Grade creek road Chelan

Winthrop to Chelan via the real back roads.

Day 2 – Traveling from Winthrop to Chelan via the forest service back roads.

Click here if you would like to start with Day 1 of this Cascade Mountain road trip.

By Pacific Northwest landscape Photographer Dominic Urbano

(The following entry is a direct copy of my notes made in the evening at camp after the day of travel. Maybe I am just being lazy…)

Had my standard peanut butter and jelly sandwich and coffee breakfast and took a walk out into Tiffany Meadow to take in the sunrise.  The meadow makes a long narrow sweep through the trees and has a small stream hidden in the grass down its middle. With wildflowers adding small splashes of vibrant color to the carpet of green it was a beautiful spot to be as the sun broke over the mountains.

Back on the road I followed FR 39 to FR37 with a stop at Rodger lake. The view of the lake is best from the road above. Once at the lake level the water disappears in the sea of marsh grasses that surround it.

Back into Winthrop via Chewack Road and I have now completed a fantastic loop. While I camped out mid way, someone using Winthrop as the start/stop point could easily do the loop in a day.

The next section of travel would be to cut across the mountains between Winthrop and Lake Chelan.

The route – Highway 20 east to Twin Lakes Road – Patterson lake road – Elbow Coulee road – Twisp river road – Poorman Creek road – FR 300 – FR43 – FR4340 – FR4330 – FR600 to South Navarre camp.

A much more forested bit of travel today and the roads got rougher the further I went. FR600 was pretty deeply rutted in places and the stretch from FR600 to South Navaree camp was rocky. Nothing too bad but a regular car may have lost a muffler trying to do this section.

Not much photography after my time in the meadow this morning. Closed in forest smelled great but did not offer much for landscape shots.

When I broke out onto the ridge above Lake Chelan it was quite a thrill. Too hazy to see clearly but Lake Chelan was there in the distance. The road cut across a pretty steep slope in places and then ran along the top of a sharp ridge (Coyote Ridge) for some distance. A mix of alpine trees, rock, and views to either side. Fantastic! The wind was whipping across the ridge.

Set up camp at South Navarre. I am the only one here. Have not seen anyone since I stopped at Black Pine Lake for a swim.

The camp sits high on a ridge and am looking down at what must be Manson and Lake Chelan in the distance. Brown haze all but obscures them from sight.

The wind is making a variable and strangely non-directional sound. Black flies are abundant, but not biting.

It is a very dry camp with a large crossed log horse coral.

Peaceful isolation!

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