From Frogs, Logs, Dogs, Slogs, Bogs, Hogs, and Pollywogs - It's the Methow Conservancy Blog!
Occasional posts - from the quirky to the momentous - on the life and times of the Methow Conservancy.
(What you won't find in E-News)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Biking to Work

           On Wednesday, my fourth day interning with the Methow Conservancy, I decided it was time to attempt the 16 mile bike ride to work. Starting at my family’s place ten and half miles up the Twisp River, I pedaled quickly down Twisp River Road, and turned onto Elbow Coulee, gritting my teeth as I bounced over gravelly wash board and barely moving as I struggled up gradual hills. (It was my first long ride in months, so cut me some slack!)

             Despite the physical trials of the ride, bumping along on my bike I could not have been happier. It was one of those perfect Methow early summer mornings – sunlit, green, cool enough to wake me up but warm enough that I was comfortable in my t-shirt. As I biked along I was left breathless not only by the hills I climbed, but also by the beauty of the landscape, a feeling I had rarely experienced so powerfully on my many drives along the same route. My speed limited by the ache in my legs, I was forced to slow down and notice details that I had come to take for granted, such as the sweet, dry Methow smell of pine needles and long grass, and the rush of the wind and the river in my ears. My eyes drank in the sights: sparkling water shooting from sprinklers in the fields, the purple sagebrush foothills, and the soft poufy clouds in the blue sky. As I looked around, I saw things I had never observed before – a painted turtle on the side of the road,  a marshy pond hidden behind pine trees. 
The Painted Turtle I found while biking

Every corner I turned yielded views just as beautiful as the ones before, and I was struck with the specialness of the Valley, a place that is equally and uniquely stunning no matter where one happens to be looking.   

             Like my bike ride, working at the Conservancy has allowed me to see the Methow Valley in new ways, demonstrating to me just how much I take it for granted when I shouldn’t. Throughout my childhood and young adult life, the Methow has always been a centering place for me, a place that has defined and shaped my passions, interests, and identity, not only the focus of a very serious third grade history report, but also the subject of my college application personal essay. I have returned here every month, season and year expecting to find the Valley unchanged and untouched, just as gorgeous, wild and welcoming as I have left it. And honestly, I have never seriously considered the scary and very real possibility that an aspect of the Methow’s land or wonderful community could be significantly altered or lost.

Page 1 of my report
"The People of Twisp," my world famous 3rd grade history report

 A photo taken from my report 

However, in my past couple days at the Conservancy, I have gained a deeper understanding of the Methow’s rarity as an undeveloped mountain valley, and learned how close it came to large scale development just decades ago when the Upper Valley was considered as a site for a ski resort or golf course. Considering the possibility of a different Methow, the true fragility of my most beloved place hit me as I imagined what a dramatic impact the resort would have had on the Valley, as well as my own life and identity. I now realize that the Methow is not something I can take for granted, but instead a place that I must work to protect! Along with this recognition comes a heightened appreciation for the Methow Conservancy and the important role it plays in preserving the Valley’s land and community. I feel lucky to be working and learning here, not only for the long bike rides I get to take to work, but also for the increased gratitude for the Methow and renewed dedication to conservation that has already been inspired in me during my time here.   


Sophie Daudon, a senior at Carleton College, is interning with the Methow Conservancy this summer. During her time with the Conservancy she will be conducting interviews for our new conservator library and acting as Sarah's sidekick!