Come Sunday morning, we broke camp at Hawkins Mountain and went our separate ways. I had a great time hanging with my buds – funniest bunch ‘ fellows I’ve ever known. Thanks Dana, Nik, Tony and Kim!
At this point, the plan was to head north along State Route 97 towards the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest area. It was about 200 miles from our camp to the area we wanted to get to, with no real camp in mind. This was to be our staging ground for exploring the north eastern Cascades for the rest of the trip.
Driving for hours on 97, through Blewett Pass, then by Chelan, WA, was a familiar jaunt. Been through this area dozens of times, but coming back after being away from the PNW for nearly a year it took on a heightened tone. It helped being in the passenger seat rather than driving. Allowing me time to focus on interesting sights and take them in before they swept past. Not sure when I’ll be back, better soak it all as much as possible.
Beyond Brewster, WA was all new terrain for me. Washington takes on a much more backcountry vibe out this far from the major cities and usual weekend recreation zones. Out here, it’s very rural and mostly occupied by people who like to stay off the beaten path, away from the hustle and bustle, enjoying their privacy. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to feel the same way. Cities can be energetic and interestingly frenetic but the inherent instability of a metropolis has become like nails-on-a-chalkboard to me now.
The four hour trip from Cle Elum to Conconully took almost six hours. We were tired and it was getting late so we decided to push the easy button by camping a National Forest campground at Cottonwood Campground in Conconully off NF-38.
Arrived in the mid-afternoon and set up camp. Before long a very old hippy couple came over from the other campground and marveled at Dana’s roof top tent and awning room.
It wasn’t all that long before the sun was down and it was very dark. I managed to capture a slight amount of the Milky Way between the towering Douglas Firs that surround the camp.