Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mountain Loop Highway is closed

   After pretty nearly waxing the paint off the M3, Jey-hu said it was time for us to take a jaunt for the afternoon on the Mountain Loop Highway. The road out of Lake Stevens (WA) heads easterly toward Granite Falls and Silverton (so small you'd miss it with your eyes open!) and although we tried to get to Darrington, the road was still snowed in.    It was chilly, but the sun was really warm and up until about 4:30 p.m. we were enjoying riding in the convertible. Then suddenly it got a whole lot colder and we gave up stopping for what might be good photo ops and headed for home. Still, we got a few good ones.... the snow-capped mountain peaks here are called the "Big 4 Mountain" because when the snow melts, some of the remaining snow sticks to the edges and lays out in the form of a number "4" on the western end of the slopes. Long ago, in the early part of the 1900's, there was a hotel called the Big 4 Inn on a railroad line purchased to provide this unique vacation experience. But the destination resort failed after the 1930's and ended up burning to the ground. Today all you can see is the remains of the lodge's fireplace. While we were there, a bunch of children were seated up inside the old fireplace watching their parents prepare the Memorial Day weekend cookout nearby. What amazes me is how many people were up on this highway, even camping in spots where there clearly was more than a little snow on the ground!
It was delightful to see the Trillium blooming alongside the road and to hear the melting 
snow brooks chase down through the fir trees to meet up with the Stilquamish River (Don't hold me to the spelling or the name - I'm still learning them.) I saw a man carrying his ice chest across the river, walking IN it and wearing only a t-shirt! Hardy souls up here in these north woods!!
   And just as we were driving out of the high mountain range, we saw a black bear run across the road and up into the woods. (If you want to learn more about this creature, I've provided a wonderful link to help. This is a family-oriented blog, after all.) He (or she) stopped and looked back. We stopped and Jey-hu grabbed the camera. Then all we saw was the back end of the bear hightailing it for deeper woods. Fun!

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