Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mountain loop, north cascades and peace

another peace sign
Originally uploaded by
I headed out of town on Memorial Monday to get a little fresh air and fresh perspective. This friendly fella was walking along Hwy 530, just outside of Rockport.
He was carrying a peace sign, which seemed fitting for a memorial day. We chatted for a minute: he was walking home from the Rockport Pub about 1/2 a mile up the road.

My outing took me to
Boulder River trail which winds along the river and has two waterfalls. It's an easy trail and good warm up for harder stuff. There aren't any signs leading you to the trailhead, so if you go, be sure to write down the directions.

Being one of few snow-free hikes in the area, it was pretty busy, altough I had plenty of quiet time, too. I've seen many more people on the much more difficult
Mt. Pilchuck hike.

Hwy 530 links up Arlington and Darrington to the scenic North Cascades Hwy (20) for a nice circle drive in spring with mountain vistas and river roads.

In summer, you can alternately take 530 to Darrington then turn south to join up Mountain Loop Hwy through Granite Falls. While Mountain Loop is always closed during the winter, it had been closed for 4 years straight due to storm damage. It re-opened last October before closing for the winter in December. The road will reopen when snow clears - probably sometime in June. Check the Mt Baker - Snoqualmie Forest
Road Conditions page for updates.

There's a couple of hikes off Mountain Loop Road that I'd like to do: a 1 mile trail to ice caves which form in the summer (easy-peasy), and a 4 mi hike (or mtn bike ride) to the ghost town of Monte Cristo. I'd also like to do the Mt Pilchuck hike to the fire lookout tower again, but I'd only do that on a weekday, now that I know how friggin busy it is on a clear weekend day. (The views were worth it though.)

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