Sunday, October 21, 2007


YMCA trip to Leavenworth, WA

On Friday, October 12th my Skagit Valley YMCA took another day trip via tour bus to the Bavarian themed town across the Cascade Mountains of Leavenworth, WA. This is a town I visited with this group on Oct. 1 of last year. This year we were nearly two weeks later and the fall color of the leaves in Stevens Pass especially was brilliant. We have many evergreen trees here in the northwest so the colored leaves tend to stand out in groups among the dark green of the fir and spruce. They are especially noticed along streams and in the avalanche chutes in the mountains. Pat went along of course and there were 45 others plus our driver from Hesselgrave Tours.

We left the Y at 8:30, drove south on I-5 to Everett where we picked up the highway US-2 to travel across Stevens Pass. Leavenworth is located on the east side of the summit along the Wenatchee River and on US-2. By the time we started up into the pass we were under clouds and had periodic drizzle type rain all the way across. That cut the amount of light available so, even with the ISO raised to 400, there is noticeable blurring in the photos, especially of things close to the bus as we were moving along the highway.

Leavenworth II - 03
This first photo is on the west side of the summit but not too far below it. The road runs along a deep valley which allows you to actually look down on the trees below and see some clouds in the air, too. This shows some of the brilliant colors and remember that it is heavily overcast so there is no sunshine. Think how these colors would jump out if it had been sunny!

Leavenworth II - 01
Looking out the bus window at the ski area at Stevens Pass. No snow yet as of the 12th but it has come now, although not enough yet to open the ski area to skiers.

Leavenworth II - 02
A scene inside our bus. I've tried to expose for detail inside so everything outside the bus is burned out by over exposure. You can see our leader, Ginger, at the right side of the photo in the front of the bus with her arm raised in the aisle.

Leavenworth II - 04
This was taken on the east side of the summit and not too far outside Leavenworth. The river is the Wenatchee River which the highway follows into town. You can also dramatically see the damage done 5 or 6 years ago by a forest fire. The forest will recover but it takes quite a few years to do so.

Leavenworth II - 06
Pat is looking out the window at the colors of the leaves. You can actually see the salmon (fish) swimming up the river to spawn. They show up a lot better in the calm areas but can sometimes be seen jumping over rocks in the rapids.

Leavenworth II - 05
We arrived in town about 11 and the rain was still coming down in a drizzle. We are kind of early folks so we decided to have lunch first. It was just a matter of deciding which of the many restaurants did we want to visit. We settled on Cafe Christa, a place we had lunch one day while here on our honeymoon at the end of April. By the time we finished and came outside the rain had stopped and the rest of the day was pretty nice.

Leavenworth II - 07
There are a couple of Christmas stores in town that have tree ornaments and other Christmas decorating things all year. They have always been one of my favorite places to visit. Here is a display of many tree ornaments, many of which are large. I think most are glass so they are pretty fragile. And expensive as all are imported from Germany.

Leavenworth II - 08
This was something we considered buying to take home for Pat's daughter to use in decorating her new, large home. Until we thought about where would we put it on the bus- it is over 5 feet tall. And then we looked at the price. Nearly $600. It is still there in the store.

Leavenworth II - 09
Here is one way of getting around town. The top is up because it had been raining but they are usually open topped. I think the cost was about $20 for a ten minute ride around the downtown area. We just walked.

Leavenworth II - 10
This is our group, less the two who were late getting back and our driver who used my camera to take the photos. Part of the downtown area is visible in the background. The timing for this trip was perfect as it is Octoberfest in Leavenworth. There were street merchants selling many craft type things. You can just see the tents to the left (right side of the photo) of our group.

Leavenworth II - 11
I had mentioned The Alps to Ginger and she arranged it for our bus to stop there about 20 minutes on our way back. The Alps is that candy and gift store that my car just always seems to turn into whenever I drive by. It is right on the Wenatchee River and about 5 or 6 miles west of Leavenworth. This scene was taken from their deck and is looking across the river to the hills beyond. Again you can see the fall colors and the remanents of the forest fire of a few years ago.

Leavenworth II - 12
Looking down the river from The Alps deck. I took a similar photo while on our Honeymoon at the end of April and if you want to look back in my archives you can dramatically see the fall color difference.

The remainder of our trip back was uneventful. We were surprised to get home into brilliant sunshine. Usually we live on the "wet" side of the mountains but I guess that on this day there was more sunshine on our side than on the east side. The trip was fun and we are looking forward to taking some other day trips with this group. If you ever have the chance to visit Leavenworth, WA, go for it!

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So beautiful!! Thanks for sharing! One daughter lives in Seattle...I told her not to come out east in time for the color this year as our drought makes it almost nonexistant...WOW...but you sure have the color there!! Leavenworth is a beautiful town...I think it would be a fun place to live too.
That first picture is spectacular. What great colors. I haven't been to Leavenworth in years. I think it might be time.
Aye, it is a beautiful place!
I'm envious of your glorious Fall color, Dick. We have hardly any Fall color yet, but if it's not too cold and rainy Lamar and I will be taking a day trip into the Ozark Mountains on Tuesday and hope to see some good Fall color on the foliage there. I'll take my camera in hopes of getting some pics, but my little Kodak digital and my abilities are nothing on the scale of yours.

All the pics are great, but that first one is especially breathtaking!

Have a great week, Dick. :-)

Love and hugs,

Beautiful autumn shots Dick!
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