my friend/roommate (mike, aka N (pronounced en-yay)) were thinking of hiking up mt. david today. since this was his first hike of the year due to training for the ironman world championships (as well as heels that easily get torn up while hiking), we toned it back a bit and headed north - way north.
this trip is trip no. 2 in the Don't Waste Your Time in the North Cascades book. so far, trips no. 1 and no. 2 are bonifide stellar hikes. getting to the trailhead was okay - except for the last 2.5 mi. like the book says, it gets rough, real rough. the road makes the middle fork road look like the newly paved section of i-5. i drive a 2wd camry with not a lot of clearance. on the road, there were some huge ditches traversing the road, cut out by the streams/falls along the mountainside. some of these gullies were so deep, we couldn't actually see the bottom while going into them. all told, we bottomed out 14 times on the way in and 10 times on the way out. if you like your 2wd, low clearance car, you may want to walk or bike this stretch.
anyway, we were astonished with the stellar views from the parking lot! on either side of the parking lot, which is essentially an isthmus, is a lake - part of twin lakes. snow on the trail greeted us starting at the trailhead at EL 5200', never getting more than 12" deep. most of it was crusty, so walking was fine. the hike up to high pass continually brought amazing views. once on the ridge, baker presents itself for your awe.
we continued up to the ridge heading easterly from larrabee peak. larrabee looks like a great peak to climb. in fact, we saw a group of three heading up there via the lower climber's trail and up the gully. not sure if they summited. from the ridge, you get a killer view of american border peak and tomyhoi. don't forget the classics like baker and shuksan. just wonderful.
down we came close to the trailhead where the trail heads south. now, we were going up to winchester mountain in hopes of finding the lookout we couldn't see from the arm of larrabee. sure enough, it was still there. it looked to be a well-maintained lookout (maintained by the mt. baker hiking club) and there was a cute little register and history book. from here, you get similar views except for this time, you get to see twin lakes where you parked.
there was an added bonus on this peak. a group of four younger guys (early 20s) were up there, playing music. they had stayed the night before and seemed so at peace with the world, playing the bongo, harmonica, clackers, train whistle, and several other things. one guy preached the idea of appreciating this wonderful area and the beautiful lookout. they really complimented the beauty of the area.
the snow and trail conditions were fine on the whole. i wouldn't drive the road for the last 2.5 mi if you have a low clearance vehicle and the road is wet. otherwise, just take your time and you'll be fine.
5.5 hrs with 45 mins lounging around - a casual pace for sure
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