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Methow Valley Winter Trails

Sunday, Jan 11, 2015; Short loop trip from Sun Mountain Lodge

This trip was a Winter Trails event [] in the Methow Valley region. Winter Trails Weekend offered two days of Nordic skiing and snowshoeing, all of which was coordinated by Chris Ensor of the Seattle Branch. The objectives were threefold: 1) to encourage people to participate in self-powered outdoor winter activities; 2) to introduce people to The Mountaineers; and 3) to also introduce, or re-introduce, them to the Methow region, which was hard-hit by last summer's Carleton Complex wildfire. The 4:30 drive time from Seattle effectively mandated making a weekend of it. Guests (non members of the Mountaineers) as well as members were invited to sign up for these trips, so they had to be at the Beginner (Easy) level.

On Sunday, January 11, we snowshoers met at 8:30 AM in the public parking area just south of the Winthrop Ice and Sports Rink [] to begin the 9-mile, 20-minute, steep, winding, and icy drive up to Sun Mountain Lodge []. We parked in the employees' lot to avoid displacing guests, and went into the Activities Shop in the Lodge [] to buy the $5 daily snowshoe pass that's required on all Methow Trails [] routes. There were ten of us on this trip, with seven others having canceled.

I'd planned a short, 3-mile, 500' gain trip, to allow ample time for the drive back to Puget Sound. We got under way at around 9:30, and, studiously avoiding the Nordic ski practice area, headed south, then west on the well-marked Horse Trail [] before linking up with the View Ridge Trail westward down the ridge to the abandoned Hough Homestead. While the Houghs are long gone, their former property is used by Sun Mountain for its summer trail ride breakfasts and dinners. The resort has built a framed cooking area, emergency shelter and campfire to accommodate the trail rides. There is also a pit toilet at the site, located next to the corral and the ruins of the Houghs' barn. We returned via the Kraule (pronounced KRAU-lee) Trail to complete a loop, arriving back at the lodge at 12:15. Five of us stayed to enjoy a well-deserved lunch inside the lodge at the Wolf Creek Bar & Grill.

Photos at

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