Googlemaps Goof-Up

I tend to be really good about bring driving instructions for trail heads.  Because, let’s face it, we’re usually far out of cell range.  We may start out using GoogleMaps, but if something doesn’t make sense I always have a paper map or hiking book with driving instructions with me.  Which is why it really makes no sense that I totally forgot to do so on our trip to Lookout Mountain Lookout while in Winthrop.

First, does anyone else find the name Lookout Mountain Lookout to be confusing?  Why not just…Lookout Mountain.  Or, Lookout Mountain Fire Tower?  Nope.  It’s Lookout Mountain Lookout.

I think part of my lazy disregard for directions was because those on the Washington Trail Association website read so simple:  Take Okanogan County Road 9114 from Twisp west 0.5 mile, then turn left on County Road 1605. Connect with Forest Service Road 4400-200 and drive 4.2 miles to its end.  I clicked on the coordinates, pulled up Googlemaps and we were in business.  Should be there in 30 minutes.

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Until we weren’t.

Googlemaps led us astray.

Good thing we weren’t on a snowy road in winter or we would have been toast.

The problem started when Googlemaps announced, “You have arrived!”  Well, okay, but we were kind of in the middle of a gravel road.  There was a slightly brushy looking spur to the left, but nothing that looked like a trail head.  We stopped and walked up the spur a bit before concluding that it was definitely not the trail.  That’s the point at which I realized I didn’t have the book with the map.

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After some head scratching and discussion we decided to continue on the road we were on to see where it went.  It started climbing, which was good.  It also became rougher.  Much rougher.  Large rocks jutting up from the (obviously) one-lane road rougher.  Did I mention that we were in the Corolla?  Not exactly an off-road vehicle.

The husband became quieter, his hands gripped on the wheel.  I could feel the tension in the vehicle rise.  We bumped along at a snails-pace, climbing and winding.  And then, suddenly, the road dead-ended.  No warning.  No signs.  Nothin’.  Hmmmmm….

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There was plenty of space to turn around.  Plenty of space to park.  But where the hell was the trail head?  Had we even taken the right road?  We got out of the car, walking around a bit.  I pointed out to the husband that we must be in the right place…there were footprints, lots of them, in the dust.  After a couple of minutes we were able to figure out where they were headed and followed them.

Lookout Mountain Lookout is a short hike.  Around 3 miles round-trip.  Remember, I was blistered on the heels and, thus, limited.  The gain is only around 1100 feet, but it’s steady.  We set off under sunny skies and began our way up the mountain.

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Again, as with Patterson Mountain, we were treated to gorgeously expansive views the higher we climbed.  Unlike Patterson Mountain, the trail on Lookout Mountain, at times, winds right along the edge of the mountain.  When there were trees below us (that would have broken my fall before I rolled all the way down) I felt relatively secure.  In the sections where there weren’t trees I felt myself tilting slightly towards the inside and occasionally wiping the sweat off my palms.  Heights.  Meh…they’re not my favorite.

We finally broke out onto the top of the mountain and were greeted by the tower.  It’s an impressive sight.

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Lookout Mountain stands at 5699 feet.  The original fire tower was constructed on the site in 1929 and demolished in 1967.  The current tower was constructed in 1962.  It was placed on standby status in 1998.  We climbed to the top, but it’s a rickety feeling structure and we didn’t stick around.  Today as I wrote this I poked around on the forest service website for information about the lookout at found, in bold print, the following statement:  To prevent the catwalks from collapsing, limit of two people per side.  Obviously we were correct in our feeling.

We stood at the top of the mountain for a while, drinking in the 360 degree views and enjoying a snack.  We eventually made our way down and headed back to our cabin for lunch.  After lunch we took a short drive out to Perrygin Lake.  Actually, this gin lover would prefer that they shorten the name….

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It’s a pretty lake and, in the autumn, the large campground was almost empty.  The husband pulled up a picnic table to sprawl on while I wandered and took a few photos.  We eventually made our way back into town and enjoyed a leisurely afternoon on the back deck of our cabin reading and sipping cocktails and wine.  Because we could.  Plus, we had to rest up for our final transition to Chelan and what would be referred to as LaNae’s 2017 Super Bowl (if you recall, my last Super Bowl was last fall at Butchart Gardens when we went to Victoria).

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3 thoughts on “Googlemaps Goof-Up

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