As long as I can remember, Leavenworth has always been a summer destination, not just because my grandparents lived here, but because the outdoor activities called to my adventure loving family. Growing up in Hawaii, we were no strangers to beautiful mountains and endless water play, but the Cascades and the surrounding rivers never disappointed. We spent our summers camping under the stars, waking to the chill of the mountain air and the smell of fresh pines. The cold mornings would inevitably give way to hot afternoons when the Icicle and Wenatchee rivers would become our base camps for tubing, swimming, and fishing. Or we would tackle one of the many hiking trails and reward ourselves with a dip in a glacial lake.
Fast forward 30 years to when I was raising my own family in Hawaii. We took our first winter trip to Leavenworth in 2007 and it was magical! For the first time in my life, I considered that perhaps a beach bum from Hawaii could be happy all year long in the beautiful Bavarian village of Leavenworth. Although there were 3 feet of snow on the ground and the weather was 30 degrees, the air was still and the skies were blue. I felt like we were in a snow globe. We built snowmen, went snowshoeing along the river, and spent an evening in town enjoying all of the lights and sledding on the hill while Christmas music rang out from the gazebo. To say we were sold on this area is an understatement. By the next June, we had moved our family of 6 and were putting down roots in Leavenworth, Washington.
One of the best surprises after settling in Leavenworth was how much I loved the changing seasons and how invigorating these transitions were to my soul. Spring is a delight to me. The earth has been asleep, but starts to awaken. Subtle signs of life are evident in the tender buds on the trees, the singing of the newly returned birds, and the speckled fawns shyly following the mama does. And then at once, spring is in full bloom and the earth is alive in all her glory! Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the way hiking here in the spring is like a treasure hunt, with wildflowers and birds waiting to be identified. The Arrowleaf Balsamroot are prolific! For their short lives, it is as if they are the heart of this town. I walk in them daily on our hillside that stretches across about thirty acres, always with a handful of children, 3 dogs, and 2 pigs in tow. While I can’t promise you the experience of hiking with pigs in Leavenworth, if you come in the spring, you are sure to witness the beauty and wonder of the wildflowers coloring the hills and mountains of this beautiful valley!
~Allison writes as one of the Destination Leavenworth staff members
For more info about Leavenworth’s trails, visit the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce.