One month. It’s been one month since we made our 20-year dream of living in the Methow Valley a reality. One month since we loaded up all our worldly possessions in a 20 ft U-Haul truck and left our home of two-and-a-half years in Portland’s Pearl District for Winthrop, Washington.
Not exactly a journey of a thousand miles.
400 miles to be exact, and eight hours of driving some of the most beautiful scenery the country has to offer. We headed east through the Columbia River Gorge to Highway 97, took a left and kept going.
So much beauty. So much light. So dark at night. So many stars.
So many animals. Deer. Birds. More deer.
Cougars. Bobcats. Bats. Bears!
Still more deer. Small dark grey squirrels who yell at me. All. The. Time.
So different from Portland and Seattle, where we have made our home for the last 22 years.
We have talked about living in the Methow since we first started coming out here in 1996. After some tumultuous years, we decided the time was right to make the move.
Will it be a smooth transition after spending my entire adult life living in the heart of downtown Chicago, Seattle and then Portland? Will our decidedly urban hounds, Tiger and Truman settle in and enjoy rural life? Did we do the right thing? Or will this be another fool’s errand? Time will tell…
Flash forward six months. It’s now April 6. Almost 7 months to the day of our move out here. We not only survived, but enjoyed our first winter.
Our first ‘real winter’ in decades brought a true appreciation of living again in a place that experiences all four seasons.
We enjoyed exceptionally good ski and fat biking conditions on the 200km of groomed trails. It’s hard not to like winter all the outdoor activities available in the Valley.
There are still patches of snow on the ground, but it is melting fast and things look dramatically different than they did in mid-February, when we topped out at 40+ inches of snow.
The locals tell us this was a severe winter for the Valley, mainly because there was nearly a full week of double-digit sub-zero temperatures in January.
But this was exactly what we expected winter here would be like. After two years of devastating wildfires, everyone we’ve talked with is appreciative of the healthy snowpack and cooler temperatures, and is cautiously optimistic that this will mean a less-severe fire season.
As we ease into spring, we are seeing and hearing lots of birds, including a resident flock of wild turkeys. The dogs are obsessed with the turkeys almost as much as they are with deer. Which is to say, a lot.
Speaking of the dogs, Tiger and Truman love their new home and have settled in incredibly well.
We got them some super-warm coats and they even liked walking in the sub-zero temps.
The humans have settled in well too. We love it here.
We have two premium coffee roasters. A winery. A brewery. A craft cocktail bar. Decent grocery stores. Three killer bakeries. A handful of great restaurants, including an Italian place that impressed our friends from Italy who stopped by for a visit and some skiing this winter.
We want for nothing here. Pretty amazing for a remote area on the eastern slopes of the North Cascades.
This was a good move for all of us.