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Pacific Northwesterners are lucky. We have it all. The coast is within a half hour to a half day of driving distance. There are thousands of acres of high desert. And vast portions of the region are dedicated to farmland raising everything from wheat to the country’s best apples to grapes for Pinot Noir wine.

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However, what we and many visitors are primarily drawn to are the mountains. Without a doubt, this area is blessed with some of the most spectacular mountains in the world. We are content to hike in or just look at them for hours, appreciating their ruggedness and grandeur.

An idyllic spot to see some extraordinary views of the Cascade Mountains is at the Sun Mountain Lodge perched above the town of Winthrop. Our favorite was up on this bluff, not far from our room, completely surrounded by the Methow Valley wonderland. Not much could top this, except maybe sitting by the lodge’s oversized fireplace, with a drink in one hand and our gaze cast out at the panoramic view. Lucky indeed.