Wednesday, September 8, 2010

America By Car

And we're back.

Here are some pics from our Labor Day camping trip to the Chewuch River, north of Winthrop, Washington, in the Okanogan National Forest [click to enlarge].

Many more, and some mildly entertaining stories, after the jump.

I love camping on a river. It always reminds me of the first (or one of the first) camping trips I ever took, with my dad, up to Coal Creek. There is something about walking on rocks across a river that never gets old.

We also took in the local scene in the nearby towns of Twisp and Winthrop, as we do.

The brewery in Twisp is right on a river as well so, you know, it's still nature. Their IPA is one of the best I've had.

It was really nice during the day but extremely fricking freezing the first night. We made chili and tamales and sat by the fire.

The next morning we went up the road to find the trail to Black Lake.

The forest there burned in 2003 and on first thought I was a little disappointed – but after awhile you realize there is a stark beauty to it, and we were able to see a lot of details in the mountains that are generally hidden by trees. Plus, we got to pretend we were in The Road.

The burnt tree bark is a really cool color of silvery black and there were a ton of other colors and details in the rocky ground. The thing was: no sooner had we started in on the trail, maybe a mile in, the wind really picked up, and we heard a huge crack that sounded like a gunshot or thunder. As Emily realized it was a burnt tree falling, another one fell a lot closer to us. We froze and wondered if we should turn back, since all we could see in front of us was a field of burnt trees, and the weather looked worse down the valley, where we were headed. Ahead of us a hundred yards, I saw some other hikers, and I could tell they were wondering the same thing. Right then, a gigantic tree started to fall not 6 feet behind them, and completely obliterated the trail – they had to jump out of the way. So at that point, with the wind really blowing, we took off running back to the trailhead.

Everyone was okay and Emily and I decided to pick a slightly less stark-and-modern forest to hike in.

Gaudí-esque patterns in unburnt wood.

One of my favorite things about car camping is getting up early, making a big pot of coffee, and catching up on reading, all the while surrounded by the great outdoors. I make no claims to roughing it in any way on these trips, but damn, they are relaxing.


Kristina Pants said...

Completely beauteous. It makes me miss the Pacific NW sooooooo much.

Natasha Kroll said...

I was totally worried you had not updated the blog in one a whole day. I am GLAD you two are alive.

Toni said...

I enjoyed reading about your trip. I spent a few days in Winthrop a couple of years ago while hiking in the North Cascades with La Treks--nice town. We didn't know about the brewery in Twisp, tho, unfortunately. Love you both...

Lezlie said...

Thanks for this guys. I love the Methow area and have spent many wild nights at the Palace in Winthrop when John was playing there. Old whore house with all the rooms intact. Crazy times with crazier people!

Strath said...

Being there made me want to watch McCabe & Mrs. Miller again! Such a cool area.