Thursday, October 27, 2011

Best Cabin Ever

A couple weeks ago, we took a family adventure to a cabin over in the hills near Winthrop. The Rendezvous Huts are somewhat well known as the ultimate cross country skiing experience in the winter - 5 huts with miles of ski trails between them. Just last year they decided to open them up for rental during the spring & fall. During the winter you have to ski to even reach them and your gear is carted up on a snowmobile. Lucky for us, everything is connected by forest service roads in the summer.

When we got to the last turn off to our cabin, it was not marked in any way ("take the first right after the cattle guard") and the very primitive road seemed to go on forever to who knows where. Finally we spotted the hut, perched on a hill overlooking the Methow valley. No civilization in sight (the nearest cabin is aprox 1 mile away and hills hide winthrop, mazama, etc)

It was awesome. Ok, a little panicky at first because it was getting dark quickly and we had to figure out how to turn on the propane lights & stove so we could cook our dinner. Did I mention the hut has no running water, no refrigeration - but does have an outhouse, a wood stove stocked with firewood and a huge propane tank for a couple lights & the stove? Awesome. After dinner we sat outside and marveled at the stars & full moon. When we woke up the next morning, we were greeted with snow dusted peaks out the whole wall of windows opposite our beds.

So pretty. After a hearty breakfast we hiked from our hut down into the valley. Supposedly there are "miles of singletrack" bike trails, but the one near us was sort of steep, so me & the kids left the bikes behind. There was also supposed to be a lot of wildlife in the area (bears, cougars, deer) but all we saw were lots of cows. The cabin is on leased DNR land and apparently they also lease the land to cattle farmers. We met some who were rounding up the cattle to bring them in for the winter (wearing cowboy hats & riding horses) and had a good chat about what happens to the meat. The cows are out there for about 6 months of their lives - spring till fall, then the calves get shipped to feed lots where they live for about a year before they are harvested. Sometimes the owners sell to Painted Hills - a high end producer in Idaho, but this year the cows were headed to a mega (dare I say "factory farm"?) place in Oklahoma. Crazy that it makes more (financial) sense to ship them that far then have them stay nearby. And crazy that these pasture raised cows were just going to a mega packhouse instead of being "high end". Anyways, I digress.

We spent our two days hiking, riding bikes and just hanging out. It was so relaxing & amazing. Winthrop was about 15 -20 minutes away, so we went their for lunch & ice cream one day too.

This adorable girl kept telling me all weekend that "I don't look pretty!" because I refused to pack her any skirts or dresses and she had to wear ugly purple velour sweat pants for riding her bike & hiking. Sigh. (did I mention she said it in tears, many times, often while screaming and kicking her legs on the floor every time I had her get dressed?)

My favorite time was when Saben & I went off together to try and reach the top of this big hill behind our hut (seen below...kyle climbed & biked down it a few times). He has finally reached the age where he can do some real hiking. We went up and up the steep slope for 20 minutes, stopping for views and with me yelling silly things constantly to scare the bears away. I couldn't believe how far up he went and we never did reach the top since we hadn't really told kyle where we were going and I didn't want him to worry.

We had great weather - cold & crisp at night, which made the fireplace oh so cozy. Then sunny during the day and our last night a gorgeous rainstorm moved through right at sunset. I could have stared at the clouds & changing light for hours, but played a round of Uno with the family instead. I don't think you'd actually want to go in the heat of summer, much cozier in the fall or spring.
I also wouldn't take kids much younger than ours. It would be easy for a little one to roll down the hill outside next to the deck, plus you have the hot wood stove and lots of ladders to worry about. Our kid's ages were ideal - 4 & 6. There is also a sleeping loft that had some pads in it, so theoretically you could fit 7-10 people. But that is with people getting pretty cozy on some of the larger sleeping mats. And in the loft, there is no rail around the "stair hole" so youngsters could maybe slip through in their sleep. And its super hot up there when the fire is going.

Basically the cabin is like camping without having to pack so much. And it is more isolated than any campground and even than a lot of backpacking locations. Its clean - but not spotless. Dead bugs were around, even in some of the dishes that hadn't been used in a while. But if you can handle that, the view & isolation more than make up for it.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Annika in the Morning

I have been living in the dark ages and just now finally taught myself how to use picasa. You don't even want to know the tedious things I was doing prior in order to publish pictures. For some reason I just didn't have it in me to learn new technology until now. I would open picasa, stare at it and then close it again. Then a couple nights ago I figured it out in just 5 minutes and felt like an idiot for wasting so much time. works now and it is so much easier to post pictures on my blog. Hopefully this means I'll be writing here more!