Past Newsletters



Letter from the Bondis

Tis Spring and it has been a beautiful one at that!  Thank you to mother nature's amazing display of wildflowers in the Methow Valley over the last month... still more to come in Mazama and at the higher elevations as the snow melts early this year. The days are lengthening to their solstice peak, the birds have returned from their southern forays and fill the woods with song, and the sight and smell of wildflowers are everywhere.  The garden is producing now, the hens are laying big fat eggs, and the honey bees are, well, busy.  Guests have come and gone for a month now, foreshadowing the busy summer months ahead.  The Bondi family looks forward to saying hello to all visitors to the Basecamp, and sharing good times together.  Please come join us!

Up and Coming Programs

Sierra Club National Outing Club  
Wildflower Wanderlust

January 21-27, 2015

Learn about the flora and fauna, geology and natural history of the North Cascades with a week-long adventure with the Sierra Club and local wildlife biologists. Daily hikes and evening presentations about wildflowers, wildlife and the ecosystems of the Cascade mountains. See the Sierra Club's webpage for more information and registration.

~Fire Ecology Presentation  
with Julie Grialou, Methow Conservancy 

June 22, Monday 7-8pm
Join us at the Classroom for a presentation about the restoration and rejuvenation of the landscape after the Carlton Complex Fire in 2014.  Free to the public; donations accepted.

~Owl Prowl  
with Kim Romain-Bondi, North Cascades Basecamp 

June 23, Tuesday 8-9pm
Come walk the Audubon Trail and hoot for owls in the early evening hours.  Free; donations accepted.

~Carnivores of the Cascades Presentation  
with John Rohrer, USFS Biologist

June 24, Wednesday 7-8pm
Wolverines, bears, and wolves, oh my!  Free to the public, donations accepted.

~Birding at the Basecamp  
with Steve Bondi, 
North Cascades Basecamp 
June 25, Thursday 7-8am
Birding by sight and sound, for all skill levels. Free to the public, donations accepted.

Vertical World Rock Climbing
Mazama Outdoor Camp for Kids

July 13-17, and August 17-21, 2015

For new and experienced climbers 12-16 yrs of age, this overnight camp features five days of outdoor climbing, games, activities, and transportation from/to Seattle provided by Vertical World Climbing Gym in Seattle, and lodging/ food provided by the Basecamp for camp participants. For more information, contact Vertical World - Seattle Office  206.283.4497 or or see their website  at

Herbalist Intensive Retreat
with Rosalee de la Foret

July 24-31, 2015

Deepen your herbal knowledge and gain the confidence you need to work with complicated health issues, while exploring the beautiful Methow Valley's beloved plants on field trips, over 40 hours of classroom on intermediate and advanced herbal topics, hands-on activities such as pulse diagnosis and intake practices. There are also plant dye and growing your own medicinal plant workshops during your stay.  For more information and to register, see Rosalee's website at

Raptor Migration Festival
September 12-13, 2015 

Family friendly, and birding fun!  Pateros to Chelan Ridge on Saturday, and Mazama to Harts Pass on Sunday for a weekend of celebrating raptors as we observe their southbound journey to warmer grounds for the winter.  Make a weekend of it, and come stay at the Basecamp for presentations, field trips, birding breakfasts, and conversation with other birders!  Put it on your birding calendar now.

Women's Running and Yoga Retreat
with Alison Naney

October 1-4, 2015 

Join Alison for a fun-filled weekend of changing leaves and crisp, sunny days.  You'll enjoy guided trail runs in groups based on level and distance, technique instruction, injury prevention and strength session, daily yoga and nutrition discussion. For more information or to register, see Methow Endurance's website link here

Reflections and Thank yous

Basecamp staff put on their teaching caps this winter and spring while hosting 2 days of ecology with local 2nd graders from the Methow Valley Elementary School. The students study native wildlife, their habitats and ecosystems winter, and this is the 4th year we've put together a field trip to bring their winter studies together.  We worked with the same 2nd
graders again this spring, with Dana Visalli and Katrina Fisk, 
to study a human and natural causes of change to the landscape. This time we spent a day in field studying the 2014 burned areas near Pipestone Canyon and looking at the effects of fire, wind and floods and regeneration of plants and wildlife to the region. 

The Ripple Foundation hosted its Art of Facilitation Weekend Retreat here at the Basecamp this spring;  we truly enjoyed working with such a fantastic group of professionals- thank you!

Zumiez also joined us again at the Basecamp for their yearly store managers leadership weekend in the Methow Valley. Thank you Campions for your connection with the Methow and for kick-starting the summer season for local businesses.

Winter Thursday Community Soup and Presentation Speakers- and a grand thank our 2014-15 presenters for being a part of the Winter Thursday Community Soup and Presentation Series and for helping make this winter another successful year of this program.  Thank you also to all those who attend these fantastic presentations- we appreciate you very much for filling the house!

~ Jessica Plumb showed her amazing documentary 'Return of the River' 
~ Don Portman shared a history of skiing in the Methow Valley
~ Peter Wimberger introduced us to glacial ice worms and northwest glacial history  
~ Robert Long and Paula MacKay discussed their research with Cascade carnivores
~ Don Rolfs educated us about native bees of our area
~ Dan Winkler mystified us with wild mushrooms
David Moskowitz helped us follow the path of the OR-CA wolf OR-7, and
Bill Hottell took us on a tour of the history of the Columbia River

National Trails Day and Seattle Mountaineers
Steve led a 2-hour exploration at the Basecamp's Audubon Trail for beginning birders on June 7th as a sponsor of National Trails Day. See the Wildlife section below for more info on our warbler species in the area.


