Reunion I, East Cascades, WA, USA

It’s bizzare but we both wake up before the alarm!!! Once packed and ready we head to the Safeway for a few bits, mainly ice to keep our food fresh in the coolbox and some Wi-Fi to see if we’ve heard back from anyone. All that done we’re on the road by 0910.

We should rendezvous with Conny and Rowan about 1400 in Levenworth’s Starsucks. This is the town on the east side of the Cascade mountain range, where we hope to spend the next few days with them.

The drive presents us with stunning scenery again. Half the trip we are driving alongside a huge expanse of river and the other half we are driving through a terrain that’s a cross between Salisbury Plain and the hills of Cumbria near Shap. interspaced with huge flat-lands populated by little (or not so little) small holdings.

Now instead of being accused of being Aussies we’re getting asked if we’re Canadian, guess cause the border isn’t that far away. Funny we never get pegged as Brits – must be the fading tan!

Eventually we fuel up, and taking minimal time to make sarnies, we set off again. There’s a lot of roadworks which delay us a bit but thankfully we aren’t too late. When we arrive in Leavenworth we can’t believe how Swiss/Germanic it is. Seriously all the buildings are chalet style with twee scenes painted under the eaves. It honestly feels like we’ve just gone through a time transit to northern Europe. Totally bonkers. When we eventually find Starsucks hidden in amongst all this Rowan just walks out in our direction as we park the car!!

Conny is inside trying to get some last minute work done. We go in and have a brief chat before the three of us leave him there and go visit the park rangers office to enquire about permits tomorrow and take a brief trip to Safeway (yes they are everywhere) as Rowan hasn’t had any lunch.

To go on the hike Conny and Rowan have in mind we need a permit, but all the permits have been booked. The only way we can hope to get one is by daily early morning lottery – 0730. So the visit to the park ranger is to ask how likely is it that we’ll be able to get lucky in the morning and get a permit. He says they only had to turn one person away this morning. Bummer if it was you, eh!!! But on the upside that means most people turning up are able to get permits.

We go back and report our findings to Connie. Then we all set off for a campsite nearby. It’s another forest campsite like the one at Crater Lake we stayed in. We find a nice spot and get our tents up. Then as Connie still has a little work to do, Bernice take the opportunity to get more blog sorted and when we go to Safeways again for bits for dinner and for Connie to upload documents for work Bernice gets on and uploads loads of blog entries. Sorry for the overload everybody, but the blog is up to date now even if not all live yet. We just need to keep it that way. Broken record anyone?!!

Shopping done we all head back to the campsite and get dinner going. It’s funny we spend most of the night telling these guys about our trip and what we’ve done since we saw them last (December) when these guys have such great jobs that involve travelling all the time. It doesn’t seem right. Our adventures can’t be that exciting in light of what they do for a living. Connie is a mountain guide and town is just back from Peru, her job involves taking teenagers on treks to places like Easter Island and Macchu Picchu.

Anyway, tired and with an early start ahead we finally turn in around 2300.

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