Kirk and I had our day free yesterday and had gone up North to run errands. On the way back we decided to take the scenic route back instead of I-5. Why not avoid the rush hour traffic and see the mountains instead?
So from near Bellingham, Wa. we took off East on Hwy 20 in the late afternoon, under a cloudy sky that slowly was blowing clear. We drove to Rockport State Park, looking up high at Sauk Mountain that was nearly melted out- following the Skagit River. We turned onto Hwy 530 and drove the winding road along the Sauk River to the tiny town of Darrington. There we jumped onto the Mountain Loop. The drive from there is rivers, creeks and open green forest. Quiet and clean earth smelling. We didn’t see many people on the Darrington end though we did pass the ‘make-out couple’ in the one scenic overview I wanted to stop at. Decided I didn’t want to listen/watch them :p and we kep going. Oh well, Glacier Peak was still hidden by clouds at that point, though the White Chuck River would have been nice.
Eventually you pass where the branches of the Sauk come in, leaving the North behind. The South Sauk River flowing fast:
Kirk and I spent a nice amount of time at the river shooting video and honestly, we had nowhere to be so we relaxed. No bugs, a gentle breeze and the sun slowly starting to set behind the ridges.
We came to Monte Cristo Lake, where I got out to take photos and was immediately attacked by bugs aplenty. On the other hand, driving the other way was Jared, who pulled over and said hi. We talked for a little until we were being sucked dry of blood and we ran for our vehicles 😉
After that, Kirk and I drove on and couldn’t pass not going down a lonely road to nowhere…..The end of the road is the lonely trailhead for Sunrise Mine.
The views in the late sun from the road are worth the drive. Road wise the tread is nice, just don’t look over the side….
Sadly, I don’t know my peaks in this area. This is an area I have hiked little in due to how far out it is for us. Part of our driving trip was to get ideas for upcoming outings 🙂
Back on the road we headed downhill.
Big 4, the trail from here to the ice caves at the base has finally reopened after being closed for so long….
The skies had nearly cleared by our last stop – it was around 8 pm as we left Big 4. As we left and headed back down the mountains behind us were all visible in the setting sun with Rainier in the far distance, a white bump.