Winton Forum


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 in decline.

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 properties.

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 Thomsons.

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 don't stop.
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 racoon.

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 at Winton