If you have not heard of it the Washington Backcountry Discovery route runs from Oregon to Canada using mostly logging roads. Many club members had expressed interest in running the Discovery route but did not have time to run the whole thing. As a result we decided to run the route in sections with the goal of running the whole thing over time. The plan was to wheel one section then overnight in Wenatchee and run a different section before heading back home.
Day one â€“
On day one we met at the North Bend Safeway at the ungodly hour of 7:00am. I have to say that I am proud of our group. Everyone was on time with their rigs fueled and ready to go. We had a quick drivers meeting where Cindy was nice enough to volunteer to run sweep (tail gunner) and we headed out. It is about now that it is nice to have to Moose telling trail stories or local history but he was not able to make it.
Six rigs climbed the pass, Curt with Chris, Emily and Mel running point, followed by John and Heidi, Steven Teresa, and Rudy in the black white and kind of yellow camo Jeep, Then Jason and Stacy in the Gray TJ, with Darren in the JK (with no AC) and Cindy and the fam in Muddy Girl 2.0. We held 65 to 70 all the way to Ellensburg where we topped off the tanks.
The climb out of Ellensburg to the north is nice and mostly paved but not without its issues. John and Heidi where starting to warm up there trans so they shifted into 4 low which helped a great deal. Since we were near we stopped at Lions rock. I had forgot the name and did not remember that I had been there before. The expedition quickly figured out that spacing was the key to not eating too much dust and since we had a good group no one was left trying to figure out which way to go at an intersection. This is where leading a run comes in handy by the way. You donâ€™t eat as much dust if you are the lead rig. I did feel bad for Darren who did not have AC and had to roll with windows down but I quickly got over it.
We had to divert our track due a landslide so instead of going down mission ridge and into Wenatchee we cut over to the Old Blewett pass road then down to 97. It was about now that the crew was wanting food so we headed to a local favorite spot the Big Y cafĂ©.
After lunch we headed north from Cashmere through the hills and climbed to 5810 feet and all the way to the top of Chumstick Mountain. Most of us where in and out of 4 low at this point to keep the automatic transmission cool during the long climbs or the breaks cool on descending. Chumstick is an amazing view. I canâ€™t even put words to it. Basically it is a 360 degree view from the mountains to the great Columbia plateau. You could even see the curvature of the planet. The question of the day is why donâ€™t more people come up here and why have we not been here before. The answer is that we will be coming back for sure. We finished the day with a drop to Entiat river and a drive back to Wenatchee where we all stopped to have dinner.
Day two â€“
On day two we hit the local Walmart as a meet up. This day we lost Steven, A guess there dog was not making any friends with the neighbors and heading home would likely stop a crime or at least their dog would live to see another day. We did pick up Michael and his wife not to mention his baby girl Cookie. Cookie is very cute but does have a bit of a drooling issue. The group decided to pick up the trail at Chelan. On the north side of the lake the trail heads up into the mountains through the Echo Valley where the famous Echo Valley Ski area is located.
Yours truly even worked there for a few weekends mainly driving a Thiokal 2100 Snowcat.Â The great thing about the 2100 is that it had power brakes. Not power assisted brakes power brakes. So if you killed the engine on a hill and you could not get the blade down fast enough you died. Lucky for me I kept it running.
Next was a long climb with views of Lake Chelan and more views and more views until we finally reached Cooper Mountain. Then north to Fox peak and more views. Did I mention the views? More North until we started dropping into the Methow. Cookie was getting hungry so we stopped at a park in Twisp and Michael was nice enough to cook us all Hot dogs for lunch. (Got to love Michael he is such a valuable member of the club).
After Lunch we headed back over the North Cascades Highway. Four of us ran together while two decided to head over on their own. On the way out of town we saw a blue grass festival. NO!!!!!! That meant concert groupies and not the good kind. We did not know it then but we would see more of the groupies later. It is about this time that we ran into something worse than even groupies. Yes you might have guessed it, the dreaded under powered RV.
Basically they cut our group into two. We did a good job of getting back together but we had to stop for fuel. Which meant that we had to deal with the RV again. There was a good gap so all 4 tamers passed the RV and we were off. Well that is until we got behind the groupie in their Westphalias which are very slow and lean on every turn. One of them was nice enough to pull off to the side but the other one was more difficult to get around. In the end two of us got around but Michael and Cindy were stuck for a while. We did also manage to play in the snow a little at the top. All in all it was a very good trip and it sounds like people want to go again.