Last year we had such a good time at Methow Valley and I felt like I wasn't quite done with the area, so we decided on a return. This year I was a little more prepared and ready to book at the time the reservations opened up. We decided on February (as oppose to December) in the hopes that the longer days and hopefully better weather would make the drive less eventful. We aimed to make the drive in two days, but ended up driving almost all the way on the first day before booking a hotel for the night. In Winthrop we met up with one of the other families, Scott, Sandra and their two kids, H age 4 and E age 7. We spend the day playing on a snowy hill and on the outdoor skating rink. We had another night at a hotel here, so we would be ready to head out bright and early the next day.
Monday morning we dropped our stuff of at the Cub Creek trailhead for the snowmobile to take in. Since we had skied in from this trailhead last year we decided to ski in from the Gun Ranch trailhead this year. At the trailhead we met with the other family joining us, Tim, Mirella and their 6 year old T. The ski in from Gun Ranch was really nice as we often had views down the Methow valley. Our family quickly fell behind the other families as I attempted to tow F on her downhill skis, while Christian was towing N in the chariot. At lunch time we caught up to the group again, and F then decided to switch to her cross country skis and ski with H. They were not particularly efficient at moving forward, but they were having a good time. Later on stories were required to get any forward progress, but we did eventually make it into the Rendezvous Cabin. The cabin is well located with a nice view and access to most of the trails on the plateau. We managed to find room for everyone inside despite the recommendation that the cabin only fits 8 people.
We spent three nights at the Rendezvous cabin taking turns going for skis with or without the kids. We let F decide what she wanted to do every day, since we had decided where we were going on holiday. Most days she decided to stay in or play outside the cabin. The other kids all went on a ski every day. Outside the cabin E worked on an igloo with the help of his parents, while the F and the the other girls build lots of little castles. Inside the cabin we had lots of reading and artwork going on. We took turns cooking dinner and we had some pretty luxurious ones. Having an oven, pots, pans, and a snowmobile to carry heavy produce really increases the food quality.
After three nights Scott, Sandra and their kids headed back home as they had a cross country race they needed to get to in Callaghan. The rest of us also packed up all our stuff, but only to have it snowmobiled over to the Cassel Hut. This cabin also had great views over the Methow valley, but it was substantially smaller, so we were happy to only be two families. There was an awesome hill behind the hut with open snow slopes on it. On the first night we set a good boot pack trail up and a great tobogganing run down. Christian and F also went on a few backcountry ski runs down the slope. N just enjoyed being towed back and forth on the cross country trail in the toboggan. One of the days I attempted to bake some buns and they turned out pretty okay. It sure was a treat to have freshly baked bread in the backcountry. Christian skied all the way over to the nearby town, Mazama, where he was impressed by the big banner reading "Mazama is a sanctuary community" and on the reverse "No person is above the law"; Sandra, in particular, was hesitant to travel to the US in the post-Trump era, but the signs made us feel good about supporting the local economy.
After two night at the Cassel it was time for us to head home. The ski out to the car was about 14 km of slight downhill. F managed to ski all of it by herself. She did have a bit of a hard time about 2/3 of the way down when we met one of the rangers. She supplied us with a couple of lollipops that helped power F the rest of the way down. This time I felt like I had managed to see/ski most of the trails, and Christian definitely managed to ski all of them, so I felt done with the area for now. However, I have no doubt that we will be back again in a couple of years.
Say Nuth Khaw Yum
Discovery Islands Bike loop
East Coast Trail
Recent tips and thought
Pandemic pondering and wandering
Tweaking our haul-a-day
Making kids crampons
Digging a snowcave
Make a kid towing harness