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Mike Endsley: Profile of a Wenatchee Convert

Photo: All's well when Endsley's well. Mike harvesting views of smoke-free Wenatchee.

Mike Endsley and family moved to Wenatchee in early September 2012. They arrived just in time, they thought, to catch the beginning of a beautiful Indian summer. Mike had visited Wenatchee during college years, when he would drive up from Yakima to play basketball at WVC and then spend the weekends parking cars at Mission Ridge to scrape a free lift ticket. Then he landed in Bellingham for a dozen years where he was the harbormaster for a decade. Bellingham was a good place to live, but it wasn’t the ultimate place to live. That title he knew, from his past experience and from perusing an awesome website about muscle-powered sports in Central Washington, belonged to the communities of the Wenatchee Valley. So his family, with only the faith of their dreams, packed up a moving van and migrated across the Cascades anxious to immerse themselves in a new community and the Wenatchee Valley’s outdoor playground.

The family (wife and two young daughters) had just begun to unpack when the smoke hit the van and the Wenatchee Complex Fires swirled around the region, crispifying over 56,000 acres of forests and sage country, and tipping the air quality scales past ‘pissy’ into, cough, ‘poisonous’ (honest, those are official ratings). So much for a beautiful Indian summer in their new home.

Photo: Business meeting pleasure: Endsley & Co.

Endsley & Company (as Mike fondly refers both to his family and to their marketing business) retreated to the West Side, ironically trading Eastern smog for Western sun. In October when they finally returned to Wenatchee to complete their move, the rains had settled in, washing away the smoke but making a messy mud pie of all the scorched ground. The Endsleys were now wondering what they had wrought upon themselves and when they should expect the plagues of hail and locusts.

Despite the wavering Welcome Wagon dispatched to greet the Endsleys, Wenatchee has made its amends and sunk its hooks into the 38-year old over the past nine months. Like many West Side transplants he’s liking the sun quotient, the distinct seasons, all those square miles of surrounding open space, the ten-minute rush hour, the ease of plugging into community efforts, the massive diversity of backyard adventure, and the immediate access to mountains, rivers and trails here. His former home in Bellingham is well-known as an outdoor hub but for Mike it earns lower grades than Wenatchee on all of the above. 

All of us have favored local activities and these are two of Endsley’s: the ability to tow his two young daughters around the Loop; the ability to feign a cough and call in sick to his boss (his wife, Jackie) when the powder is good at Mission Ridge (important for someone who spent a season ski bumming at Alta, Utah). The proximity of the Loop, Mission Ridge, quiet roads for bicycling, and the foothills trails are also key for Endsley, “Having so many opportunities nearby lets me break suction from the family and get outdoors for a few hours. There aren’t many places with Wenatchee’s instant access to so many outdoor activities.”

While Mike has ski bummed, worked as a landscape architect, and been the harbormaster of Bellingham, these days he works with his wife as a social media and marketing meister for small- and medium-sized businesses. Compared to the loneliness of being a landscape architect, he enjoys the social side of working with people in marketing and outreach.

He’s also been collaborating with the Wenatchee World on their Community Connections project and has begun blogging about his own outdoor adventures. We suspect you’ll be seeing some of his work on the WenatcheeOutdoors websites in the near future. We’re trying to wrangle words out of him quickly… before any local wildfires send him running for shelter over on the Wet Side of the mountains.