Tuesday-- Into the Cascades & Winthrop
Due to lack of internet signal, this will be a short entry.
The Cascade mountains got their name from the fact that the river formed cascades running down to the sea. After years and years of being called “The Mountains”, "the snow-capped", or "the mountains by the cascades", the general term "cascades" was adopted.
The winding two lane road that leads up from the shore or I-5 reminds us a lot of the journey up to Canaan Valley in WV. Sheer rock walls, drop offs, mountain peaks, and lots of pine trees.
We stop in a visitor center that will close at the end of the season, which is just next week. We enjoy the walk from the interactive center about three minutes to a tremendous overlook, a vista of the mountain peaks with a glacier far up and in the distance. The boardwalk is new lumber, and the entire visitors center has only been there a year or so. The displays are fresh, clean, not worn, and informative. We could have stayed another half hour to walk through the displays.
Another piece down the road we stop for the overlook, another view down into a hairpin curve and valley as well look up toward Liberty Bell mountain. Again, I do another Facebook live, the last with any cell service. I have the feeling I have been here before, and recall my folks drove our family around Seattle in the late sixties one summer, and we saw this sight.
Our trip has had very few bumps in the road, and that is good: We learn we are the third Holiday Vacation trip this year on this route, the first two facing either forest fire smoke or a blown bus tire from a rockfall last May. They have combined the 3rd and 4th weeks into our trip to assure enough people can go, and our mixture from WV, Ohio, Wisconsin and all across the nation seem to work well together. Everyone is peaceful and low key. It’s a refreshing trip and we cover a lot of ground each day.
Next, we descending into Winthrop, WA, home of Bigfoot sightings, we are told. It’s a horse/ranch valley, and the western flavor is unmistakable. The town has rebuilt itself since the 1970s to promote that western frontier town image. We walk the boardwalk sidewalks and window shop. Some stop for ice cream or a light lunch at Sheri’s Sweet Treats, which includes miniature golf, ice cream, fudge shop, etc. The courtyard is very pleasant with a light breeze, and I find my first yellow-jacket interested in my food. Some shop in the many stores for souvenirs, glass figures, leather goods, etc. We found the town glass blower and have a good conversation about penny presses, "Spock-ing" Canadian paper money and more.
Finally we board the motor coach and wind six and a half miles around a large mountain to the top, where Mountain Sun Lodge and Cabins are perched. This commanding view is stunning, with no clouds, bright sunshine and dried grasses in all directions surrounded by mountains.
There is no cell service, no TVs, no radios, and no distractions here. A horse corral and stable attract some to walk down a steep slope and visit before dinner. We eat a buffet of salmon, chicken, vegetables and cheese cake. Surprisingly, there is only coffee, tea or water…no soft drinks, but they are available down the hall in the bar, we are told. All is well. Two pools, two hot tubs and a beautiful sunset beckon us as the sun sets. The moon is full and romantic tonight. This is the resort's 50th anniversary and we meet a Doctor and his naturist researcher wife who have been coming to retreat annually for 25 years just to get away.
This is the first night we have the opportunity to sleep-in under a full moon, and all are taking advantage of it. I sleep for 12 hours though waking occasionally to check the moon, the planets and the skies outside.
Tomorrow, onto Leavenworth… a Bavarian town… not the prison!