Thursday, January 7, 2010

Leavenworth During the Holidays

As a climber and hiker, I have spent a lot of time around Leavenworth. A LOT of time.

Spring is a great time for rock climbing along Icicle Creek. It also attracts bicyclists and kayakers.

Summer is excellent for hiking and climbing in addtion.

Fall brings the rewards of the larches turning, rewarding hikers and photographers traveling from great distances to experience their beauty.

In winter, the area offers snowshoeing, skiing, and even ice climbing.

But there is something more...

Yes, the holiday lights! From mid-December through Valentines Day, the Bavarian village of Leavenworth is transformed into a grandeur of lights. They seem to cover every building, every tree, every...well, you get the picture! It's quite a sight to behold. Add to it the shopping, all the good food, sledding for the kids right in town, and it makes the perfect holiday geteway.

Due to scheduling, I only had a day to spend there with my family this year. But we made the most of it! The kids played on their new sled for the first hour, then it was off to Gustav's for a long-anticipated burger. We followed that up with some shopping at various gift shops around town. Finally, I finished off the evening with a few hours of photography after the sun set. Temperatures began in the low 30's middle of the day, but dropped into the upper 20's by evening. Be sure and dress warm!

What could be better than a full day in Leavenworth during the holiday season? Two days! There is plenty of Lodging in and around Leavenworth, but you need to plan well in advance as things fill up fast. However, lodging can easily be found just 20-30 minutes away in Wenatchee, last minute, for $50-$60.

The advantage of a stayover is that you can save the drive back over the pass(es) for daytime, as well as enjoy the evening around town as the crowds begin to dwindle.

There is certainly plenty of photography to be done in the evening, as I hope my pictures attest to. But the streets are busy and cluttered with vehicles and people and headlights and taillights and...well, again you get the picture. Lots of movement when you're shooting 5 second exposures to capture the lights.

A better time for photography is actually early morning before and shortly after sunrise. The streets are bare and you can compose at will. Yes, this is a great reason for photographers to stay for a second day!

Coming up next, I'll have ideas for lights a little closer to home for us westsiders.

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