after the Fourth, we left our safe, idyllic little township for the harsh, unchartered mountainous region of the North Cascades, braving freezing Arctic winds and taming the wild, green earth to once again reunite with nature.

Now you know it did not happen like that.

Well, the leaving our idyllic little township part is true.

And so, left we did, but in travel conditions ideal enough even for the most lax of road travelers, and none too shabby for a few Malaysians equipped with little more than strollers, binkies, comfort lovies and an ice box stocked with cold cuts, hard-boiled eggs, chocolate milk and cheesy snacks.

Our destination? Winthrop, an erstwhile goldmining town and sleepy cowboy town du jour, surrounded by acres and acres of mountains, forest, lakes, rivers, creeks and waterfalls.

Our route? Why, around the mountains, of course.

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We headed north and eastwards through towns small and big (mostly small), leaving the civilised structures of modern man, literally hurtling for the hills in our spunky little minivan. What did we find?

I’ll let the pictures do the talking:

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(it’s almost 90 degrees out and the snow’s still there. That is some stubborn snow!)

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Our inn. It’s really just a three suite house called the Riverview Inn.

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Truly, the view of the river from our inn.

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The old cowboy mining town of Winthrop. They’ve preserved most of the old buildings and built new ones that maintain the Western theme throughout, complete with saloon-style swinging doors and creaking wooden sidewalks. I wonder how all this looks in the winter.

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This is Falls Creek Falls, where we spent the afternoon wading and ‘fishing’ (with a bucket) and listening to the cold mountain waters pour noisily over rocks washed smooth and covered slick with moss. Never in my life would I have expected to be so fortunate as to be in the presence of such majesty and beauty. How can one deny the existence of God – any God – when one is surrounded by such creation?

All I could do was close my eyes and say a silent prayer of thanks, for Rae and Sky, for Lokes and I.

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Surrounding the Winthrop countryside are hay fields with dancing sprinklers, cattle farms, horse ranches (with very clever names like the one above), and sleepy little towns with wistful names like Twisp and Methow with nary a soul in sight after 6pm – except for this little guy.

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It was both magical and spooky to see the streets and businesses deserted while it was still so bright out, replete with dancing dust devils and banging screendoors, like a scene straight out of some bad B grade summer flick. Very authentic.

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Summer is the season for berries, which we’d promptly stuffed ourselves full of on our road trip. Our favourite? Definitely Rainier cherries, served very cold (and does not stain the fronts of childrens’ attire).

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On our way home, we dropped by Leavenworth, Washington’s very own (apparently dogs-only) Bavarian village nestled against the hills. The ‘architecture’, if you can call it that, is not as authentic as I’d expected and it was a lot more crowded than we’d like (not very nice when it’s 105 degrees out). Still, it was a good end to our holiday, where we celebrated with currywurst and a tall glass of bitter. Yummy.

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More pictures at my Flickr. You will need to get an account and be approved to see pictures of la familia.

Next stop: Chicago!