Roslyn and Leavenworth

Anyone who watched the show as often as me, will instantly recognize this image from the opening credits of the TV show Northern Exposure.
Anyone who watched the show as often as me, will instantly recognize this image from the opening credits of the TV show Northern Exposure.

This October Columbus Day was a most brilliant day to journey into the mountains of Washington state. My goal is to hit the trail head first thing in the morning and make my annual solo back packing trip into the mountains. But first! I simply had to make the most of the serendipitous location of the trailhead: Leavenworth, Washington. And on the way: the town of Roslyn.

I am a BIG fan of the television program Northern Exposure, and watched it religiously while it was on the air from 1990-95. I have also watched it again, via Netflix, exposing Tara to this quirky make-believe world of Cicely, Alaska. I still quote from the series, when the situation calls for it, and I can still hear the hawk scream right before the program starts (the hawk isn’t in the Netflix versions, btw). Once I saw that the highway to Leavenworth passed within 5 miles of Roslyn, it was a no-brainer that I had to stop.

Do not try this at home. Bravely snapping photos while driving. I couldn't help myself.
Do not try this at home. Bravely snapping photos while driving. I couldn’t help myself.
Just look at the scenery I drove through today. What a gorgeous state in a gorgeous month.
Just look at the scenery I drove through today. What a gorgeous state in a gorgeous month.

My morning went really well – the house is somewhat put into order so that a friend can house-sit for me. For those of you who read insearchofitall, my house sitter is aka Tech Support. Let’s all give a collective Good Luck and Thank You! to TS for taking on the chickens and Racecar for me in my absence.

The weather was so wonderful today. A little cloudy up to Seattle, a couple raindrops over Snoqualmie Pass, and then sunshine and 70 degrees in the mountains. After all the rain and cool temps in the Portland area, I am grateful for such an auspicious omen to begin my journey.

I had a splendid time wandering around the town of Roslyn. I highly recommend it to anyone who gets the chance to stop and look. It’s absolutely darling, and there are interesting things for people who are not fans of Northern Exposure. For example, there are several information stations, a monument, and a museum dedicated to Roslyn’s coal mining history. Coal was discovered here in 1886 and mined for 35 years. Northern Pacific Railroad actively solicited immigrants to move to the US to work in the mines, and people came from 26 different nations. Then the railroad brought up a bunch of African Americans as strikebreakers. So this tiny mountain town was truly international from it’s inception.

Maggie's Pantry, named after one of the main characters in the TV show Northern Exposure.
Maggie’s Pantry, named after one of the main characters in the TV show Northern Exposure.
Look at how cute this darn town is!
Look at how darn cute this town is!
Fans of Northern Exposure will also recognize The Brick.
Fans of Northern Exposure will also recognize The Brick.
“Dr. Joel Fleishman” is still painted in the window of the building that was his doctor’s office in the show.
KBHR (pronounced Kay Bear) studios is not only evident from the outside...
KBHR (pronounced Kay Bear) studios is not only evident from the outside…
...but lovingly maintained on the inside. Complete with an open book, true to
…but lovingly maintained on the inside. Complete with an open book, true to “Chris in the Morning’s” style on the show.
A little train of coal cars outside the museum, filled with actual coal.
A little train of coal cars outside the museum, filled with actual coal.
A mural at a park downtown.
A mural at a park downtown.
Random Roslyn resident I spotted while eating lunch.
Random Roslyn resident I spotted while eating lunch.
I ate at the Roslyn Cafe, with a view of Fleishmann's office.
I ate at the Roslyn Cafe, with a view of Fleishman’s office.

I wonder if the foreign miners are the background to the town of Leavenworth. I have been here before, but the place never stops delighting me. Block after block is filled with buildings constructed in a Bavarian theme. How amazed I am at the compliance of nearly every single building to fit the theme of a Bavarian mountain town. Safeway looks half-timbered, Wells Fargo has carved wood shutters and flowers under the windowsills, and even the hospital is themed. The place is remarkable. And beautiful.

One of the main streets in Leavenworth, Washington.
One of the main streets in Leavenworth, Washington.
Looking west toward the mountains I will be climbing tomorrow.
Looking west toward the mountains I will be climbing tomorrow.
Isn't it convincingly European, in this setting?
Isn’t it convincingly European, in this setting?
This dome was lovely from every angle. I include it again in the nighttime shot at the end.
This dome was lovely from every angle. I include it again in the nighttime shot at the end.
Murals can be found on 80% of the buildings. Not exaggerating.
Murals can be found on 80% of the buildings. Not exaggerating.
Nearly every view today was filled with oranges and reds and mountains.
Nearly every view today was filled with oranges and reds and mountains.
My beautiful room, right downtown, for $89 (a steal for a tourist town during Oktoberfest).
My beautiful room, right downtown at The Leavenworth Village Inn, for $89 (a good price for a tourist town during Oktoberfest).
My view of the captivating onion dome from my hotel room.
My view of the captivating onion dome from my hotel room.
Yes, even the hospital is Bavarian-themed.
Yes, even the hospital is Bavarian-themed.
A shop sign
A shop sign
Christmas shop
Christmas shop
A guest cottage. Now, wouldn't you love to stay in this place, overlooking the miniature golf course and grazing goats.
A guest cottage.
Grazing goat
Grazing goat
Even the signs are in German!
Even the signs are in German!
Gustav's restaurant has it's own dome.
Gustav’s restaurant has it’s own dome.
Yet another picturesque street.
Yet another picturesque street.
Dome at night.
Dome at night.

