It’s no secret I miss Bavaria. Sure – I miss the landscape, and the ease of access to endless adventures, but I also have a soul tie to this state. I worked through a lot of self discovery and growth during my time living in Bavaria, and Germany as a whole is more than just a travel destination for me. I don’t think anyone truly understands how moving to another country changes you unless they’ve experienced it for themselves.
Needless to say, when a weekend trip to Leavenworth was suggested to me (aka the Bavaria of Washington) I said yes quicker than the blink of an eye.
Part of the Bavarian vibe of this city are the alp like mountains engulfing the town. I adore the city center, but my soul tie resides in the mountains. Much to my travel partners dismay, I wanted to spend as much time in or around these mountains as possible during our quick 30 hour trip. My compadre was a real trooper.
Upon arrival we snagged a coffee at the Bavarian themed Starbucks before having a sit by the river behind our hotel.
I was immediately transported to the Loisach while sitting here, a river I spent so many hours biking next to, and I can’t describe how wholesome this moment felt for me. I often told people in Germany how similar Washington was to the landscape and climate of Bavaria, and Leavenworth really seals the deal with that.
I could have sat by this river for hours, and that’s exactly what we did.
After spending ample time by the river, and exploring a bit around town, it was time to check into the hotel. While perusing options for places to stay in Leavenworth, my initial instinct was an Air B&B. When I discovered most of the Air B&B’s were within the $200-$400 a night price range, I redirected my search. I don’t love staying in hotels, because I like having a kitchen to make my own meals, but after stumbling onto LOGE hotel I quickly made an exception.
When you read a review that says: “if REI created a hotel”, you know you’re in for a treat.
For starters, the staff at LOGE were all incredibly welcoming, friendly, upbeat, and I immediately envisioned myself working with them. The hotel cafe (which doubled as the front desk) was completely my speed, and I would happily pick up my barista apron to peddle lattes in Leavenworth all day. The ambiance of the lobby was adorable, and I immediately knew I was going to enjoy my stay.
This hotel has the communal atmosphere of a hostel, but with the class and privacy of a hotel.
The rooms come equipped with gear for guests to use (at no charge), and this gear can also be purchased if guests decide they like the product. What an excellent marketing technique. Our room had a hammock, headlamp, hats, a cooler, snacks, games, a Rumpl blanket, and more. If you’re a lover of the outdoors and appreciate more of a simplistic sleep environment, this is the hotel for you.
Side note: I didn’t notice the hammock wasn’t locked into place, and I definitely face planted after attempting to climb into it. Thankfully it was over the bed.
This hotel also had the nicest communal showers I have ever seen in all my years of travel. I paid more to have a private shower, but had I been alone I would have gone for the cheaper room and used these communal showers.
Check in complete, it was time for an evening hike.
When choosing hikes for this quick weekend getaway, I was mindful of a few things: time, location, popularity, and elevation. I wanted to experience the mountains, but I didn’t want hiking to suck up the entirety of the trip. I chose two relatively popular trails, but we hiked them during “off times” to ensure minimal human contact.
First up: Icicle Ridge Trail – a five and a half mile round trip hike, with an elevation gain of 1870′. I haven’t don’t many hikes lately with elevation, and despite the fatigue I had, the view at the top was well worth the climb. This trail is popular for its wildflowers, and its close proximity to the city center. We saw a total of around nine people the entire two hours it took to hike, and for a popular hike I would call that a win.
This hike knocked the life out of me and I was hopeful for a good nights sleep, but I had no such luck. Dehydration, too much sun exposure, and a room that was too hot made for a very poor nights sleep. Nothing a coffee can’t (temporarily) fix.
After lying awake for hours and having a casual morning, we payed visit to Starbucks again around 0700 before walking through the city center in the empty, early morning light. The day we arrived we walked around in the afternoon, and the town was bustling with people.
I adore waking up in a new city earlier than most to experience the town before it comes to life.
What I love most about this city center is how authentic it feels. Traditional German towns are small, with a pedestrian only zone, filled with random shops, bakeries, eateries, and a park if you’re lucky. The small park in Leavenworth was adorable, and had me reminiscing on all the summer nights I’d spent listening to Musik im Park (free park concerts) in Garmisch.
Once the world started coming back to life we packed up our things, checked out of our hotel, and headed on one more hike before making the trek back home. Hike number two had a similar name, but with a very different trail. Icicle Gorge Trail is a 4.5 mile loop with only 387′ elevation.
This trail is about a 30 minute drive from the city, with some of the most beautiful driving views I have seen in a long time.
The trail was very mild, a welcomed reprieve from the previous hike. Had I slept better I think I would have enjoyed myself more, but I was so unbelievably tired on this hike. Thankfully I was still able to appreciate the views, and I can see why this is an equally popular trail. Accessible for anyone, this trail hugs the river weaving in and out of tree covered woods into open fields.
This hike took us equally as long to complete as the first hike we did (granted we ran down most of the previous trail), despite being a mile shorter with little to no elevation. I was wrecked by the end of this hike, but I would do it all over again. I have become much more mindful of my physical activity as I have gotten older, something I have to do in order to keep my Sjogrens at bay, but sometimes the discomfort is worth the temporary joy.
I no longer spiral when I feel a flare up coming, and I no longer avoid the things that cause them (except food, I try to avoid those triggers 90% of my days.) I cannot avoid life just to keep my body in its happy place.
And just like that, the quick and somewhat last minute trip to Leavenworth had come to an end. I plan to revisit again this summer, hopefully with more hikes and more nostalgia. I had been to Leavenworth before, and I knew I would want to revisit after living in Bavaria, but I had no idea how connected I would feel to this tiny town this time around.
Oh, but I do have one complaint…how the hell can you justify having ONE restaurant with half of a chicken on the menu, and sell it for $20? Absolutely erroneous. Gone are my days of eating half chickens, roasted Bavarian style, for €3.50.
Q: Are there any towns you have visited that left you wanting more?