By Ashley Lodato
Everybody is always excited when the North Cascades Highway opens again for the season, and this year is no exception, with people celebrating one of the earliest openings in 42 years. To be sure, driving to and from the west side is quicker and a lot more beautiful than going around “the long way.”
And for those who suffer a touch of cabin fever, having access and egress points at either end of the valley provides a bit of comfort. But let’s remind ourselves about why the pass is able to be opened so early this year: light snowpack. And then let’s remember last summer, and how the two are related. So sure, celebrate the opening, but with a healthy dose of guarded optimism for what the months ahead will bring.
Apropos of nothing I will share a compliment I received a few months ago. I was slinking around in the grocery store, trying to avoid Blue Star Coffee’s Meg Donohue, since I had just put a bag of Supernova Decaf into my cart. I’ve always been apologetic about being a decaf drinker — sort of thought of myself as somehow deficient or weak. But I couldn’t avoid Meg forever and at the checkout line she saw my decaf before I could hide it under another product.
I sheepishly started to explain about how caffeine makes my hands shake and how I talk too much and too fast when I’ve had “real” coffee when Meg stopped me mid-sentence. “You’re a coffee purist,” she said. “You drink it solely for the flavor, not for the jolt.” Well, whether or not it’s true, that perspective certainly gave me an ego boost and I’ve been feeling rather smug about it ever since.
More good news from the “it’s great to live in a small town” department. Lisa Spitzmiller was in Oregon when her three horses escaped their pasture on Tuesday. Her neighbor Donna Martin, however, saw the breakout in progress and, although Donna’s horse wrangling days are a bit behind her, she jumped to the rescue, calling the elementary school, where she believed Lisa to be.
The school called Lisa on her cell phone, Lisa made the right calls to get help, and the horses were led back from the pasture across the way, where they were happily visiting with the Patterson’s three horses. We get used to this sort of thing around here, but when you recount a story like this to a friend from an urban area you get reminded that people in small towns just do things differently.