Leavenworth has been a destination for Washington residents and especially the Seattle area residents for quite some time.  Leavenworth is a turn of the century logging town turned Bavarian Style village in the 1960s as a civil initiative.  The main industry now is tourism with Leavenworth’s Front Street shops, wineries, restaurants, and Christmas lighting.  But more importantly, it is an epicenter for outdoor enthusiasts.  Whether you drive in from Seattle or use FlightHub to fly into Wenatchee which is a short 20-minute drive you can visit and Backpack the Enchantments, go rafting on the Wenatchee River Snowshoeing and Skiing at Stevens Pass or go on any number of the hundreds of famous hikes here in the central cascades.

A little history on how the Leavenworth Outdoor Adventures Meetup got started.

Over ten years ago one of the first Meetup groups in Washington state was the Seattle Backpackers Meetup from which Seattle Backpackers Magazine takes its name.  Seattle Backpackers Meetup has gone through many changes in management which also resulted in name changes.  I can’t tell you what it is called now but I hope the adventures are plentiful.

As of late, I have found myself splitting time between North Idaho and Leavenworth WA.  Having completely removed myself from the Seattle Backpacking Scene I needed a group to get out with.  I had joined a meetup in W. Washington catering to outdoor enthusiasts in Pullman WA home of Washington State University.  The group had about 300 members and not a lot of activity.  I contacted the organizer and was put on as an event organizer.  Before I could post my first meetup I was asked to take over the group.  I agreed and was ready to spearhead some backpacking trips.

To my disappointment having posted half a dozen hikes and outings that no one wanted to attend it became a little discouraging.  People seemed to be joining the group in a fair number but no one wanted to get out from behind the computer.  I think this is a growing problem but that’s another topic altogether.  I had tried scheduling bike rides on the newly converted paved railway paths.  Rails to Trails they call it.  Day hikes on the paultry 2300 foot summits that are far between in the rolling hills of the Palouse Country.  And for sure no one was interested in an overnight backpacking trip.  Too scary? Too Cold? Who knows.

This brought me to the conclusion that the Western Washington and North Idaho outdoor Communities are much different than the Seattle area backpacking type.  It seems like the group was more interested in taking campers a mere twenty miles from home to sit around a fire ring and drink cheap beer.  Or take a ride on a four-wheeler down old logging and forest service roads.  This in itself can be fun and I’m not knocking it.  I have seen some pretty amazing scenery from a four-wheeler and heard some interesting story’s around the fire ring but nothing really speaks to me like being above tree line watching the full moon eliminate the early spring thaw with nary a sound.

I was longing for the long weekends and extended outings of the Central Cascades but didn’t have people to hike with.  So to the chagrin of the Pullman group I made a name change.  It is now the Leavenworth Outdoor Adventures Meetup.  Since the change, many hundreds of local residents, Seattle metro and worldwide have joined.  Leavenworth can be an expensive destination if you want it to be.  Our goal is to coordinate fun backpacking, hiking, canoeing, climbing and winter sports that are accessible for all.  Other adventures may include picnics, bike rides, and tours.

The excitement of Leavenworth.

How about the grueling 20-mile enchantments day hike from Snow Lake Trail Head to Coulchuck trailhead.  Heading to the ranger station on Hwy 2 just before they close on a Friday in hopes of a day pass into the enchantments.  Trying to get to sleep as early as possible to make that car drop at Snow Lake Trailhead then the drive up to Coulchuck to make it to the base of Asgard pass before it’s light.

Wenatchee is the apple capital of the world.  You can ride your bike for miles through the apple and fruit orchards.  The Wenatchee valley orchards stretch all of the way from Leavenworth to the banks of the Columbia River.  The numerous fruit stands in the countryside offer everything from locally grown grapes, pears, tomatoes and at some places you can even press your own fresh apple cider.

I am not schooled in the art of Kayaking but my understanding is that Icicle Creek which is the waterway that parallels the enchantments is some of the most difficult water to navigate in spring runoff.  Unfortunately, I have read of many deaths in the search for a thrill on Icicle creak but if that is your thing it is available as well.  I’m more inclined to drift the Wenatchee River on a guided raft of an inner tube during low water in the late summer.

With all of the fun activities centered around Leavenworth WA, I would like to ask you to join Leavenworth Outdoor Adventure Meetup.  Regardless of your location join us to keep up to date on events and regardless of being from the local area, Seattle metro, or even international we have some pretty neat activities going on.

Upcoming activities in addition to the meetup group are snowshoe tours of the fish hatchery.  The Wenatchee valley farmers market is a great stop-off point before day hike.  Madam Butterfly and chamber music just to name two events at the Icicle Creek Center for the arts.  Ziplines, sporting goods store ski shop outfitters.

Interestingly.  The one thing you will not find is fast food.  The only fast-food chains in town is a Bavarian-themed McDonalds and a Subway tucked inside of a centrally located gas station.

 

I do hope you will sign up and visit us on an outing with the meetup group.

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