Caspar Institute logoitinerary   < 13 September to Mazama   15 September to Bend >

Mazama 14 September 2019

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After a good nights sleep and a slow start, we drove a mile down the road to the trailhead for the Founders Trail along the Methow River and across the suspension bridge. Grey skies, but comfortable out. Lots of folks (most with dogs) using the trail.



foliage beside the trail
Foliage along the trail

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This trail network is designated the "Community Trails" and appears to be seriously supported and maintained by an active community. There can't be that many people living here, but this is an obvious refuge – I've seen that word before, today! – for escapees from the Seattle megalopolis, most of whom probably thought that moving to the Great Northwest meant life with Nature. 

Here, the trail is pinched between river and a clay/sand bank that's obviously subject to failure. Instead of just a concrete mega-block retaining wall, why not...

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<p>Methow River looking North from the Suspension Bridge</p>

Methow River looking North from the Suspension Bridge

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Rochelle caught me framing the picture of the upstream river and the mountain behind. 

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And then again, the river runs south. It's an important Salmon stream, and here at the bridgehead there's a sign that explains "the hidden lake", the slow-moving underground river below the surface water, and the delicate balance between rain and groundwater. If we humans have sufficiently upset / degraded the environment with our activities, this Holocene Era during which Salmon figured out how to be anadromous – no mean feat! – may come to an end. We keep hoping it's not too late, and that meaningful, effective action can be taken. Awareness of that (and the forces counterpoised against such action) is with us every day.

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I love the color differences between dry river rocks and their wet neighbors.

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However, I am not convinced that the dogs appreciate such subtle color differences. What they like is the wet coolness. 

This is clearly dog heaven. On our walk we passed maybe 25 people and probably 16 dogs.





Again, here at the suspension bridge, as at the Washington Pass Overlook, there's evidence that the people who frequent these places put serious though and tangible love into their stewardship – and are eager to have visitors like us come along and share their caring. At Washington Pass Overlook there was a poem (I had never seen before, but that I foolishly failed to take a picture of ...and we ain't goin' back!)

Here we found the sign explaining the hidden river, and this sweet poem, again, unknown previously to me. Reading the words aloud made this place even more beautiful. Thank you, Methow River Stewards.

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<p>The suspension bridge and the poem on the sign beside the bridge</p>

The suspension bridge and the poem on the sign beside the bridge

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Drove up the Methow Valley until the road petered out, and back to the Methow Store, which reminded me of the Warren Store in Vermont: obviously upscale clientele, young ones here, presented with a panoply of fancy goods, edibles and durables, that one might enjoy having. Bubblegum plums shaped like purple ping pong balls so sweet their taste lasts for minutes, Irish butter, "the best baguettes ever" (according to the woman behind me in the checkout line. I'll report later.)

We came home and I cooked smashed purple potatoes (in Irish butter) that we'd hauled all the way from Ganges Saturday Market along with goods from Skagit Valley Co-op and a bottle of Salt Spring Island Red Cider.

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<p>Goat Creek</p>

Goat Creek

After lunch, we stumbled over the rocky ground to the south of the cabin until we found Goat Creek happily chortling away in its bed. We sat for awhile and watched the water striders, and talked about why we wouldn't want to live here. (Snow, remoteness we want to live in Caspar. Like I said earlier today, “I've already insulted everybody I live near. It'd be a lot of work to start over.” That made Rochelle chortle.) 


There was an admirable rock sitting with its feet in the stream next to us. I wanted to take it home, but (a) it said it was very happy being right where it was, having made a long trip to get there, and (b) it weighed about a ton.


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<p>Conglomerate boulder</p>

Conglomerate boulder

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April 2020: forgot to report on the bestness of the baguette as promised. Very good by Seattle standards, but if French bakers are allowed to compete, just good. For Mazama, extraordinary, and completely appreciated. 

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