Over the mountains and through the woods

Pardon me for playing catch up with a bunch of behind-posts, but I wanted to share this adventure.  Several weeks ago, when I was recovering from a nasty cold, Fiance asked if I was up for a car ride to check out some potential camping spots and a cool Bavarian-style village we had heard so much about.  I figured I could sleep just as well in the car as on the couch if I was feeling too puny, so I said yeah let’s go.  He was all prepared with maps and such, so navigation duties were thankfully brainless.  (My brain cells had been organizing a successful rebellion for several days against any sort of activity remotely resembling “work.”)

So we started out on the familiar path along US-2 toward Steven’s Pass.  There was still snow at the pass elevation, but the ski resort was closed for the summer season.  (Summer, yeah right.  But that’s another discussion.)

Our first stop was Wallace Falls State Park, near the town of Gold Bar and just west of the pass, where the campground we were interested in is located right on the Wallace River.

Definitely a very nice camping spot, with handy amenities, hiking, and the falls nearby.  We’re including this one on our must-camp list.

This was just a scoping trip, so we moved on to the next spot.  We had heard a lot about the scenery and popularity of Lake Wenatchee State Park, so we checked it out for ourselves.  The photo says it all.

I can definitely see myself paddling around this lake, or enjoying a picnic on this beach.  Also an add for the must-camp list.

Gratuitous shot of the Mini, Zug, enjoying yet another curve-hugging trip through the mountains.  Whee!

Then onward to Leavenworth, the Bavarian style village that everyone says is a must-see.

I have to say it was fun and very interesting, though not so much when experiencing a head cold.  They even had a live band playing themed music in the town square.  We’ll have to go back sometime when I’m up for heaping plates full of yummy German food, browsing in the cute shops, and walking along the Wenatchee River.  We ate, but I couldn’t taste the goodness.  Sigh.

After Leavenworth, we made a quick stop at the Peshastin Pinnacles State Park.  There is no camping here, but the Pinnacles are a grouping of sandstone slabs and spires that were thrust up from an ancient sea floor long, long before the Cascade Mountains were born and grew up to overshadow them.  Folks come to climb them and are rewarded with fabulous views of the surrounding valley and the mountains beyond.  Somehow the folks taking photographs of the geologic formations for their Web site managed to get a better view than we did.  We were less than impressed by the mass of electrical lines running right through the place.  Ugh!  So, no sharable pics.

Starting around Leavenworth, the road winds down out of the mountains and into a valley heavily populated by fruit orchards – primarily apple and pear.  This is beautiful country for a nice winding drive, not to mention now I know where to go for apple picking after we give up our current rental house with its abundance of apples.

The Wenatchee River runs into the Columbia River near the town of Wenatchee and is roughly the point where the foothills of the mountains run out and the high plains begin.  This was the easternmost point in our day trip.  There is a nice campground and park near the point of this confluence.  It’s a nicely manicured spot, but other than that there isn’t much to interest us.  We might choose to stay there as a nice stopover point on our way to somewhere else but not as a destination.

We then backtracked a bit to turn south on US-97 toward I-90, so we could take I-90 back to the city.  There were a bunch of smaller, out of the way campgrounds along this highway that deserve some further exploration.  If you can’t tell yet, we like the hilly, wooded, secluded type of camping, preferably with hiking trails and a water feature nearby.  The Cascades don’t disappoint, since they are full of little streams and small lakes in out of the way places.

Our last scheduled stop was at Lake Easton State Park, just off I-90 near the town of Easton in the Cascade Mountain foothills.  It was nearly dark by the time we arrived, so there are no photos to share, but this one is also going on the must-camp list.  The park is large enough to have several very nice campgrounds along the lake, along with a beach.  And it’s an easy getaway distance from the city for a weekend’s unplugging session.

Actually, they all are, which is why we were checking them out.

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