Author Topic: Best direction for portion of Northern Tier between Anacortes and Glacier  (Read 4442 times)

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Offline Pat Lamb

From memory, coming from the east, the last "official" water source close to the road was near Mazama, at the Early Winters campground.  There were signs to perhaps four campgrounds on the way up, but all of those looked to be 1/2 to 2 miles off route (and all downhill).  The next was past the two passes at Colonial Creek campground.  That was about 50 miles, I'd guess.  For what little it's worth, I went through 3 quarts on the climb, and wished for more, in early August.

Not to try to dissuade you from the water filter, but general information for anyone else who might want it: the west side was wet, with water cascading down to the ditch or under a bridge roughly every 1/2 mile.  The east side was pretty parched.  The road stayed pretty well above the creek on either side.

Offline xenomera

To get back to my original question about winds, I just saw this incredible website showing current wind conditions everywhere in the country.

http://hint.fm/wind/

Definitely points to going west to east!

Offline Fred Hiltz

These mountains are named Cascades for good reason. You will rarely be away from the sound of running water. Some of it will be way up on the cliffs, though.

Fred

Offline John Nelson

To get back to my original question about winds, I just saw this incredible website showing current wind conditions everywhere in the country.

http://hint.fm/wind/

Definitely points to going west to east!
That is indeed a very cool graphic. However, it only shows you the winds right now. It doesn't show you the winds in June. So although you might want to go west to east if you were leaving within the next hour, that might not apply to another time. Furthermore, if I look at the the state of Washington as I type, the map up there shows it to be fairly black (i.e., not much wind at all). There is a bit of historical data there, but it only goes back two weeks. You can even find some days in those two weeks where east to west would be better (although west-to-east would be better on more days in those two weeks than east-to-west would). I just don't think it makes that much difference.


Offline xenomera

Yes, I realize that the map is only for "now", but I just thought it was really a good graphic.  Thanks for pointing out the short term historical maps in the Gallery -- I hadn't noticed that.  It does demonstrate how variant the winds are everywhere on a day to day basis.  Even in North Dakota, you got the wind in your face on March 21, and then it's pushing you along on the 22nd.

Offline indyfabz

How long of a distance between water sources are we talking about? Forewarned, I'd rather carry extra water than a water filter. I can and have carried two days worth of water before.

About 48. West to east, it's about 32 from Colonial Creek to Washington Pass and another 16 to Mazama. As noted, it's literally all down hill to Mazama. Even if you are not a fearless descender, it's not going to take you long to cover that distance, so you don't have to ration water over the entire distance.  Cross the river on Lost River Rd. and you will find a country store.

Second the concerns about stopping halfway up. Not only might there be snow on the ground, I wouldn't want to get stuck up there in a storm. It will also likely be very cold up there at night. The second time I crossed I ended up meeting a guy at the Witnthrop KOA who had stealth camped on the west side. He had started from west of Colonial Creek, started the climb late and was worried about running out of light. He said he melted snow for drinking water and froze his butt off. However, that was at the beginning of June.

Leaving from Colonial Creek, I wouldn't worry about daylight. If you were to start at 8 a.m. and take 10 hrs. to get to Washington Pass (at a 5 mph average, that would be 6 hrs. of pedalling and a generous 4 hrs. of stopping), it would only be 6 p.m. Another hour to Mazama and it's 7 p.m. In that neck of the woods at that time of year, it stays light well beyond then.

Finally, if the mileage works out for you, consider staying at Rockport the night before Colonial Creek. Howard Miller Steelhead Park has Adirondack shelters, which is nice if it's raining. (Reservations recommended, at least for weekends.) From there, it's a short, relatively easy day to Colonial Creek. Good rest for the legs before the next day. Not sure if there are groceries available in town. You could carry from Concrete. Marblemount, a little futher east, has more services.


Offline adventurepdx

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Finally, if the mileage works out for you, consider staying at Rockport the night before Colonial Creek. Howard Miller Steelhead Park has Adirondack shelters, which is nice if it's raining. (Reservations recommended, at least for weekends.) From there, it's a short, relatively easy day to Colonial Creek. Good rest for the legs before the next day. Not sure if there are groceries available in town. You could carry from Concrete. Marblemount, a little futher east, has more services.

I second that. Steelhead Park also has hiker/biker sites right next to the Skagit River. I remember there being limited, "country-store" selection of groceries in Rockport (where Steelhead Park is located), Marblemount, and Newhalem. Newhalem is the "last chance" market, but it closes pretty early, around 5 if I remember correctly.

As for "is there water near the side of the road"question, I do remember one waterfall that was easy accessible (see photo below), though it may dry up later in the season, another creek in which I dipped my hat and bandana, and a river crossing with bridge. So there are possibilities to use a water filter.

Offline Itinerant Harper

Here's the current status of Washington Pass:
We started clearing the highway Monday, March 26, and hope it can open the first week in May.

Detailed posting here: North Cascades updates 2012

Looks like it'll open a bit earlier this year than last (assuming all goes to plan). 

When I rode this last August I had three water bottles and a 1 liter vinyl water bag and that was fine for me. It was cool when I set out from Colonial Creek but warmed up plenty by the time I crested.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 03:24:46 pm by Itinerant Harper »

Offline Itinerant Harper

And here is the status page for the Going to the Sun Road (and other Glacier roads): Glacier National Park Current Road Conditions.

Offline indyfabz

And here is the status page for the Going to the Sun Road (and other Glacier roads): Glacier National Park Current Road Conditions.

It's worth going to their Flickr site to get an idea of the effort involved:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/glaciernps

Check out the photos from 2011 to see what it takes from start to finish. And you thought your job was tough.