Living in the wild
A Winton buried in the wilderness
of America's Cascade Mountains
Established only a hundred years ago as a flag stop
beside the railroad track, this Winton became a thriving community.
But the closure of the local sawmill finished off a settlement
The little local school closed a few years ago and
the old and once busy railroad depot was physically moved away
from the line into a nearby field. It now belongs to Jim Feiten
who lives with his girlfriend Sabrina in one of the two remaining
In February 2009 he sent us this
account of life in the mountains:
Living here is a dream! The Winton Mill is now closed
so really the town consists of just two families - us and the
Home - and lots of logs piled up
for the winter.
Jim, Sabrina and snow on the tracks.
A good thing about Winton is its a nice open valley.
The Cascades are rugged and tight up here, with
the valley cut by the river. But here in Winton it opens up nicely
into a big flat valley floor.
We have tons of wildlife including bears, deer,
coyotes, hawks, skunks and bobcats.
The trains still run - but they
The old railroad depot is now unused.
My neighbours the Thomsons are hay farmers and a
timber/logging family. They are fourth generation homesteaders
with quite a bit of acreage.
Our little ranch is 25 acres and we don't farm.
I work for the Highway Department, and my girlfriend is a teacher.
As far as supplies and food we have to drive about
15 miles to the little village of Leavenworth there there are
grocery stores, a small hospital, and other amenities.
The Thomsons' barn
The old school when it was still
open - pupils arrive undaunted by snow.
Winters can be long with deep heavy snows, but this
winter was abnormally light.
We had a lot of bears last summer. It was a late
spring and they were hungry. They are fun to see. They're black
bears and timid. Not grizzly bears so we enjoy having them around.
We also have a lot of coyotes, hawks, deer, and
The Mill employed about a hundred people and it
really quieted the place down when it closed. It was a 24hr shift
type of operation with log trucks and lots of noise so, needless
to say, Winton Wa. is a very quiet place today.
I love living here and I would say May-August is
our nicest time of year. Lush with vegetation and warm days with
cool summer nights.
|1950 - and the railroad was still thriving