High in the northern Cascade mountains in northwest Washington State lies the pristine, glacier carved Methow (that's MET-how, not METH-ow) valley. Just 50 miles south as the crow flies of Canada, it bumps up against the North Cascades National Park. Years ago there was a proposal to create a land-raping ski resort in the Methow Valley called "Early Winters". Thankfully, it was squashed.
Today the valley is reasonably well protected, careful, aware building, enjoyed by those who appreciate clean, clear air, amazing views, a handful of tourist lodges and such. Harleys roll through, yuppies in convertibles, hunters in the fall...it's all good.
One of my favorite places to visit is the Mazama Store ...real, fun and funky.
My son and I wanted to strike out on a trail...a real trail...to expand our camping trip. We researched and chose a hike to "Windy Pass" thanks to Ira Spring and Harvey Manning.
Length: 7 miles round trip
Total Time: 5 hours
Starting Elevation: 6750 ft
Ending Elevation: 6257 ft
Highest Point: 6900 ft
Total Elevation Gain In: 500 ft
Total Elevation Gain Out: 1000 ft
Those of you who like to hike and do not know who those folks are...learn about them, they were pioneers in Washington State trail building and forest preservation. The trail, which is a section of the Pacific Crest Trail or "PCT" starts just above Harts Pass campground, on the highest road you can drive on in Washington State. The PCT is a 2,650 mile trail from Mexico to Canada. Needless to say, most hikers do it in sections over a span of a few years.
I also checked out Washington Trails Association (WTA) for info...a great resource with up to the minute trail condition reports.
The road up is one lane most of the way with a few wide spots. The narrowest section is Deadhorse Point...sounds like fun, huh? This pix was picture was taken on the way down. According to GhostTownsUSA...
In the 1890s a pack string was headed in with supplies and in a very narrow stretch of road that had planks over it one of the last horses pulled back not wanting to cross. Since the horses were all tied together the other horses lost their footing and the whole string went off the edge of the road and several hundred feet to the bottom of Rattlesnake Creek. I was just glad no one was coming in the opposite direction!
We spotted many of these (apparently rare) little beauties...Suksdorf's Paintbrush (castilleja suksdorfii)...
...and saw and heard the chirp/whistle of several marmots along the way.
We broke into song rounding the corner and seeing this.
"The hills are alive with the sounds of music!"
We met up with this guy. A "through-hiker" on the PCT, meaning he has hiked the entire PCT from Mexico in one, long, 3-4 month trip...by himself. He was at least 60 yrs. Needless to say he was antsy to keep going, almost at the end...another night or two and he's done. Amazing.
ho hum...just a random view from the trail...yaaaaaawn.
(our) trails end...Windy Pass, at the edge of the wild Pasayten Wilderness. Bliss.
Just a snap of a trickle of water and some wildflowers.
Ah...back at camp. Beautiful Pearrygin Lake.
AH HA! Now I've caught you...you fake, I knew it all along!
(Oh crap!...it's Billy, that irritating little weasel...shhh, just stay still, maybe he'll just past by)
You can't get away with this one Mr. Blogger Man...NOTHING about this post is about food and your blog says it's about food and cooking, so I caught you! HA!
Oh, hi Billy...well, you see, I'm not quite finished...
Our trail lunch...gatorade, cheese, granola bars, beef jerky and chocolate for dessert. However my son considered it more of a "snack".
Later, we roasted hot dogs over the fire for dinner...
...and topped off the camping trip with smores. Yum!