The weather on our 2nd day at Concrete was a bit disappointing with cloud cover over most of the Northern Cascades so we put off our scenic flight until the 3rd day which looked fractionly better in this NOAA forecast....
A WEAK UPPER TROUGH WILL MOVE OVER WESTERN WASHINGTON
TODAY AND TONIGHT...BRINGING MID AND HIGH LEVEL CLOUDS AT TIMES. AT
THE SURFACE...LIGHT ONSHORE FLOW WILL CONTINUE WITH HIGH PRESSURE
OFFSHORE AND LOWER PRESSURE INLAND. AIR MASS STABLE EXCEPT SLIGHTLY
UNSTABLE OVER THE CASCADES THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING.
As there is no fuel available at Concrete we flew down to Arlington, a 30 mile journey, to fill up our tanks with what must be some of the most expensive AVGAS in the Pacific Northwest! On departing Arlington we started our long climb out back to the north over Concrete and towards Mount Baker, the 10,781ft peak that dominates the scenery just to the north of the town. Winds were light and from the south east but they were forecast to climb significantly during the early morning. There was a scattering of clouds at around 7,000ft and once above them the flying was smooth, we continued to climb to 9,000ft where the views were stunning. With its many rugged, snowy peaks and more remote terrain the North Cascade National Park is strikingly different to the Cascade mountain range down in Oregon with its individual, widley spaced peaks. In the distance we could also clearly see the mountains north of Vancouver, across the Canadian border.
Climbing up to 9,000ft above scattered cloud.
Just to the south of Mount Baker is Twin Sisters Mountain, which consists of South Twin, at 6,940ft and North Twin at 6,660ft.
South Twin to the south of Mount Baker.
We flew past Mount Baker and the three peaks which form what looks like a large crater on its west side. On the very summit of Mount Baker we could see the wind blowing snow up from its southern side, forming a crest on its peak.
Lincoln Peak (left peak), Black Buttes (middle peak) and Colfax Peak.
Mount Baker (10,781ft). If you look closely you can see the wind blowing the snow off the very top of the mountain.
Goat Mountain, which sits in the Mount Baker eastern foothills.
Looking over snow covered ridges and peaks to the north of Mount Baker to Canadian mountains beyond.
To the north east of Mount Baker is the 9,131ft high Mount Shuksan covered with its impressive glaciers.
Mount Shuksan (9,131ft).
Some of the extremely rugged terrain to the east of Mount Shuksan, this area has some of the most remote landscape that the USA has to offer.
As predicted higher winds had started to develop, pushing in a high layer of cloud, and keeping the Cessna straight and level was becoming more difficult. It was time to visit the small town of Darrington, around the valley south of Concrete, for breakfast. Descending from 9,000ft down to Darrington on the valley floor took some time, I never like rushing such a long descent through cold air as there is a danger of shock cooling the engine. During the descent we took the opportunity of passing close by Mount Bullon, Whitehorse Mountain and Jumbo Mountain which tower 6,000ft+ above the town, before turning back to the east for the approach to its small, quiet airport.
Dome Peak, 8,920+ft, seen to the east during our descent to Darrington.
Mount Bullon (5,960+ft.)
Mount Bullon (background) and Whitehorse Mountain.
Looking down at Darrington Airport.
Tango Charlie parked up on the Darrington apron.