THE SNOW LEVEL WILL FALL TO AROUND 6000 FEET BY SUNDAY... AND ONE TO TWO FEET OF NEW SNOW IS EXPECTED TO FALL ABOVE THE SNOW LEVEL.
With the weekend forecast looking decidedly non-summer-y, I thought that sneaking up the back roads to Stevens Pass on Friday sounded like a good idea. So did Lyn Gill, Michael Huber, Jeff Loomis, Vincent Muoneke, who joined me at Duvall for the ride.
Earlier this summer, Geoff Swarts had created an up-and-back 200km permanent to Stevens Pass. From just before Skykomish up to the summit, sections of the old highway are still open and make a nice alternative to US-2. Along with the back road from Gold Bar to the control at Index, these sections provide a wonderful diversion from the highway.
First we left the highway before the narrow tunnel and crossed the river toward the Money Creek campground for the back way around Skykomish.
After Skykomish and before Scenic, there is a lovely and well maintained section of the Old Cascade Highway. Although it provides access to the Iron Goat Trail, we saw only two or three cars, one of which was parked.
After rejoining the highway for a very short stretch, we left for the section of the Old Cascade Highway that loops up over the railroad tunnel and heads for the summit. A bridge on this old road is gone, replaced by this lovely wooden structure too narrow for cars.
Although vehicles can access the road from either end, the lack of through access means very little traffic on a lovely road up to the summit. We saw one car and used the whole road.
Of course, there was espresso. At Vinaccio in Sultan on the way up.