"Thanks for finding room for us.  This is such a warm and peacful respite from our ordinary lives.  See you next time!"  ~Arlene S.

"What a beautiful spot for our yoga & ski retreat.  I feel so cared for- thank you all!"  ~Elizabeth, Nuu-Muu Yoga

"We loved being part of your family for 24 hours.  Wonderful food, hot tub, skiing, comfortable beds, and best of all, fabulous company!"  ~Methow Valley locals Monica P., Jocelyn M., and Carolyn S.

Employee's Corner

We are happy to have Joey and Raechel continue with us at the Basecamp for their second year.  Both interned here last summer, worked at the ski lodge over the winter, and now are poised to help in all aspects of Basecamp operations this coming summer.  When not puttering around Basecamp, they can be found on the Mazama trails, zoning out by the banks of the Methow River, working for the Methow Valley Citizens Council (Raechel) and Methow Green Clean (Joey), and learning more about this great place they are calling home.  Look for them in our community!

We also have a new intern starting up this June!  Nikki Forster will be joining the Basecamp team as a Conservation Biology Intern for 2 months this summer. Nikki is Kim's cousin, and we are delighted she'll be joining our family for a summer of fun!

Lastly, a big thank you to Kelli Lane for all your help and fun this winter- we miss you!  And to Resident Chef and local Mazaman Tom Bihne, who made and served sourdough Einka waffles for guests this winter.  We need to do that again Tom!

Resident Wildlife

It is another melodious bird song 4am with the sounds of early summer during the longest days of the year. The river is high, summer heat is in full swing, and the birds have returned to the Methow Valley.  A pair of peregrine falcons are seen regularly as they stoop through the meadows and river's edge, looking for unsuspecting prey.  A young Coopers hawk perched near the bird feeder a couple of weeks ago for a great identification up close. Although it seemed sly, we never did see it successful in its attempts to catch those chunky chickadees.

While the phoebes, pileated woodpeckers, and barred owls are the first to fledge their nestlings right now, the warblers are still singing their breeding songs in differing niches throughout the area: Wilson warbler's scolding call most often heard in the shrub thickets near the riparian areas, Nashville warbler's 'pi-zza, pi-zza, pi-zza, eat-it, eat-it, eat-it' song in the birch forest, MacGillivrays warbler's churring notes on the lower branches of the shrub thickets on the forest edge, yellow warblers 'sweet sweet sugar so sweet' we most often hear near the wetland areas and the open woodlands, and Townsends warbler with its 'here here, see-it see-it' song is heard in the woodlands and forests.  It is such a pleasure to watch the cycle of the year and years, and know that as we use our power of observation and watch these birds, we can find their nests, and practically recognize them as individuals!  Welcome home for the summer, and we look forward to gently sharing you with our guests and birders over the coming months. 

Another way we like to spy on wildlife at the Basecamp is with our remote field camera.  This motion-detection camera gives us a chance to see who visits the woods while we are away.  We set up the camera at a grassy pond-side glade with snow still on the ground in late March this year; we retrieved it in early May when the grass was green and tall. The camera caught still photos and video of a new family of Canada geese (2 adults and 4 goslings), a curious coyote, and a few of our resident white tailed and mule deer.  We hope to get more photos of our elusive creatures such as bobcat, bear, otter, and marten over time.  The wilds of the Basecamp and the Upper Methow Valley around Mazama never cease to amaze us!

Artistic Expressions

We enjoy highlighting our local artists at the Basecamp, and showing off the talent of this amazing Valley.  They are always for sale, we take no commission, they simply beautify our space and allow visitors to experience some of our local talent.

Featured artists at the Basecamp lodge this summer include:  
Matt Firth- Panorama photography
Jennifer Molesworth- watercolors of mountains and wildlife
Deirdre Cassidy - watercolor and pastels of the magestic Methow
Teri Pieper - photographic expressions of nature

Local Roots at the Basecamp 

The Mazama Country Store
a little bit of everything good

Our good friends at the Mazama Store make last minute procurement fun, friendly and easy. Husky Ice Cream, Spokane Dairy milk, local veggies and greens, an occasional coffee, homemade pizzas to go, and assorted bulk foods are some of our favorites.  But nothing beats the Mazama Store bakery!  Sea salt baguettes, fresh bagels, aromatic rusti loaves of homemade break, and pasteries are off the charts good!  Many times we can't get home without a hunk of bread missing from the bag.  
We also should mention their "beer and brats" on the patio every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, from 5-9pm starting June 18th. We tip our caps to the owners Missy and Rick LeDuc, their family and staff, their community meeting area, and all their wholesome goodness at the Mazama Store!  

Mica's Musings

Oh yes... my favorite summer time feature is back!  the spring ponds and green grass!  As both the water table and the temperatures rise, I cannot resist the short amble from my yard to the ponds and back again for an immersion in the cold, clear waters.  I can feel the stream coming out of my ears as I drink, drink, drink that refreshing water  Content as usual, I return to my favorite green grassy location by the shade trees at the lodge and await another favorite of the Basecamp, visitors and big fat belly rubs!  Oh, the life of a dog!  


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