Leavenworth & Colchuck Lake

Karann and I expanded our hiking adventures back in June, to include traveling to hike. Somewhere along the line, on one of our spring hikes, the idea to head to Leavenworth and hike Colchuck Lake came up. We were both sold. And so the planning began. For all the reasons I love Karann, one of them is that I actually get to let go of planning. She takes it all on. It’s such a nice change because I am the planner for all other things in my world. I’ve always said Brian has it so good. That when we head out of town, all he has to do is pack his bag and (usually) drive. I book and coordinate everything, set up the house sitter, arrange critter care, deal with any packages due to be delivered while we’re gone, and so forth. And when Karann plans, I get to be the Brian.

We took off around 2pm on Friday afternoon. The plan was to get into Leavenworth, hang out, and head to bead early. This was the extremely hot weekend, with temperatures in the 100s, and we knew getting a super early start on Colchuck Lake was ideal.

We made it to Leavenworth around 4pm, checked into our hotel, and set out on the hunt for a restaurant with the Impossible Burger. The last time I went to Leavenworth, I had just had the Impossible Burger the week before, and was so amazed at how burger-like it is. I actually called the waitress over and said that I had ordered a veggie burger, thinking my burger was actual meat. She laughed and said it was the new Impossible Burger. I was instantly sold. And so of course, I wanted Brian to try one. And we found a restaurant in Leavenworth with one.

When Karann and I set out from the hotel, it was freaking hot. It was 99 degrees. The bonus of staying in a hotel right in downtown was that we were close to multiple restaurants. And yet we ended up walking a mile to a restaurant with the Impossible Burger. The restaurant Brian experienced his first Impossible Burger—which is two blocks from the hotel Karann and I stayed—now serves the Garden Burger. No thanks. A mile later, in 99 degree weather, we scored Impossible Burgers… outside, in the heat. Thanks to Covid, there was limited seating inside so instead of waiting, we went with the patio option. It was all good. And worth it, the burger was tasty. We hiked the mile back to downtown, perused the main street, and went back to the hotel.

Leavenworth! And the LOGE Hotel. So nice, clean, and modern. With a hammock in the room!

We were both in bed at 9pm. My ideal getaway! I LOVE sleep. I would love to go to bed early every night but at home, with the big kiddos not going to bed until 9pm themselves, I like to have some kiddo-free time with Brian before calling it a day. Which means I go to bed around 11pm most nights. To be able to be in bed for sleep at 9pm, glorious. Karann is also a fan of going to bed early, although I think her early may be a bit later than my early. Either way, we had a 4:30am alarm set to hit the Colchuck Lake trail.

It was going to be about 110 degrees Saturday. And like 80-something degrees by 9am. We knew it was going to be hot. Which is why we, and everybody else, got to the trailhead about 5:15am. It was super busy! I’m normally not a fan of busy but there is something about being surrounded by others who share the same goal. And active people—all ages, shapes and sizes—willing to spend part of their hot day out in nature. We parked and set our sights on the trailhead. This was the first hike I’ve done where you have to have a pass so the rangers know who is on the trail. Learn something new every day. We filled out our pass and off we went.

The trail is very well-maintained. It’s a well-traveled, highly popular trail. My memory of the trail is a bit fuzzy over two months later… thankfully there are pictures galore! My only two cents is that is was a beautiful morning hike—with bridges, tree roots galore, boulders, and cute critters—but the lake itself, I’m pretty ho-hum about the thing. I mean, it’s gorgeous—the color, the surrounding mountains, the large boulders along the shore—but after hiking Lake 22 last summer, and being able to walk around the entire lake, no lake will ever compare.

Trailhead signage.

Trail pictures. Standard trees and greenery. Sunshine coming back down.

Bridges! I’m a sucker for bridges.

I absolutely love tree roots on trails. The Colchuck Lake trail did not disappoint.

Rocks galore! I’m also a sucker for large boulders.

Colchuck Lake! We made it up there right before sunrise. It was stunning to see the sun rise above the mountain, shining on the lake, enhancing its color.

