We have been talking about and wanting to cross-country ski at Leavenworth for awhile now but the weather and pass conditions did not provide an opportunity until last week. It is a fairly long drive for us to get there from here so it meant an early start and a late return on whichever day we selected. About a week earlier we had decided to try until the morning of our departure and a check of the weather report had Leavenworth at -5 F or -15 C. Brrrr, too cold for us so we went to Hyak again instead where it was a balmy 14 F or -10 C. Last week a check of the temperature in Leavenworth online showed it at 30 F and predicted to be cloudy with some new snow. As it turned out it snowed more or less the entire time we were skiing but that was okay because there was little to no wind and the temperature was about 30 to 32 F all day.
Views from the car window of the snow covered trees and winding mountain road
I had never been there to ski and Bob had not been for several years. The ski trail is located along Icicle Creek near the Fish Hatchery and the Sleeping Lady resort. It is comprised of a couple loops each one 4 km or about 2.5 miles that wind in and out of an open pine forest, meadow and along Icicle Creek. There are nice curves and several small hills that provide variety. Most people we met the day we skied were doing the short route but we were still energetic at the turn around point and ready to try to try the full 8 km or 5 mile double loop. The course layout is really nice and the grooming was excellent. Another nice feature besides it being a one way track is in most places there are two sets of tracks allowing a couple to ski side by side. We did not take many photos partly because my camera battery fails when it gets too cold.
Some views from the ski trail
Two sets of tracks for side by side skiing
After assessing a rather large hill near this spot shown above we decided to detour around it. Bob had to break trail for me through deep powdery snow. All went well until we had nearly rejoined the groomed trail. My left ski slipped out of the track he had made and dove under approximately 2 feet of soft snow. My poles could not find solid ground and kept going down. One of my legs was buried pretty much all the way up and the other leg was at a funny angle on top of the snow. There was no way I could have gotten up without his help. One option is to take the skis off to get up but I could not get at the buried release button. This was the first fall for a long while and it was in soft snow, not ice, therefore not too bad. Just a nuisance. Bob said it really wasn't a complete fall since I didn't topple over, just a half-fall. Nevertheless when we got to another place with no tracks, a curve, and a steep downhill I took off the skis and walked down not wishing to experience a true or full-fall. The smaller hills are no longer a scary problem for me but prove delightful for coasting or schussing.
Views from the bridge near the junction between the two loops of the trail. The long trail crosses the bridge over to an island and then along the side of the island before ending up back at the bridge where the return route diverts from the outward track.
Just across the street from the start of the XC trail is a small restaurant, O'Grady's, that proved to be a convenient place to enjoy a delicious, very hardy sandwich and salad after a delightful day of skiing.
The pictures below are of the town that were taken on an earlier day trip when we went over to see the Christmas decorations and do a little shopping.
Business signs similar to those we saw in Salzburg, Austria
Tall decorated pole
Many of the buildings in town have murals painted of them. All the buildings have a Bavarian theme.
Bandstand or Gazebo in the center of the town where many folks were sledding
Leavenworth is a cute tourist village with lots of interesting shops and good places to eat as well as a wonderful nearby ski venue in the winter and hiking areas in the other seasons.