Wide Spots Revisited

“Camping in Mexico is easier after you accept the fact that almost any place can be a campsite, if only for a short time.”

The Peoples Guide to Mexico

Traveling in Mexico can be an eye opening, even revolutionary experience.  If we allow it, the experiences we have in Mexico, and the lessons we learn from the Mexicans, can influence how we live when we’re back home.

Morning view from Lone Fir Campsite

One of those ways is brought home as Carl and I head east over Hwy 20, to spend a few days camping on the dry side of the Cascades, in the Methow Valley.  Although we’ve gotten a very late start, leaving the homestead at 4:30 pm, we still have enough daylight to get over Washington Pass and down to Lone Fir, the first campground, before dark.  But as our aging GMC cargo van labors up the west side of the Cascades, Carl and I keep a sharp eye out for potential Wide Spots, in case we might need a closer stopping place on a future trip.

Watching for Wide Spots was a vital part of traveling in Mexico in the early days, the 70’s and 80’s.  Camping grounds were few and far between, and Wide Spots were sought for everything from emergency overnight campsites to the place to hang out for the next few days.

A log bridge, under construction on the Lone Fir loop trail.

For the past several years, Carl and I have spent most of our time in the Pacific Northwest, taking care of aging and infirm mothers.  But sooner or later the travel itch has to be scratched — and the urge to go exploring is sending us out into the hinterlands of the “Great Pacific North-Wet”, to finally go camping in our own ‘back yard’.  And once again we find ourselves automatically watching for Wide Spots as possible places to pull off and spend the night if we get a very late start.

Carl points out a dirt road leading to a gravel pit — no shade, no view, no water.  But on the other hand, no other campers, and no fees or permits required .  A few miles later I point out (and note the mile marker in our log book) a faint dirt road heading off toward a row of high tension power lines.  Free camping with microwave?

Fortunately we don’t need either of these wide spots this trip, and we eventually find a more traditional campsite courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service, at Lone Fir.  After a good night’s sleep, a morning wake-up of tea and toast, we take a walk on the Lone Fir interpretive trail.

By noon,  Carl and I are on the road again, continuing on to Gold Creek, roughly southwest of Twisp.  There we find the ultimate in wide spots.  The Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest Service has wide spots along Gold Creek and even provided occasional picnic tables and fire pits.  There are established campgrounds nearby, but what Mexican-trained traveler would choose an official campground over a Wide Spot?

4 Responses to “Wide Spots Revisited”

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  1. Sam says:

    The Old Schoolhouse Brewery in Winthrop is very good if you find yourself in town during one of your trips…

    • Lorena says:

      We haven’t spent much time in the towns in the Methow valley yet, but we purchased some really good cherries and peaches from a truck stand for Smalltree Farms. And they had a avocado-tomatillo salsa that is the hottest salsa we’ve found outside Mexico.

  2. churpa says:

    Great post, Lorena. Is that a new van?

  3. -El Codo- says:

    ¿Whatza “Campground”? You mean you gotta PAY? Ni Modo!