Around here when you say you are “going to the east side’ that means you are going over one of the passes across the Cascade Mountains to the east side of Washington. We had never made the trip before and decided if we were going to go this year we had better hurry before the road was closed for the season.
So up and over the pass we did go. Hwy. 20 – the North Cascades Highway – over Washington Pass is just 20 miles or so above us. There was fresh snow on the ground and on the mountains and trees, it was a beautiful drive.
While the other routes over the Cascades down near Seattle and over to Spokane are open all winter – unless there is a really big storm that closes the road temporarily – usually by this late in the year Hwy 20 is closed due to heavy snow. There was snow on the ground, but the road is still open for now.
It was pretty chilly, the water on the waterfalls running down the rocks was frozen in place.
The east side of Washington is the dry side. As soon as you crest the summit and start descending the landscape changes dramatically. Less vegetation and the trees are mostly pines, then those thin out to no trees at all.
It reminded us a lot of the area around Bishop, California. High desert and the wind blowing like crazy.
We went to Winthrop a great little town that is right out of the old west. It is one of the towns along the scenic loop drive on Hwy 20. Every building in town looks just like something out of an old western movie. You kind of expect to see John Wayne pop up anytime.
Even their gas station is photogenic! All the businesses were decorated for Christmas.
We didn’t have a lot of time to spend there, we wanted to start back before it got too late and it gets dark here about 4:30 pm now. Winthrop was a really fun little town. We crept back over the pass which was a little icy, but not too bad and arrived home safe and sound. I’m glad we took time to explore a little on the other side, but I’m also glad we live on the wet, lush, green and, in my opinion, much more beautiful side of the state!