7.9 mi rt
max: 5520 ft
gain:~1500 with all the puds (pointless ups and downs)
gpx track, use at your own risk: Lookout Lookout Twisp
After Shellrock I decided to continue east and then north since I was pretty much on that side already. I called a friend who found a campground for me outside of Ellensburg (thank you Arcadia!). I knew it would be getting dark by the time I got in that area and I didn’t want to drive around looking for a spot to just park and camp. The campground was only $15 so I went for it. I found a great isolated spot right on the river/creek and pitched the tent and drank a beer while listening to a podcast (science of course!). It was excellent…until the middle of the night when the train went by just on the other side of the river/creek. I have never been so close to the wheels (?) of the train on the track. While it was alarming to wake to, it was kind of cool as well with all the creaks and groans.
I had put a call into another friend and had asked for him to find me hike around the Twisp/Winthrop area (thank you WD!). He came through with this hike and it was an excellent recommendation!
I didn’t get to parking (N48 18.835 W120 09.798) until later afternoon but it was a short hike so I figured that was fine (and it was!). The trail starts on an old jeep road and quickly becomes a proper trail. On the upward climb it passes through fields of wild flowers and pine forests. The views of the valley start pretty early. At ~1.5 miles there is a junction, going left leads up to the lookout.
I found some information on this lookout at Summit Post that tells a little of the history of this lookout:
“The first fire lookout established on the summit was originally only a campsite lookout in 1916. By 1931, a log cupola cabin was constructed and used as a fire lookout structure for six years. In 1937, the present 25′-tall wooden tower with L-4 cab was constructed and regularly staffed every Summer season until 1997. This fire lookout structure is listed on the National Historic Lookout Register. During its regularly-staffed operation, this fire lookout location averaged over one dozen first reports of fires per season, helping establish the summit as a valuable location for finding and fighting fires in the region.”
This lookout tower could definitely use some upkeep! The views though…amazing!
In that last picture, far left, you can see where I headed next. I wanted to go to a ridge/peak 2.6 crow miles…easy. I gave myself 1.5 hours before turnaround time. I headed back to the junction and then continued on instead of heading back to the car. The area is beautiful! There were lots of flowers and hundreds! of Swallowtails!
So many swallowtails. They must have been attracted to my sweat, they kept flying into me as I walked.
Trying to get to where I wanted to be took longer than anticipated due to all the puds. When the turnaround time came I still had 0.6 crow miles to go. I decided to turnaround and head back to the truck knowing that there was a cold beer waiting for me at the School House Brewery and a bed at the hostel in Winthrop. That mountain ain’t going anywhere!
The walk out was pleasant, I managed to find my sun glasses I had dropped on the way out, YAY!