Monday, November 4, 2013

Mt Erie in the Fall

Last week the newspaper reminded us that there is still time to go for a drive before winter-like weather comes, so we made a plan with Dad and Mom to drive up State Route 20 toward the North Cascades Highway. But the paper didn't know that the snow line would be low on Sunday, so we headed west on SR 20 instead, to one of our favorite places -- Mt Erie.

Standing 1273 feet, Mt Erie is the highest point on Fidalgo Island, the land mass that connects Whidbey Island to the mainland, just west of downtown Anacortes. You can see Mt Erie as you drive north and west from Mt Vernon, one of several huge rock outcroppings that rise up from sea-level terrain. It is about half the height of Mt Constitution on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands, and from both mountains you have a spectacular view. The advantage of Mt Erie, however, is that you can drive from your home to the top of the mountain without having to wait for (or pay for) a ferry to get you there.

We arrived there about 4:30 in the afternoon and found that it wouldn't be too long until sunset. (We had just moved the clocks back the night before as we switched to Standard Time, so it got dark an hour earlier than we were used to.) We drove to the summit on the one-lane paved road, but many people come to Mt Erie for hiking or rock climbing. The light was dim on our drive up, as it is a highly forested road, but by the time we reached the summit and walked out to the points beyond the trees, there was plenty of sunlight. On a clear day you can see Mt Baker, 43 miles to the north, and maybe even catch a glimpse of Mt Rainier, 112 miles to the south.

We enjoyed the views of the San Juan Islands, Lake Campbell just below the mountain, and westerly views toward the Olympic Mountains.

Mt Erie is open year-round. It's just 20 minutes west of Mt Vernon and eight miles from Deception Pass. If you find yourself with an unplanned afternoon, why not go see it for yourself?

You can Google Mt Erie to find reports of others who have visited, and enjoy a time-lapse of the sunset from Mt Erie here.

No comments: