Ain't nuthin like ridin' a fine horse in a new country - Augustus McCrae – Lonesome Dove

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

North Mountain - Darrington

Into the slide zone~
Today Grandson Ben & I had a plan!  Wednesday's he has half-days of school - so over this last weekend, we'd talked about going up North Mountain.  Ben on his dirt bike & me with Farah.  First - the drive up, which I've always enjoyed so much.
First view~
 It's greatly changed with the new highway & all the slide cleanup getting completed.
What's left of the mountain~
Such a sobering experience - I'm sure every person who drives this road now - thinks of the tragedy that occurred here...  
At the Ball Park~
Ben & I were to meet at this park - to introduce Farah to the dirt bike & so that Ben could lead us out & over to where the road up the mountain begins.  I was a little early, so stopped in to see Whitehorse Saddlery & meet the owner.  The old antique shop lends itself nicely to the smell of leather!

Just after one, my phone rang.  Ben had been unable to find the spare set of keys to the dirt bike that he'd planned to borrow, so couldn't make our ride.  I was really bummed, but after getting the easy directions from Ben - Farah & I started out.  We were only a short way down this road when a logging truck came up behind us.  He was empty & it was narrow...  He slowed to Very Slow, but it was still very tight & watching those lugs turning past Farah's legs was spooky.  I figured he was heading down the other way to the mill.
Paved road~
After doing some checking, from what I could find - it was supposed to be about 11-miles to the lookout.  I didn't expect to make it all the way to the top - not enough time, but hoped to get up high enough to at least see some of the views.
We're at 3-miles
At just short of three-miles - we finally left the paving & went onto the Very Hard packed gravel road.  This type of road has the loose rock over the top, not good for trying to make any kind of time & the climb - though it seemed gradual, was relentless!
There was some color~
This poor mountain has been so beat up, at least most of what I could see...  But it wasn't too much farther to where the views started opening up.
As overcast as it had been at home, at least up here it was clear enough that the views were fine. 
The blind curve~
We were just up from where I took this when I could HEAR a truck coming FAST!  In the next second, a fully loaded logging truck rounded the corner & saw us.  Gravel flying, dust flying & the squeal of his brakes!  I turned Farah & we started flying down to this wide spot.  As we got here - he was on us & Farah did a 180.  I lost a stirrup & almost went flying off - but managed to pull her up, as the pickup truck behind the big truck went whizzing by.

I was totally freaked when the next pickup rounded the corner.  I flagged him down & asked how many other logging trucks were up there?  He said that there was only one left - but that they wouldn't finish up until 3 p.m.  I asked if he could radio up & tell them I was there?  He did - but told me that I'd better keep my ears open!

What to do?  Caught between a rock & a hard place!  Go further & risk that truck, or start down & worry about him coming up behind us?  I decided to go a little further - & had time before that truck would start down, so continued up & around until I was at 6-miles.  At that point there was a small road off to the side & I could hear another truck coming.  He pulled off & told me that the loaded truck was coming.  I told him that I would stay right where I was until the truck got past & he radioed the driver.

About ten minutes later I could hear the truck coming & had a good hold on Farah.  This driver was so darn kind!  He was coming the slowest I've ever seen, had his window down & yelled "Hi" to me as he passed & I yelled back "THANK YOU!"  At that point, my nerves were shot & I decided to start back down...
What an incredible view!
It was beautiful, not as high as I'd have liked to get - but good enough.  My mind was racing over how dangerous it would have been for Ben to have been ahead of me on his dirt bike!  He would have never heard that truck coming & there's no way those local boys need to come anywhere near this mountain when the trucks are running!  Whew!
Down, down, down... No more trucks!  Sweet relief that was - but once we got to the paving I got off to walk - just hearing Farah's worn out shoes on all the paving, rock, etc. was more than enough.  (Justin wanted me to wait six-weeks & there's literally no steel left.)
Tons of color now~
I was so happy to be getting back to the park!  It was one of those rides that was the opposite of yesterdays!  :-)
There we are!
I was so disappointed that I didn't get to spend time with Ben, but very happy that he hadn't come!  Proud of Farah too, that was a totally scary experience & besides the 180, she handled it as well as I could have expected.  Any further error on her part would have resulted in catastrophe for us both.  Lesson learned!


  1. Holy moly. That is terrifying. I've had similar experiences with too fast trucks in tight places...well, change truck to schoolbus. Ugh. Really happy to hear that the last truck was so understanding!!

  2. Ack, SO scary. :( Good Farah!

  3. Yes ladies... I'm getting too darn "senior" for this kind of "excitement! "


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