On our fourth morning on the South Cascade Loop, we pulled into the town of Toppenish – and our eyes were immediately drawn to the beautiful hand-painted murals scattered throughout this quaint, western town. Everywhere we looked was another historic scene, and of course every time Ryder saw a horse, he squealed with excitement. The time, artistic talent and love that went into all of these paintings is visible in every single piece – and all I can say is that they truly are remarkable.
From Toppenish, we decided to head up to Owen Roe, just a few minutes up the road in Wapato. As we drove up the long, winding road up to the tasting room, I marveled at the countless rows of vines bursting with grapes, ripe for the harvest. Upon arriving, we were welcomed by not only the manager of the tasting room but by one of the owners of Owen Roe as well, as they were enjoying the late morning sun on their patio. After trying a few of their reds, I settled on a glass of the 2016 Sinister Hand, which I can happily now say is my absolute favorite Washington Red Wine. Taking our glasses of wine outside, Andy and I enjoyed our beverages at their outdoor picnic tables, taking turns working with Ryder on his walking skills in the grass nearby.
After some fun in the sun and a quick tailgate lunch, we were all ready for an afternoon mountain bike ride. After a short drive to a trailhead off of Konnowac Pass, we changed into our mountain bike clothes, loaded the little munchkin in the pack, and headed off up the trail. Beautiful views and some flowy, fun single-track welcomed us after a nice post-lunch climb. Shredding back down to the car with a tuckered out Ryder on Andy’s back, we relaxed and enjoyed the warm, fall afternoon sunshine while the munchkin took a nap.
With a rested and stoked baby on board, we jetted off to the next stop on our list: Bale Breaker Brewing Company. As we unloaded Ryder from the Subaru, the unbelievably amazing smell of freshly barbequed meat wafted over to us from the food truck parked out back by the Taproom patio and we knew that our decision to head there post-ride was definitely one of the best we had made during our trip so far. With a pint of Top Cutter in one hand and a pint of Bottom Cutter in the other, I met the boys outside to enjoy our drinks while sharing a snack of some amazing farm to table food from Guerra’s Gourmet, the food truck that lured us in from the parking lot – and yes, it tasted as good as it smelled.
Satiated and relaxed, we decided to drive to Snow Mountain Ranch for an afternoon hike. Surrounded by sagebrush, chirping birds and acres of shrub-steppe, and with Ryder on my back, we wound our way up the mountain, stopping and showing our little man all of the critters and plant life that caught our eyes along the way. While taking a moment at the top of the mountain to fully embrace the beautiful views surrounding us, a breeze slowly enveloped us and cooled our warm bodies after the sunshine-filled climb… Ryder smiled at me, Andy smile at me, and in that moment, everything was perfect.
Hungry and ready for a big dinner after a day of epic adventures, we headed down to the Naches Valley, home of Bron Yr Aur Brewery, for some gourmet pizza, salads and definitely another great tasting pint of locally brewed beer (hey, we are in the beer and wine capital of the state — don’t judge! Haha). Kids and parents filled the lawn out back, playing with soccer balls, hoola hoops and just enjoying each other’s company. Ryder and I joined in on the fun, and after Andy had eaten his share, he joined Ryder with the other kiddos while I filled my belly in preparation for the mountain adventures that the next day would bring. The White Pass Scenic Byway was next… and I could barely hold in my excitement.
Photo Credit: © Mahre Media