Leaving the Cascades – But Not Quite

Liberty Pass
Saturday October, 13
We left Winthrop on Friday, headed for the geographic center of Washington – the town of Cashmere. The Chelan County Fairgrounds in Cashmere was the only accommodations we could get on this busy Octoberfest weekend. It is a 300 site field with full hook-ups. Fortunately there is only a handful of rigs here so we don’t feel crowded. We can stay until Monday morning, when the kennel club is taking over the entire campground. They didn’t have to ask twice. Monday we move definitively south.We weren’t quite ready to leave the area and decided to look around this southern area a little more. A visit to the local forrest service office for recommendations sent us up to Forest Service Road 1912, off of Highway 97.         Here we found a confusing array of FS roads that, between the Garmin and our road atlas, eventually brought us to our goal of finding Hainy Meadow. We were also looking for potential camping sites. Yes, more frozen stuff. Gotta work with what is there. The road started up through heavy forest. This being Saturday, there were times we had to wait-out streams of traffic on this dirt road. It was narrow, but had plenty of turnouts for getting by others. Hainy Meadow was 15 miles in, and navigating these crisscrossing FS roads was difficult. Our atlas had some of the roads, Garmin had some, neither showed exactly where the meadow was, but Mary’s diligent navigation work did eventually get us there. For a long while the road was pretty boring. Only occasional larch were spotted and there was little other autumn color to be seen. We found one FS campground, but the elevation and heavy tree cover excluded it from consideration. The road eventually crossed a large talus slop whee panoramic views could be seen. Much of the forest is burned here, leaving large swaths of dead trees, but the fires have also opened up the landscape, giving the  larch room to grow here. After much consternation about just where we were and how far it would be to get back, we finally made it to the meadow. Not a real exciting day-trip and too long a drive left us a bit tired for anything more than to drive back to camp to end our day. Over the next few days we will be making our way to John Day Fossil Beds – Painted Hills Division, in Oregon. It’s a favorite stop with a very different landscape than what we’ve been experiencing here in Washington. We have a week-and-a-half left on this road trip.

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