Thursday, April 21, 2011

Devils Mountain 04-18-2011

Devil Mountain is located just east of I-5 between the Conway and Mount Vernon exits in Skagit County, WA.

That stretch of I-5 has flat farming fields on the west side, but the east side is a long ridge of peaks and valleys, often with dramatic clouds hanging around nearby.

For me, that means it's close to home and a scenic landmark I see frequently, but have never explored.

The entire route is on gravel logging roads and at the summit sits quite a few communication towers (or whatever other top secret undercover covert purposes they may serve).

Devils Mountain has a summit - but not the kind that anyone would consider 'scary'. The only scary part of the trip would be the first quarter mile where there are a few side 'roads' with a lot of garbage/debris laying around. Lots of stuff that makes it seem like they are/were related to illegal activities of one kind or another. It's a mess, but it also appears to be private property so... just keep moving.

The ascending route for today involved basicallly a road walk directly to the summit. As of right now, the actual summit high point is at the top of a 10 foot tall slash burn pile.

Signs of wildlife (deer, coyotes, rednecks, drug runners and probably mountain lions) were noted along the way.

There are a number of spur roads that branch off the primary route. All but one of them are heavily bermed.

The County Bermer must love his job because it seems like he/she must have put in hours upon hours of earth digging and moving to construct the 15 foot high peaks and valleys that are in place x4 at almost every junction. Some are so high that you can't even actually tell there is a road on the other side until you climb up it to see. These were so notable I even took a zoomed in photo of it from the Devils Mountain summit.

Despite it being April 18th, the trek started in partly sunny conditions, then progressed to light rain, hail, light snow and then heavy snow.

Views of Big Lake and the Big Lake community exist, as were views west to the Puget Sound and south to Devils Lake.

My views of Devil Lake and high points beyond existed one minute, but they suddenly and quickly turned into ghosts as the snow came on fast and strong.

After poking around the summit area, watching a deer bound down the steep hillside (probably to escape my BO) and accumulate an inch of snow on my hat it was time to begin the descent.

The final spur before the summit is a road that heads downhill to Ten Lake. I followed it for a short distance, but decided there were other objectives that were more important. Ten Lake will be a definite To-Do, if I ever bother to head back out this direction.

Just before reaching the 'scary' part of the road, a gate and spur captured my interest. It headed eastward and upward. As you can see on my map, I followed it for a ways, but turned around when it was clear there weren't going to be any views (today). My expectation is that this actually connects to the road that goes by Devils Lake and it might be worthwhile to follow on a sunny day, as a last resort.

This was a fun backyard outing, but far from a 'favorite' destination.

My Round Trip was just over 6 miles, but that included some side road exploring.

One Way, gate to summit is about 2.5 miles. Starting elevation is about 745, summit is about 1,723, so it's about 1,000 feet of net gain.

Once back at the car, I decided to go try to find a mine on the west side of this range that shows on the Topo Maps. I named it "Scott Mountain Mine", after my Cousin Scott. Both of them. :)

Here is another generic trip video with the same basic pics but you also get to enjoy some real video footage, plus a bit of tunes from The Bangles. The 'black' lingers at the beginning - just be patient.

At least three more trip reports from this week are in the production phase... keep checking back!

Happy Trails!


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