20 thoughts on “Roslyn and Leavenworth

  1. It’s a very beautiful spot Crystal. Such a pity that not all towns and cities take such pride and care in their architecture and presentation. I hope the climb was equally as invigorating as today’s views 🙂

    1. It really is beautiful in this area, and in both towns for different reasons.

      Well, I am about to find out how the climb will be. Re-packing my backpack in the hotel room this morning. I’ll be hiking in a few hours.

  2. Solo backpacking is good for the soul, Crystal. The mountain looks sincerely serious. And I suspect you will be remembering that bed as you climb into your tent. 🙂 Do you use a Thermarest or similar mattress? Good luck and have fun. –Curt

    1. Thank you, Curt. Really, I mean that. I get tired of battling for my right to go alone, to all the well-meaning friends who – after 15 years of me heading into the woods alone – STILL are convinced that it’s dangerous and I am crazy to do it. I’m already overly sensitive about being told I can’t do something, but I pass a lot of single male backpackers when I’m out there in the mountains, and I’ll bet they do not have to mount a determined defense every single time they hike. grumble, grumble.

      You are so right about the bed! ha ha. I can tell you are speaking from experience. It was an unbelievably comfortable hotel bed, and my nights were pretty uncomfortable in the mountains, and I did spend time wishing for that soft mattress. You know, for all these years I have stuck with the ridgerest foam 3/4 length foam pad for weight reasons, but I am old and bony enough now that it felt like sleeping on a hand towel, for all the comfort it provided. By the third night I was bruised on all sides and vowed that I will bring both a thermarest (I have several that I use for car camping) and my back packing pillow. My typical habit is to use my bag of clothes for a pillow, but again, my body demanded more comfort this time.

      Have you been hiking for years? Have your needs changed over time? BTW, this is the hike I won (then lost, then found again) in the lottery in February that I mentioned to you and Peggy.

      1. I did my first backpacking trip in 1969 and yes things have changed, tremendously! The food has gotten much better and the equipment has gotten much lighter. In 1974 I created the American Lung Associations Trek Program with leading a nine day hundred mile backpack trek across the Sierras. After that I would serve as the national consultant on trekking for a while. I would continue to lead treks for over 30 years, mainly up and down the Sierra Nevada range but also in Alaska.

        I assume you’ve watched or read the book, Wild. What amazed me more than anything else was the limited amount of experience (zero) she had before tackling the PCT. But she managed it. Bill Bryson’s book on his hiking the Appalachian Trail shows he had a similar level of experience.

        As for my friends who worry about bears and all the “terrible” things that might happen in the woods, driving down the road is more dangerous.

        Curt

      2. Wow, Curt. Your experience is really involved. I knew you were an outdoorsman, but I had no idea you’ve been promoting this way of life for most of your life.

        I did read Bill Bryson’s book, which yes, showed me he didn’t know what he was doing, but by gosh stayed on the trail for a long time. I didn’t read the book Wild, but my brother made me watch the movie recently. We both felt that the mother in the movie (Laura Dern- I love her) was so like our own mother…and well, I’m a solo hiker, so he thought I would like it. I did. I want to read the book now. Funny thing that ever since I saw the scene in the movie where her boot goes tumbling down the cliffside, it is my new Main Fear, ha ha. I kept a tight grip on my boots this whole trip. Ha!

      3. Backpacking kept me sane while I was doing all of the urban stuff, Crystal. Fortunately, I was able to spend a good deal of my summers out in the woods.

        Check out the movie A Walk in the Woods, as well. It’s hilarious— not nearly as real as Wild, however.

        Peggy and I have watched Wild twice, and I liked it even better the second time. I think it would be hard to lose a boot like that, however.

        I still have to catch up on your wilderness blogs. Hopefully today. –Curt

  3. Hello!! I’m back and visiting! I’m assuming this is the first post about your recent trip, so I’ll read them all and comment at the end.
    First, though, I loved Northern Exposure and enjoyed the tour. Off to the next post!

    1. yay! Glad you’re back. You must have a million blogs to read from all your friends. I don’t envy the time it will take, but I’ll bet you get to enjoy so many great stories once you read through them all.

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