Harts Pass/Slate Peak

Field Report No. 20150912AC

Topic: High Ways
Conditions: Clear 

COMMENTS: We hit the road early and made it to Twisp by 7 AM--grabbed a coffee, then flew up the highway to Winthrop where we picked up breakfast to go and arrived at Slate Peak close to ten. The processional of migrating hawks did not disappoint, a golden eagle soared past, prairie falcon, northern harrier, red tailed hawk (of course), and don't forget sharp-shinned. Looking north, faces to the wind we gazed at Mount Baker, admiring some of the most unspoiled wilderness in the United States.

KEY FEATURES: Slate Peak was bulldozed flat in the 1950's by the US military in order to make way for a Cold War radar station. A replacement watch tower was erected at the same height the original once sat atop the (now absent) peak. The road to Slate Peak, via Harts Pass is somewhat exhilarating and is the highest maintained road in the state of Washington.

RECOMMENDATIONS: High clearance vehicle, binoculars. Extra Credit: Tell the US Forest Service you want the watch tower refurbished and rented out to civilians for overnight trips. Wenatcheeites: When you cross the Columbia River at Bee Bee Bridge, order a bucket of pasta from Garlini's and pick up your dinner before you get home.