The Soul of the North Cascades



Bernie and I went to Big Valley to go snowshoeing on Thursday.

This is one of the few groomed multi use trails in the valley.

The groomed trail was so nice and compact that it was easy to walk on in just my boots.

And then at other times we made our own trail by snowshoe.




We made a track down to the Methow River.

We actually used to live across from Big Valley when we lived in Winthrop before.

We would cross the river by foot, and explore the trails that snake their way through

Big Valley.

It was good to visit this area again.




We enjoyed many expansive views from the large open fields.



See, here we are in BIG Valley.

(Bernie is showing us how big)




I have been practicing writing most mornings lately.

Below is a piece that I wrote that I am pondering sending into our

local weekly newspaper, just for the heck of it.

I am enjoying writing, and I look forward to improving on it.



  Bernie and I just moved back to the Methow Valley after 3 years of exploring our country through the beauty of the Aleutian Islands in 2008, the Pacific Crest Trail in 2009 and the Appalachian Trail in 2010. Over the last three years the valley has been in the back of my mind and deep within my heart. We had only lived in Winthrop two and a half years during our previous stay from 2005 to 2007, but there is something so special about this area that it has felt like home from that first moment.

  When we were pondering a place to move to for 2011, I kept trying to convince myself to try another part of the country, to experience something new and fresh. We visited the Southwest, and were in awe of the raw beauty that red rock country holds. And then we talked about the Oregon coast, to experience the wild call of the open ocean. The west still holds many places filled with the pureness of nature, and each of them would be spectacular to explore. But the more that I thought about exploring a new area, the more I felt the call of the Methow Valley.

  In our travels through the United States, this area is still one of the most beautiful I have experienced. Being nestled in the North Cascade Mountains provides a setting that is nourishing for mind, body and soul. How can one not be moved by nature here in this place that is still so saturated by it. The sheer majesty of the North Cascades provides a picturesque backdrop to our little communities. Right in our backyard we have an almost endless playground to go explore, and the inhabitants of the valley make sure to take advantage of this. I am being reminded each day of the amazing bounty of outdoor recreation opportunities that this perfect location grants us. We are exploring on almost a daily basis by snowshoe, and the spring and summer months call to me with their endless trails that will be revealed as the snow slowly retreats higher and higher in the mountains.

  The community that exists in the Valley was another strong draw to return to this area. Sadly there seems to be fewer true communities in our nation with each passing moment. I feel that small towns are one of the few hopes left for whole communities to exist. And the Methow Valley holds one of the kindest and loving group of people I have had the honor to experience. When living here it feels as if you are part of one large family, and yes, like any family we have our small upsets with each other. But more often I see everyone holding out their hand, asking how they can help each other, or simply being there with some kind words. During difficult times I think a community is measured by its kindness rather than its monetary gain, and with that I see the Methow Valley’s great riches.

  And so after trying to ignore the melody of this area, it has called me back. I am excited to once again be an instrument in the great orchestra of the Methow Valley. We have been welcomed back with the warm embrace of the community, and the joyous beauty of nature. Our time here will never be measured by the turning of a calendar, but by the experiences that build ones mind, body and soul.



A little treasure of nature that I found on our trek through Big Valley.

12 thoughts on “The Soul of the North Cascades

  1. Oh, I’d send that on for sure Stacey. I know they would be so proud to hear how someone who had been there and moved way feels to be back. You radiate a happiness and peace for sure. :c)

  2. Oh yes, do offer that to the newspaper, it is a wonderful piece of writing. I can only imagine that they will gobble it up and be proud to offer it to it’s readers!

  3. Dearest Stacey, I Love this post and have read it twice. I think I would love a small personable community like this as well. The land itself is just stunning. Magnificent. The Methow River is sooooooooooo beautiful. Your photos are fabulous and just made me want to see more and more. You really seem to have come to life in this area, as if you have returned to part of yourself. It is very beautiful.

    I think of you all the time and feel your presence in my life heart. Like the wild land here, you also are magnificently beautiful, even when you don’t know that you are. And again, I love your writing.

    Sending so much love dear heart,

  4. I LOVE your site and this post!! When I am homesick for the PNW and the North Cascades, I come here…Thank you for the inspiration and the healing salve 🙂

    • I indeed have seen Into the Wild. An interesting reflection on his journey and experiences. We each enter nature with such different expectations, skills and perspectives. I have to admit I wonder how much of the film and book are true to his experience, as I know there is much speculation by those who wrote them, but that is all part of the story also!

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