Posted by: sunnyharvy | May 13, 2015

A Methow May

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Pastel Painting by Laurie Fry

The Methow Valley in Washington State is always scenic, but this May it is particularly painterly. From the ever-changing skies to green hillsides dotted with bright yellow Arrowleaf Balsamroot sunflower bouquets.

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The leaves are large and arrow shaped, hence the common name. Besides being a visual delight, this wild flower of the Asteraceae family has played an important role in the ecology of the Methow for thousands of years. Dense roots run deep into the rocky soils, preventing erosion; large leaves provide habitat to many scurrying animals and the leaves, flowers and seeds provide an important food source to mammals as small as field mice, to ungulates and humans. The resinous roots have been an important medicine for humans for countless eons.

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I may have never seen this beautiful area if my good friend Janet had not moved here decades ago. Thankfully she did, so I have visited several times, including as recently as last September in haRVy.

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Our campsite next to Janet’s house and workshop.

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 Beaver pond from Janet’s front porch.

The Methow valley is just over 50 miles long and is located a couple hours (as the crow flies) from the Canadian border and 4 hours from the Pacific Ocean. The valley boasts of large tracts of wilderness and a variety of ecological niches, from the sagebrush steppe to riparian rivers, to evergreen forests and alpine peaks.

Last Friday Janet and I went on a girls-only outing to Winthrop, which is about a 20 minute drive “up valley,” as the locals say. Participants in the annual Ride to the Rendezvous were due to finish their four-day ride through the Methow Valley with a parade down Main Street at noon, so we planned accordingly.

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We enjoyed a delicious lunch on the back porch overlooking the river at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery before heading to the Big Valley Trailhead to ride our bikes.

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 The new full-face helmet we decided I needed after Al’s accident.

Back in Winthrop after our ride, I did a little shopping, which is a rare activity for me these days. I couldn’t resist purchasing a beautiful pine needle basket handmade by local artisan and musician Lauralee Northcott. I also bought some telescoping hiking poles and a new pair of Darn Tough socks in preparation for some anticipated hilly hiking in British Columbia and Alaska this summer.

On Sunday Janet drove us up a long dirt road to Blackpine Lake to join some friends for a Mother’s Day and birthday celebration.

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Don’t worry, those are NOT hot dogs you see us eating, but delicious spicy Italian chicken sausages.

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 Kathy cooked them up for us over the open fire she built.

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Janet enjoying a cool Corona with lunch.

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Al and I took a hike around the lake.

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Michael, Janet, and Kathy out for a spin. Powered by electricity as gas motors are not allowed.

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A beautiful outing we all enjoyed.  Someone in the group said, “Every Sunday should be like this.” I couldn’t agree more!

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Janet’s cat getting a drink of water the hard way – with both front feet in.

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Responses

  1. love these photos!

  2. Looks like a fun bunch of women……..and cat ! Beautiful photos…….


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