As we prepare to leave the Columbia River - perhaps for the last time - Ole Sol gives us a bright send off.
I have been in Pateros many times during my lifetime, but this is the first time I have rally seen this unique picturesque riverside community...where lived some of my family in the early days of Washington Statehood.
Methow River flows under the railroad bridge, adding it's waters to the mighty Columbia.
Starting my walk up the Methow Valley, a quiet calm morning silhouettes residential Pateros.
One of the earliest valleys to receive apple orchards, Methow River Valley waits our inspection.
There have been violent times here.
Replaced today by Mexican laborers looking for a better life. This fellow, about to treat his apple orchard to control pests.
The action end of that giant spray machine.
Many ranches offer one room cottages for their migrant orchard workers.
Basic, but functional and spotless clean. I was informed that "pickers" would be arriving within the next 30 days.
Already today, I have purchased - and enjoyed - the first of the Cherry crop...delicious at $7.00 per pound.
This is a land of bountiful wild life...Grey Wolves being trapped, tagged and released with tracking collars only two days ago (according to the local newspaper).
The orchard trees are pruned in late winter - before the sap (tree blood) rises from the roots. Short trees make it much easier to reach the fruit come picking time.
Wild flowers also find a welcome home in Methow River Valley.
The Methow River becomes a bit wild in it's rush down the valley to reach the Columbia.
Mountain living, Methow River Valley style.
Valley hills become quickly quite steep. The terraced orchards reach high up the sides, reminding me of the farming techniques of the Yangtze River Valley in Central China - where I recently spent a couple weeks.
Early on, we can see snow capped mountains in the distance. We will be climbing up that mountain in the next couple days.
Why many bridges are in dire need of maintenance or replacement.
Ripening fruit hanging from orchard trees below this Propane powered fan...used to keep cold air circulating to prevent freezing onto the trees...death to the fruit crop.
There is something stimulating and beautiful in an orchard.
Home-made bridge spanning the Methow River.
Every available flat spot between the treeless hills receive an orchard.
Plenty of hills for my 32 miles up the Methow River Valley to the town of Twisp.
What we drove before World War II...and still tooling around the steep mountains.
Proof positive that many mountain roads have narrow curves...imagine walking here when a couple 18-wheelers come swinging around the bend...no place to escape.
Those dented guard rails are caused by the 18-wheeler trailer tires banging against them...simply not enough room to safely make the curve.
Rafting is popular on the Methow River. I saw the rubber rafts being carried by trailer, but did not see any floating down the river.
No comment needed... these two beauties did RUN to me when I began talking to them as I walked by.
Methow...mid 1880s town well on the way to becoming a Ghost Town.
Reaching the town of Methow, returned to SPIA waiting back beside the Columbia River in the town of Pateros...my one last look at the mighty Columbia.
We then drove through the Methow River Valley to the town of Twisp, where we planned to stay the night.
I did another 2.5 hour walk from Twist BACK toward the town of Methow...to pick up the final 10 miles we drove.
Yes, I received a grunt or two from this gorgeous T-Bone on the Hoof.
What was until only a few years ago, used to cut the vast wheat and alfalfa fields across America...some times pulled by Oxen...later by Tractor.
Please say HELLO to Laurie.
Asking for permission to park SPIA for the night at the Twisp "Do It" Hardware store, Laurie asked me if I wouldn't prefer to come home with her for dinner with she and hubby, John. Did not need to be asked twice.
Enjoyed a marvelous evening of chat, wine, excellent food, and visit from Son and Daughter in Law.
SPIA was given a special spot for the night next to Laurie and John's Motor Home.
John amused me by relating experiences of their 15 or so years living in Twisp, with nightly visits by Mountain Lions, and mysteriously disappearing chickens from inside the Chicken Coup.
We visited well into the late evening. I decided to wain 'til morning to do our blog update.
It is now 7:00 am...been working on this update since 4:00 am this morning...labor of love !
In a few moments, Laurie and John will poke their heads out to be off to work - they are owners of Twisp Do It Hardware -. Must remember to get a pic of John.
I will then drive SPIA to the town of Winthrop, Washington, 10 miles distant from Twisp; then, will walk BACK toward Twisp before tackling the Big Hill - North Cascade Pass - waiting beyond Winthrop.