Saturday, September 15, 2012


Incredible ride up Twin Lakes Road Saturday followed by a quick run up to the Winchester Mountain Lookout. Spectacular scenery, terrific weather and seemingly perfect light for photos. Great company too: Glenn Gervais (below, trying to reach out and touch Mount Larrabee) and Steve Vanderstaay. 
Aptly named Twin Lakes, our biking destination. After parking at the Salmon Ridge Sno-Park, we pedaled a  half-mile of flat toward the D.O.T. shed, took a right on Twin Lakes Road and got pedalin'. After 6.4 miles--which included some 3,100 feet of climbing--we arrived at the lakes. Absolutely, terrifically stunning!

At Twin Lakes, I continued on for about a half-mile and found this pretty little tarn in a basin. A little beyond that it becomes private property--a gold mine, it turns out. 
On this day, however, I found a couple forest service folks with binoculars trained on a black bear and a herd of mountain goats. (They're way up on that 45-degree slope in the upper right and unfortunately, too far away for me to photograph.)

The last stretch of road from the Yellow Aster Butte Trailhead to the lakes is by far the toughest. It's chewed up like crazy and final 1.3 miles climbs 1,100 feet! (Repeat 1,100 feet in 1.3 miles!)

EXTREME CLOSE-UP of your author.
After a quick little explore at Twin Lakes, we locked our bikes to a tree and began the 1.5-mile (one-way) run-hike up to the Winchester Mountain Lookout. (Since the trail climbs 1,300 feet, it was a lot more hike than run for me.)
Views of Mount Baker--and seemingly every other Cascade peak--were huge!
Steve and Glenn at the lookout. Maintained by the Mount Baker Club, a B'ham hiking club, the lookout was built in 1935 and is available to camp out in on a first-come basis.
A gauze of clouds atop Mount Shuksan's summit pyramid. 
Heading down with a view west toward Yellow Aster Butte.
Steve, Glenn and I at the top. Behind us, Goat Mountain is in the foreground, Shuksan in the back.
Steve on the descent. The distant switchbacks are by the Yellow Aster Butte trailhead, about 1,000 feet below.
Me, gettin' all Ansel Adams on ya'. Sorta.


  1. Hi Mike; My wife and I are big fans. Loved the pics and narrative of your ride/run to Winchester. My wife and I did the Mt Baker Hill Climb on the 9th. Me in the Competitive div and Dana in the Rec Fast (her first race). We stayed in the area and hiked Chain Lakes, Yellow Astor, Skyline and then Winchester, all in 4 days. Wow, what a great week. I have to tell you that it was your earlier books on hiking that really got us interested in the North Cascades. Now we can't get enough. We got your latest book on cycling in Wash State. Great resource. Thanks.

  2. Thanks for the note, Barry! Man, you guys really crammed a lot into 4 days! Good on ya'! And thanks for letting me know you've enjoyed my books; that's super gratifying to hear!

  3. Wow - cool pics and ride. Awesome...