I love Leavenworth. There, I said it. The scenery, the outdoor activities, the culture… the weather. I’m all in. I just returned from a quick overnight trip to visit some good friends and partake in some excellent snowshoeing. I was not disappointed.

Straight off shift, I buzzed home and picked up my roommate, Chris, and Titus. We made killer time and arrived in Leavenworth just after noon on Saturday. After a quick bite to eat, we hit the trail to get Chris used to snowshoeing. It was his first outing, but we didn’t take it easy to start, sending him straight up the Icicle Canyon hillside. My buddy, Nate, brought along his two dogs as well and the three of us humans and the three dogs ventured out to do some exploring.

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The snow was good, with just a little crust on top which made for pretty decent traction up and down.

After the snowshoe, we switched gears and did a combined SUP/Kayak tour down the Icicle to where it meets the Wenatchee River and then pulled out at my buddy’s house. The stakes were high, as the river is obviously quite cold this time of year. So, fully-clothed, we ventured forth, tempting fate and counting on good balance. Another first for Chris, he made it 99.43% of the day standing up before at literally the last second, an eddy spun his board sideways as he made the final push for land, dumping him unceremoniously into the river. Fortunately, Nate and his family have a hot tub, which was put to very good use just a few minutes later.

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From there, of course, some beers were enjoyed, as well as, perhaps too many margaritas/piña coladas. But let’s not get bogged down in the details of who drank what and in what quantity. Our livers know the true story, so we’ll just leave it at that.

The alpine(-ish) start this morning was rough. But true to history, I’ve yet to be disappointed for doing an early morning adventure. Back into the Icicle Canyon, we gained about 1,400′ elevation to enjoy coffee and cookies on a “table for three” — a large granite boulder covered in a snow cornice. The sun hitting the field around us made the the snow start to melt, which as Nate described, sounded like “a bowl of rice crispies”. The peaks of the canyon wall opposite our perch were firing off in the pink morning light. The coffee was warm and the cookies were soft. It was a perfect morning.

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From there, we descended and once again loaded up our paddle-boards and kayak (Chris opted for a kayak this time around) for another tour.

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Spirits high, we enjoyed a quick lunch at Nate’s place before heading back to the “real world”, though every time I visit, I feel the perspective shifting the other way — that the real world, the world I want to live in, lies east of the Cascades.