Monday, April 26, 2010

Biking to Split Rock (almost) 04-18-2010

Had a four hour window on Sunday, 4/18/2010 to make the most of the springtime sunshine.

I decided to go exploring out in the Lake Cavanaugh area to see if I could find a landmark referred to as Split Rock. This is located in Skagit County, east of Hwy 9, between Big Lake and Oso. Erik H. just happened to be 'almost' available, so after a little negotiation with Tanya, we were good to go. Thanks Tanya for watching Makenna. :)

Split Rock has been on my radar screen for a couple months after seeing that the Mount Baker Club had planned a hike out there (which was canceled due to the gated roads).

We mapped out a 6.5 mile one-way road route from the Lake Cavanuagh road that would get us as close as possible to Split Rock. Along the way, we would pass by Bald Mountain.

Neither of us had been off the pavement in this area, so it was mostly a combination of just wanting to see the topography and to also get some much needed exercise.

The mapped route was to gain about 2,100 feet or so.

The second half of the route shares the road with ORV's, FYI.

First up, Bald Mountain became a prevalent landmark after only a half mile of biking. It looks to me like Bald Mountain would offer a lot of rock climbing opportunities. That thing is funny how it just pops right up out of the ground.

As the route begins its real elevation gain, we were thrilled to see some of our favorite peaks off to the east. Three Fingers, Whitehorse, Glacier and Mt. Pugh.

Here is Whitehorse (left), Three Fingers (center) and Lake Cavanaugh (right):

Three Fingers (on my to-do list for this summer) zoom:

Whitehorse zoom:

Zoom of Glacier Peak (left) and Mt. Pugh (right):

At about 2,800 feet we finally encountered solid snow. The snow was soft and became very slippery with each footstep... and pedal. It didn't take long before our shoes were soaked.

We persisted onward and upward, hoping to reach a view of the elusive Split Rock... but when our turnaround time alarm went off we were still almost a mile (and less than 100 feet of vertical) shy of the destination.

The snow depth, now up to our knees in spots, made proceeding futile, despite how close we were.

2 hours up, 1 hour down.
Weather was perfect!
Might have to finish this up on some sunny October afternoon.

So, I have yet to actually see Split Rock, other than on a topo map.

Personally, Bald Mountain looks to be a worthy destination for me some day.

Round Trip for us the day: 11.9 miles, 2,086 elevation gain, maximum speed: 24mph, average moving speed: 5.3mph.

No bugs... except one big fat black fly.


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