Coming back from Omak on the Twisp-Winthrop Eastside Road, we had a look at the paving project on Castle Avenue in Winthrop/Heckendorn. It has been something like the last Ice Age in its glacial progress, but features have been coming to view over the months. There are curbs and sidewalks visible now.

This led to my ever-speculative wife to wonder what it would be like to have sidewalks in the Mazama area – say, Goat Creek Road and Lost River Road.  I can see the walks keeping the ski boarders, walkers, runners and chipmunks off the traffic lanes, providing a safer environment for all.

This may be good for our two-month period of spring and summer, but what would happen when the snow flies and builds up – not only in Mazama, but also on the new couple of hundred yards of Winthrop’s beautified boulevard? Will the property owners be responsible and liable for keeping the snow shoveled on the portions of sidewalk on their frontage?

For us here in West Boesel who have 650 feet on the highway, it could be a mighty chore, especially after the plows come through and re-deposit highway snow on the margins. We’ll keep an eye on Winthrop, always in the forefront of progress.

From 4-6 p.m. on Thursday (June 20), shortly after this paper arrives in your mailbox, there will be a bowl-painting extravaganza at North Cascades Basecamp. This is a benefit for Room One, the valley’s nonprofit social and health services center.

The announcement from the basecamp promises great food, delicious refreshments and bowl painting. “Your painted bowls are used at our annual soup dinner fundraiser in October,” says the release.

Walt Foster was probably the first here in the Upperlands to cut hay this year, and it was not long after that it was baled and stacked or sold. A friend who was in California said alfalfa hay was going for over $30 a bale down there.

Latest word from the U.S. Forest Service is that the road to Harts Pass is now open, but if you go, be on the lookout for machinery working on the road. If you are from out of the area, as last week’s front page story attests, do not rely on your GPS to give you the correct directions to Harts Pass or anyplace not on a paved road. Even then it can be chancy.

Speaking with Brian Charlton at Sun Mountain Lodge, he related that there have been several people who have been foozled by their GPS attempting to get to the lodge. It all seems a bit humorous until one considers that there have been several fatalities related to electronic mis-guidance. Add to this the drivers’ reliance on the machine, even when they are on a dirt road with two feet of snow and who press on regardless.