Monday, May 25, 2015

A Long Weekend in the Methow Valley

So I ran this little race on May 16th, maybe I mentioned it? Anyways, the race was held in Winthrop, in the Methow Valley, nestled in to the north Cascades. We stayed in Mazama, about 15 miles west of Winthrop on Highway 20. Mazama is a "blink and you'll miss it" kind of town.

My family and I drove up to our rented cabin in Mazama on Thursday. Leaving after lunch, we arrived just before dinner. We took advantage of some scenic overlooks on the windy drive up Highway (meaning the two lane road goes back and forth constantly, not the strong blowing air). It is an incredibly gorgeous scenic drive. Highly recommend it, unless you're the driver, in that case KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD. 

Both of these were taken out the front windshield, which is probably obvious.

At the Gorge Overlook.

Our cabin was at Timberline Meadows in Mazama. I reserved it online and it was absolutely perfect for our family. The exact cabin we stayed in was called "Crazy Squirrels" which was, hello, basically named after our children. It had a loft with beds and a bedroom upstairs and one bedroom downstairs plus two full bathrooms, a well equipped kitchen, cozy living room, and dining area. It also had a back deck that had an amazing mountain view. While there are several other cabins at Timberline Meadows, I would highly recommend this one if you are looking for a perfect place to stay in the Winthrop area (and, sadly, I was given zero discount for writing this). 

Two crazy squirrels at Crazy Squirrels.

A friendly (I think?) moth that visited our cabin.

A clear, shallow creek ran through the backyard of the cabins, maybe about 20 yards back, and there was a small bridge easily accessible from our cabin. It provided plenty of entertainment for our family, especially our youngest daughter. She developed a pretty spectacular game called Pine Cone Fishing, which entails taking a long stick and fixing a large plastic container on the end. Then you stand on the bridge, throw a pine cone in to the water, then catch it in your container when it comes past. 

Pine cone fishing. 

The first night we ate dinner out in Winthrop at Old Schoolhouse Brewery. It was surprising how busy the restaurant was on a Thursday night! I didn't have a good sense for how much of the crowd was local, vs how many were there on vacation, but it was a fun, bustling atmosphere. We were all pleased with our meal, and I was especially happy with the pint of brown ale I guzzled. 

Outside of The Old Schoolhouse Brewery.

After dinner it was back to the cabin for dessert (I made sure to pack lots of treats for the trip!) and family games. The cabin was stocked with games and we also brought a few of our own.

Two games of Sorry! I won one, Eloise won one.

The next morning we woke up and planned to spend a lazy morning in the cabin before heading out. After lunch we packed our maps and drove off to find Chickadee Trailhead, which was where the race would start the next morning, and Sun Mountain Lodge. Iris and I had visited Sun Mountain Lodge five years prior and were excited to be back again. We checked out the gift shop (where I bought some special muscle-relaxing bath salts for after the race) and then headed out to see if we could figure out which trails the race would use as it came through the property on Saturday. 

Matt and the girls up by Sun Mountain Lodge.

Matt's photo of Eloise walking back to the lodge alone because she hated the 1/2 mile hike. 
Can you spot her?

Iris and I playing on a small bit of trail that I would have to go up on Saturday. 
On Friday I ran up this. On Saturday I practically crawled. 

After Sun Mountain Lodge we went back to downtown Winthrop for a little shopping and some ice cream. Eloise bought a cowboy hat at The Iron Horse. Iris bought some books and pencils, and I bought a magazine, at Trails's End bookstore. We all enjoyed ice cream at Sheri's Sweet Shoppe. I had birthday cake flavor, complete with blue frosting ripples and sprinkles, because I am 37 going on 4. 

Cowgirl Eloise.

Cowgirl Iris.

Bubblegum ice cream.

After a quick stop at the grocery store for a couple of things it was back to the cabin for dinner and winding down. There was a race to run the next day! 

Legs up the sliding glass door the night before the race.

I wrote about my run here (you know, in case you missed it) and while I was off doing that Matt and the girls had a few more adventures in Winthrop. They hit up the hat shop once more for a cowboy hat for Iris and checked out the mini golf by the ice cream stand. Apparently Matt won free ice cream because he made some fancy pants shot during mini golf! 

After the race we drove back to the cabin. It started to rain right when we arrived. This development thwarted my plans of sitting in the creek for an ice bath because I prefer keeping my upper half as warm and dry as possible while I freeze my lower half. So instead I went directly in to the tub with the bath salts, which felt heavenly. We don't have a bath tub at home so it's been an extremely long time since I've relaxed in a bath!

Each time I woke up that night I could hear the rain on the metal roof of the cabin. The first two mornings I was awoken to the chorus of birds singing in the trees, the last it was the rain. I loved it!

For some reason I was wide awake at 5:00 am on Sunday, and felt GREAT. I made breakfast for everyone and before we knew it, it was time to pack up for the drive home. The sky was gloomy and the clouds hung very low that morning, it felt like a fitting day to shove off. 

Sunday morning's view.

During the trip Matt and I spent some time on the back deck of the cabin contemplating how we could afford to buy our very own cabin in the Methow Valley. Maybe we just need a very generous donor who would like to increase our quality of life a million-fold. Anyone out there fit that description??? I would even move up there in a heartbeat if we could. I absolutely loved the mountains and the trails and quaint small towns. 

The drive home was fairly uneventful. My favorite part was getting out of the car at a random gas station and having the woman pumping gas next to us ask if I was the runner who hurt her toes at the race. Ha! I saw another runner I knew from the High Heels Running Group (who had run the 50 miler on Saturday!) inside the gas station, as well. 

The story of the weekend wouldn't be complete without one more fun addition. When we arrived home we discovered we left Eloise's rolling backpack in the cabin. I called Timberline Meadows and they said they would ship it back to us, but it would have cost a lot of money. Fortunately I remembered there might be some runners still up in Winthrop so I posted online asking if anyone was coming through that could pick it up for us. And yes! There was! An incredibly kind runner named Rachel offered to get it. She and her husband picked it up and her husband brought it to work with him on Tuesday, where Eloise and I retrieved it. Just one more example of why runners are an awesome group of helpful people.

Rachel posted a selfie with the backpack!

We cannot wait to get back up to the Methow Valley for another vacation!

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