One of the more spectacular national forest loop roads in Washington is the Mountain Loop Hwy from Granite Falls to Darrington. The low speed road climbs from 500 ft to around 3000 ft as it winds up the Stillaguamish River. There are countless campsites along the road beneath the bows of douglas fir, sitka spruce and western cedar.
There was once active silver, lead and copper mining in this area which prompted a boom in the late 1800's when a railroad spur was established up the valley. Mine portals exist around this landscape and the remnants of cabins and mining buildings preserved against the extremely rainy climate still stand. Despite the sunny day, everything in the forest remains damp and dripping. Ferns grow atop moss which grows on a limb of a tree. It is a truly remarkable environment with a rich biodiversity.
At the base of Big Four Mountain are the remnants of the snowpack which melts down the near sheer face in spectacular waterfalls. The reality of Avalanches here is pressed upon me when I hear the distant rumble and crash from my hammock this morning. Below is a shot of the snowfield where the ice caves form later in the season. Right now there is still too much snow for the caves to have formed.
In May 2014 I quit my job to ride a Honda Ruckus over 69'000 mi and counting. Wild camping most nights and cooking most of my own meals, I keep the costs low and the landscape changing.