Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mountain Loop Highway

I took a spin up the Mountain Loop Highway to Barlow Pass on Friday on the Sporty. It was a nice ride - not too many people and one of the few non-rainy cloudy days we've had lately.

There are a lot of campgrounds in that area that I'd like to try out for a short camping trip to check out my gear before I head out on longer journeys

I rode up to the Mount Pilchuck trailhead access road which was interesting since there are some big pot holes with all the rain we've had. I'd be extra careful driving a car or street bike up there - I've heard of people doing some damage to transmissions/oil pan. Nice view from the the trailhead access area and there were quite a few hikers up there but it's still too early to hike to the top unless you have snowshoes and understand avalanche hazards. The June 14th USFS trail report says,

"Report of dangerous avalanche conditions and hazardous cornice near summit. Solid snow still covers more than half the trail. Trail is snow free for approx 1.5 miles. Route finding and winter travel skills and equipment necessary."

I didn't go North from Barlow Pass to Darrington since it was raining a little and the road isn't paved. Riding 7 miles on the potholed gravel/dirt road up to the Mt. Pilchuck trail access was enough gravel for me that day.

On my way out of town I stopped by the Marysville Strawberry Festival which was just getting under way. On my way back I was surprised that main street in Marysville was lined with empty camping/lawn chairs. When I passed by earlier in the day there were only a few chairs and I thought someone was selling them - but at 6 pm there were hundreds of empty chairs. The parade wasn't for another 24 hours. It must be a local tradition to claim your spot with a chair a day in advance. Or maybe the city puts those chairs out there for anybody to use. I didn't make it to the parade so I'll have to check with a local to get the scoop on the chairs.