Critters! We were hoping to come upon a mountain goat—this is a hiking goal of mine—but instead we ran into a deer on the trail, and cute little critters.

Horse Ford?! There is a sign that led to this water. I suppose it’s for horses?

Some trail signage. Thankfully we weren’t planning to make a campfire. The Trail sign makes me laugh, because there is part of the trail, right before the last bit heading up to the lake, that is incredibly confusing. Or maybe it’s not and only confusing to us. But they have a Trail sign where it’s clear where the trail goes.

Some views driving back down to Leavenworth from the trailhead.

Even though it was super busy, it didn’t feel that way. We were spaced out enough on the trail to avoid being super close to other hikers. There was one guy who was hiking solo and had driven down from Bellingham, leaving there at 2am. While he seemed really nice and happy to be hiking, Karann and I both got the impression he was wanting to chitchat a while, hiking behind us. Thankfully Karann and I are on the same page, and she said she needed to stop to apply more bug spray. We told him to enjoy the hike and maybe we’d see him up there. He went on his merry way. But bug spray, that was a legit stop. There were SO MANY BUGS. Thankfully bugs don’t like me very much but they love Karann. Poor Karann was getting bit non-stop. Even though she had applied two different kind of bug sprays about 10 times. We had several other hikers pass us while we were stopped applying bug spray, that we ended up sharing our spray with. Not many people planned ahead for bugs.

There were several people hiking up with paddle boards. A few groups on young gals gussied up, with full faces of makeup. They looked beautiful but I can only imagine what the heat did to their makeup. And some gals hiking in bikini tops, preparing for a swim in the lake. Then there was a cute pup with the early 20-something gals, even though dogs aren’t allowed on the trail. We met one couple up at the lake who was celebrating their one-year anniversary. We’re pretty sure he was smitten because hiking didn’t seem to be his thing. They were staying at the same hotel as us, although we never saw them again. No wait, we saw them crossing a crosswalk when we left town. I think my favorite hikers were the late 60-something couple, who had left home in Portland around 3am for the hike. I want to be them in retirement. Everyone hiking is always so nice. There’s something about being in nature, it either attracts genuinely nice people or being outside and in nature improves moods.

As we walked back to the car from the start of the trailhead, the parking lot was about half-full. I think the heat was keeping people away. Although there were a few groups starting as we left. It was well into the 90 degree temperatures by then. As soon as we got cell service driving back to town, I ordered a new pair of the same leggings I was wearing. I ate it on the way down, tripping on a flat part of the trail over a rock. My leggings now had a small hole in the right knee. Leggings I had just bought the week before. It’s always something!

We were back at the hotel around 11am. We both showered and got ready for an afternoon of whatever the hell we wanted to do. I cannot express how amazing it felt to NOT be watching the clock and have zero responsibilities. Even on the laziest of weekends at home, I’m still always watching the clock… time to feed the kids, time to rotate turns on Roblox, time to bathe Maive, time to put the kiddos to bed. It. Never. Ends. With the hike out of the way so early, we had what felt like all day. First up, lunch.

Karann wanted pasta; I figured I’d get a pizza at whatever Italian place we found. We found a restaurant super close to our hotel, that had a bit of everything—including pasta and pizza. We sat down and I saw a burger on the menu. A Beyond Beef burger. Not the Impossible Burger but pretty damn close. I scratched my pizza plan and went for a burger. Karann did the same. No Italian for either of us. We ate, taking our time. It was a nice way to come down from the hike and escape the heat outside. It was now pushing 110 degrees. As we finished eating, we decided a movie was in our future. We didn’t care what we watched, we just wanted to zone out in an air conditioned place.

