Northern Tier 2010

July 8, 2010

Following the Skagit

Filed under: Geology, Section 01, Washington — Henry Scott @ 8:00 pm

It was very sad to say goodbye to Jennifer, but we had a good morning together in Anacortes. After a surprisingly pleasant breakfast at a bowling alley, she followed me to the start of the Tommy Thompson Trail, took a photo of me making the “official” start, and off I went.

We heard from some locals on Orcas Island that July 5th is the typical start of summer weather in this area, and that seems accurate based on my short time here. Our first several days on vacation were cool and foggy, but it has been warm and sunny since the 5th. Today was no exception — in fact, it was hot!

Fortunately for me, I got a lot of relief from the heat because my route had me following the Skagit river once I reached the town of Sedro-Wolley at about the 30-mile mark. The Skagit is a beautiful river, with steep, undeveloped banks providing much-appreciated shade. I must admit, however, that today’s heat, while still near the coast, got me thinking a bit about what is in store for me as I reach the Midwest when summer is in full swing. Alas, I’ll leave any more worrying about that for when I get there.

My goal for today was to get close to the town of Newhalem — the entrance point for North Cascades National Park — and that worked out perfectly. I biked pretty much continuously except for a few stops to get water, chat with a few folks I met along the way, and to eat lunch Mill Creek, which feeds the Skagit.

I went through a few small towns with a lot of character such as Concrete and Rockport.

After getting some groceries in Marblemount, which is about 14 miles from the park entrance, I continued east with an eye out for a suitable camping spot.

After just a few miles (84 miles total since I started this morning) I came across a turnout for an old road that has been closed and subsequently abandoned. Large boulders have been placed at the entrance to prevent vehicles from entering. The roadway is still discernible, but it is covered with moss, and small trees are already taking root in the potholes. It is amazing to see how aggressively nature reclaims what is hers!

Apparently this old road was just to provide river access because it only continued for a short distance, but it got me far enough off of the main road, and I have a great campsite from which all I hear is the sound of the water.

After dinner I was in bed a little before 8. I was almost disappointed to find I have cell phone access here, but that gave me an opportunity to call Jennifer. I caught her as she was looking for her car at the South Bend airport — she got home safe and sound.

My plan for tomorrow is to get to North Cascades NP early to make sure I can get a campsite for tomorrow night. If I’m successful in getting a site, my friend Greg from Seattle will drive over and join me for a night.


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