South Skagit Highway - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

July 14, 2020

South Skagit Highway

Today’s ride was another beautiful one, in a much different way than yesterday’s.  It really deserves a more robust write-up than we’re giving it, but Team Anderson’s mind is frankly elsewhere - thinking about Croatia.  More to come; but in the meantime let’s look at South Skagit Highway, an ideal riverside ramble. 

The South Skagit Highway sounds bigger and busier than it is.  I don’t know why it’s called a highway rather than just a road, but it sure doesn’t feel highwayish.  It’s 25 miles long, running along the south bank of the Skagit River from Sedro Woolley to the charmingly named town of Concrete.  It’s a quiet road because there’s a shorter, faster, busier option on the other side of the river - Highway 20, the North Cascades Highway.  If you’re biking, you’d be nuts to take Highway 20 along this stretch.  Just cross the river at Sedro Woolley (unfortunately, over the scary-looking bridge on Highway 9), slow down, add a few miles to the journey, and relax your mind.

Today’s ride is a Rachael fave - a pure out and back, where she can shed the boat anchor for awhile and cruise ahead, picking me up on the way back.
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The abandoned Sedro Woolley railroad bridge, built in 1888 using a Warren through truss design. It stands alone now, with the tracks eliminated at both ends. I haven’t discovered yet when it was abandoned, but I think it must be recently. I saw a photo from 2013 of what I think was this bridge carrying a train of oil tankers. I wonder how long it will be until it is dismantled.
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Much of today’s ride looks like this - walled in by forest, with the occasional glimpse of the nearby river through the trees.
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The Skagit River, from the south bank.
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What a clear day! Finally, we get a clear view of Mount Baker and the surrounding peaks.
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Roses at milepost 6.
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I’m not sure, but I think the range to the left of Baker is the South and North Twins; and peeking over its shoulder is the tip of Mount Shuksan.
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The view to the south, away from the river.
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Another view of Mount Baker; but what is this crop?
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Strange plant, one I don’t recall seeing before.
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Bill ShaneyfeltSeed pods sure look like mustard.
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3 weeks ago
Still following the river. As we go east the woods have changed a bit and are now predominantly alder and maple.
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Bend in the river.
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Some sort of brilliant ground cover. Another one I don’t recognize, and for some reason didn’t take a close-up of.
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Foxglove, and more of that yellow stuff.
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Bill ShaneyfeltYellow stuff might be flowery hawkweed.

https://biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection/taxon.php?Taxon=Hieracium%20floribundum
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltPerhaps, but it doesn’t really look like what I remember. If I see it again I’ll get a close-up.
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3 weeks ago
Mount Shuksan, I think.
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Here we’re looking east into the North Cascades. I biked the North Cascades Highway forty years ago, the spring Mount Saint Helens erupted, and have always wanted to go back with Rachael. There’s no lodging for about 80 or 100 miles though, so we’d have to tent it,.
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Reunited, stopped for lunch at a post beside the ‘highway’. I’m not sure a single car passed us as we ate. I did a pretty good job at keeping up today - she only put in ten miles more than me!
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Ride stats today: Scott, 40 miles, 600’; Rachael: 50 miles, 1,000’

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