The closest movie theatre to Leavenworth is in Wenatchee. It was 114 degrees there, according to my Apple Watch. We bought tickets to see In The Heights. I’ve seen the musical live, in Seattle. But like anything else I’ve seen, I didn’t remember much. It was like watching it for the first time. I did remember who had the winning lottery ticket. The only annoying thing about the movie theatre. Karann and I were the first ones there. One other person came and sat in the back row. Then two women and two teenagers came. They sat directly in front of us. Of course they did. I’ll give it to the teenage boy; he was kind enough to realize it was a bad decision and moved over one. But then his mom sat to his left, in front of me. Karann and I quietly moved over two seats, clearing our view. Until five minutes later, the husbands joined the group in front of us, sitting right in front of Karann and me. We decided to move rows. Two rows back, not in front of the lady in the back. The women, realizing we moved twice now because of them, gave us a very unenthusiastic apology. I said it was fine, there was ample seating. Not really meaning it passive aggressively, I just don’t like causing a ruckus.

We movied, and then what?! We could do whatever. Back to Leavenworth we went. We stopped into the hotel and then set back out to nose around downtown. We shopped a bit. I figured I should bring the kiddos something. Instead of finding nonsense stuff, I opted for shirts since I knew they’d be worn. I saved the nonsense for me—I bought a fancy nutcracker with silver sparkly pants and a sparkly turquoise shirt, and a white fluffy hat. He spoke to me. I’m not usually a knickknack person. But I needed him.

Shopping, check. Dinner was next. Neither one of us were super hungry since we ate popcorn at the movie. We found a small little restaurant that seemed to be run by a mom and her two twin sons. It was close to 9pm when we ate, calling it a night shortly after. Back at the hotel we were in bed by 10pm. Nothing says weekend away without kiddos than going to bed early both nights! Haha. It was so needed.

Sunday was going to be the hottest of days. Not only in Leavenworth but back home also. We decided to do a short hike on our way out of town. The Tumwater Pipeline Trail. We set out about 8am and it was already pushing 80 degrees. It felt even hotter than 80 degrees since it was a still day. After crossing the bridge right after the parking lot, I was pretty much over the heat and ready to call it good. But we kept on going, doing the 2.4 mile roundtrip.

My favorite part of the Tumwater Pipeline Trail was the cute little lizard greeting us at the start. And the pipe, it was graffiti’d up. The trail itself is pretty standard, for a trail along a river. Trees and whatnot. And there are boulders galore along the trail. I’m a sucker for big boulders. But mostly, it was HOT. Did I already mention that?!

Tumwater Pipeline Trail.

Karann cranked up the air conditioning in the car as we left for home. We stopped in at the 59er Diner for breakfast. The lady running the restaurant was the same lady who was our server Friday night, where we ate outside in the 99 degree heat. Small world. We ate and loaded back into the air conditioned car for home. It was HOT.

Karann dropped me off at home around 1pm. Brian had aired the house out overnight but it was still getting warm inside. By late afternoon, it was almost unbearable unless sitting under the ceiling fan. The kids didn’t seem to care; Laine was wearing fleece jammies?! It never made it more than 82 degrees inside, but it was super humid. I don’t think our house has even been in the 80s inside before. Luckily we are mostly shaded by the hill behind our house and we don’t get direct sunlight until sunset, when it’s typically cooler. Not this day. We are getting AC installed before next summer. So much for not needing AC in the PNW.

The hot, humid afternoon was broken up with a trip to the ER. Maive needed stitches. It’s always something, what we say around here. At least the ER has air conditioning. So there’s that. And Maive was a champ. Back home from the ER, it was another something… our master closet shelving gave way. The wall the shelves were attached to is an outside wall—the only outside wall that gets direct heat during the day (and has no windows). And our closet is the hottest room in the house, above the garage. It appears the heat melted some of the paint around the screws holding the shelving. It was seriously that hot. We didn’t have that much weight on the shelves?! Other than another something, it was a welcomed mess. It caused us to get rid of so many clothes. We must have pared down more than half of what was there.

Stitches! And a closet mess.

The idea to travel for hiking was a great one. And time hanging with Karann is always enjoyable. Traveling to Hawaii and Utah has come up also… maybe one of these days we can check those off the list also.

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