Bob Spiwak Monkey MazamaBy Bob Spiwak

It was a busy weekend here at the upper valley. The wind still has not quit blowing daily, and we got a few sprinkles of rain as Winthrop was being deluged between here and there on Friday afternoon. The wind got heavier on Saturday but the predicted rain did not appear. The river was up substantially, growing in flowage until late Sunday, when the level began to diminish, probably due to cooler weather returning after the 80s of mid-week.

Saturday evening at the Community Club, Olympic skier Brian Gregg of East Boesel gave a talk to a full house with standing room only. He explained how he got on the U.S. Olympic team, with a look at the Village Processing Centers for each country. The best part of the experience in Sochi, Russia, was having his family come to the event, he said.

It was touch-and-go for a while when Brian’s parents Jan and Jim went to the airport in Seattle to fly to Russia, which unfortunately coincided with the city-wide celebration of the Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory. All the streets were jammed, if not with vehicles, then hordes of people. But they did make it.

Last weekend was also a busy weekend on the North Cascades Highway, maybe not so much for vehicular volume, but for deer. We have heard stories from four disparate people about having never before seen so many deer on the highway. One couple, locals, maintained a safe speed, or so they thought, and had anxious drivers on each others’ tails, all probably in a hurry because Winthrop was going to disappear before they could get to the stop sign. But this, even without deer, will soon be the pattern until the road closes. (I cannot wait for that first big snow.)

This coming Saturday is Mazama’s first big event of the summer, and its oldest: the World Famous Pancake Breakfast, from 8 a.m.-noon.

Speaking of “World Famous,” there’s the Mazama goat logo. Its originator, Jeff Sandine, showed up here for a party last weekend. The goat came about when Jeff bought the Mazama Store, sometime I’d guess in the 1990s, and converted it from a dark and dingy, squeaky-floored true country store to what is essentially there now under the second owner since Sandine sold it.  Jeff had approached Mary Sharman, a brilliant graphic designer, to come up with a logo, and thus the Mazama Goat was born. It has been, according to reports, seen in almost every continent in the western world and even Africa.

Keeping old-timer weekend alive were Steve Barnett and Grace Cisneros, after whom Graceland Drive in Mazama is named. Maybe Elvis had the same road on his estate, I don’t know. Steve is credited by many, including Ski magazine, as the person who introduced America to Telemark skiing. And he has long been a top photographer.

Rounding out the “Coastie 206” contingent were my old pals, Jeff and Anni Shelley. Jeff is a major-domo of Sports, for whom I have been writing stuff for almost three decades.

It was great seeing this batch of old-timers, whom I’d not visited in many years. I could not find any who’d return to help in the annual car count, however.