Once past the dam complexes you are soon in the rough bare mountains. These are hard mountains, bare faced and rocky. This is one of the more gentle views. Further on there are ample pull outs for photo ops but you are then faced with trying to get some momentum as you climb steadily up to Washington Pass.
I knew once I got to town it would be 19 miles to Slate Peak. Almost there!!
It took an hour from town. The paved road gave way to one of the worse washboard roads I have ever experienced. My poor car rattles and squeaks enough, this surely loosened a bolt or two. Passing over a one lane bridge, the way became a bit smoother. I then started really climbing. Up through the woods around blind hairpins on 1 1/2 lanes of excitement. Now the elevation of Mazama is about 2100 feet. I have 19 miles of road to the Slate Peak trail head at 7100 feet. So OK , I thought , this is not so bad. I have driven roads like this before. Road with warning signs about paying attention and being careful.
But not a sign like thisI had thought the road pretty narrow and steep up to here. BUT NOW we need a warning sign. Whats ahead??? That does not look so bad, who are they kidding? But then they throw in distracting views..
Finally arriving I scoped out the surroundings. The wildflower meadows are pretty much done but look promising for next yearThe access road up to the top of Slate Peak is an easy stroll. It is just a half mile, not much as a hike goes. But the main attraction is for the view and for the wildflowers in season. Rare high elevation plants. The main hike along the foot of this ridge is 7 miles round trip so that makes the distance of the drive reasonable. There are ample camping and motel opportunities so it is going on my list for next year. Up here at 7100 ft ( 7480 at the top) you get a great view of many fine mountains
Mt Baker ( Koma Kulshan) 50 miles to the westCrater Basin (left) and Paul Bunyan's Stump (far right)
The big reason I wanted to come here last weekend as the day three of my Rock and Road journey is the beach that is here
While checking out some of the krumholtz and stonecrop plants I found ladybugs crawling everywhere. They were not the plump, slow, friendly ladybugs we all know. These were notably tiny and very busy. I did manage to capture this on on a lichen covered rock