Author Topic: North Cascades Hwy - March 2019  (Read 547 times)

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Offline Daboo

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North Cascades Hwy - March 2019
« on: March 21, 2019, 05:51:07 pm »
So we've had a heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest, and starting today, the temps are supposed to return to normal.  After all the snow we got...which may not seem like much to those who normally get snow...this was a wonderful respite.  Snow in the PNW is supposed to be in the mountains, not the city streets and it shut Seattle down for weeks.

I knew before leaving that the entire North Cascades Highway was not completely clear.  There's snow plow crews working on both ends of the passes to clear it out.  But I knew it would be open far enough through to get a good ride in some of the most amazing scenery in the state.

I headed up I-5 till just past Arlington and then turned off onto Hwy 530.  If this is your first time through, stop for a moment or two to look at the Oso landslide.  An entire section of the hill slid off a few years back and buried the area east of the town and inhabitants there under 30-70 feet of mud and debris.

The scenery along Hwy 530 is beautiful in its own right.  Farmland.  Scattered homes and tiny communities along the base of the foothills of the Northern Cascades.  Here's some pics from the roads along Hwy 530.

Roads were good along the way.  The sand from the snow seems cleared, at least in your lane.  The center stripe area still had some in places. 

After riding along for an hour or so on roads like this, I reached the North Cascades National Park.

In a few weeks, I'm sure all that ice will be melted away.  Oh...temperatures varied a lot on the trip, often within a mile or less.  The high I saw on the temperature readout was 80F...but the low was 48F.  There were places where the air wasn't moving and the tree canopy was high and dense.  Those areas still had a foot or more of snow and between the shade, the still air, and the snow, the temperatures would plunge 15 degrees or more.  It was like a bunch of microclimates.  

Gorge Lake

I parked the bike at Colonial Creek Campground.

You can see ice still on the water in the distance.  This is DiabloLake from the campground area.

I thought these rings were interesting.

There's an observation point up the hill a couple miles past where they had the road blocked off, so I hiked up there.  I actually liked it better than when I've ridden through there.  It was a good time to spend seeing things that you go by too fast and hearing the sounds.  And except for a couple I passed who were going down as I was going up the hill, I had the place to myself.  

Diablo Lake from above at the Observation Point.

Look closely above the snow and the black spec is my bike.  

I left there and the way home was like the way up there.  No traffic.  It was just a great day to be out riding.

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Offline Red Fox

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Re: North Cascades Hwy - March 2019
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2019, 11:01:40 pm »
Nice photos - Jealous, I am!
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Offline Gumby

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Re: North Cascades Hwy - March 2019
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2019, 11:26:38 pm »
Excellent pics Chris :great:
I finally got my bike out on the road the last couple days as well, but the only thing I have seen is the parking garage at work. :truce: :'(

Offline robertv

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Re: North Cascades Hwy - March 2019
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2019, 01:29:07 pm »
Great ride report and photos Chris!!

You beat me to it on riding the area to see how conditions are especially when we had summer like conditions. It's cooled down back to our normal spring temps but might check it out soon. Good timing too as it's the Oso landslide 5th year anniversary! Will be riding and paying my respects to all the lives lost.
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Offline lars

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Re: North Cascades Hwy - March 2019
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2019, 02:34:18 am »

Thanks for the post and the pictures.  Brought back memories from decades ago when I rode across the NCH (east to west).  I'd forgotten what a great riding road it was, and the scenery is spectacular.

I'll be adding the NCH to my list of favorite rides, right up there with Beartooth, Trailridge Road, and many more.


Offline gsun

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Re: North Cascades Hwy - March 2019
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2019, 03:02:21 am »
i normally take the NCH to get to the Bun Cooler and will do that this year but I cut off north of 530 to get to 20. I think I will go to 530 this time to see Oso. thanks for the tip and great pics! It is a beautiful road. I have been on it where I stopped three times on the way up the grade to layer up and the same on the other side to take gear off! At the top there can be ten foot drifts of snow beside the road.