Every summer I make it a habit to travel home 1 or 2 times in the summer months to visit my parents. With the wild schedule I have in the winter, jumping from one country to the next every week chasing the World Cup, unfortunately, I never get to come home in the winter anymore. Every time I make it home during the summer months though, I find myself falling in love with my home town a little bit more. As a kid, I didn't really know the world outside, so I didn't have quite the appreciation I have today. After training all over the world, I am convinced I grew up in one of the greatest places in the world to train. With a few more hilly, paved roads for rollerskiing… it would quickly jump to the front of the list! Last week while visiting home, I collected a list of 10 of the greatest things about the Methow Valley to share just how great this little heaven in the woods is.
1. Family- There is no better thing in the world than spending some time with family. The world is big, and the days go fast, so you have to truly cherish every wonderful moment you get with your family!
2. Cold Water- Anyone that knows me well knows I love to drink "cold water" more than anything in the world. A glass of ice cold water makes my world a better place. So, when the temperatures reach 100 degrees, not only do I appreciate the ice cold water that magically comes out of our faucet in the mountains… but I love the unlimited options for swimming in cold water. High mountain lakes, rivers, creeks… these are saviors when it comes to training in the heat.
3. Heat- ok, I guess I will put this on the list of my favorites. Despite the fact that I have lost all of my heat tolerance, I do still do secretly enjoy the heat. Alaska gets warm, but not quite to the level that the Methow brings. If you heat yourself to the core during the summer, the winter isn't so bad!
4. Unlimited Adventuring- This past week Erik made it a rule that we had to do some sort of new adventure every day. I thought I had already seen the best of the Methow. For anyone that has been there, Cuthroat, Silver Star, and the birthday tour have topped that list for me. But, I discovered even more! It turns out the Methow is the worlds largest running playground. There is incredible running trails everywhere! Even after spending the first 17 years of my life here, I had no idea some of these little secret heaven's existed! I already have a list to explore next time I come!
5. Peace and Quiet- After spending the past six summers living in the city, I have forgotten how peaceful it is to fall asleep at night to total stillness. No horns, no sirens, no cars, no airplanes… just the crickets. Ahhhhhhhhh!
6. Memories- The place that you grow up will always be covered with fun memories. Whether that is crossing an old friend you haven't seen in forever, or running a trail that you did when you were five years old, or going through old pictures. It always feels good to takea walk through memory lane! Especially when the majority of those memories are warm and wonderful.
7. Secret Spots- The Methow is covered with little "secret spots". For some that is a secret swimming hole, for others that is a secret camping spot, or a secret yurt in the woods. I love discovering these little secret spots. You almost feel like you are homesteading a treasure island.
8. Next Door Neighbors- One day while I was running, my phone sent me messages welcoming me to Canada, and asking me what sort of plan I would like to use during my trip. Sometimes I forget how close our little village in the hills is to Canada. While it may take a long while to drive, a bird or a hiker can get there pretty darn quickly.
9. Mountains on Mountains-Nestled in the woods, this little valley has ginormous mountains in every direction. Steep, rocky, and full of trees- these mountains always feel different than the others I spend my time in.
10. Happy Vibe- A happy buzz goes a long ways! Thanks Methow Valley for filing me up with happy!
Back to Alaska. Back to the snow. Time to put one more focused week of training on Eagle Glacier for the summer. No rest for the weary.