I Climbed a Mountain

30 04 2012

Meet McClure:

Mount McClure Twisp WA


McClure is just your average mountain, a standing sentinel watching over the lower end of the Methow. He’s persevered through millenia, surviving ice and glaciers, wind and water. He definitely shows his age, but there he still stands. And there he watches me every single day, whether I’m working or playing. He fills the majority of the view out my window above my desk. I often feel as though he is mocking me: “Look at me up here, being all majestic and awesome, while you sit there all day, toiling away on the Interwebs.”

McClure is a bit condescending, and I’ve started to become a tad bitter. What I once saw as a gash in his side, an open wound scarring his slopes, I now see as a giant butt crack. He stands there and moons me all day while I’m stuck indoors working.

So Saturday, I decided enough was enough. Time to get up close and personal with old McClure and give him a real piece of my mind. J and I grabbed our day packs, walked out the back door, crossed the street, and climbed McClure.

Here’s the recap:

So there is no trail up McClure. Anywhere. We just headed straight at it from our house. Off-road!! The image above is from our driveway. So the first leg of the journey was through a couple fields and lots of open pasture and meadows. The sunflowers are in bloom and are just lovely.

arrowleaf balsomroot sunflower McClure Twisp WA

decorating the fence line

We finally got to the steeper slope and started going up. Thankfully we also finally reached some trees for a little shade. In these trees we saw our third group of deer for the day. They’re everywhere!

stand of trees McClure Twisp WA

I've been following this good looking dude for a while now...think he sees me?

We came to this cool little bench left by a passing glacier. We weren’t the first to find it – looks like an old homestead maybe? Ranch for cattle or sheep? Who knows.

old homestead cabin McClure Twisp WA

Found me a fixer-upper!

old homestead cabin on McClure Twisp WA

Sooo, come here often?

I poked around a bit then heard an odd noise after stepping over some boards….

rattlesnake McClure Twisp WA

Don't eat me! (I wonder if he was thinking the same thing...) At least Washington rattlers don't have the aggressive streak of their Texas cousins!

The climb was starting to get quite steep. J led the way, leisurely strolling up hill. I was somewhere down below him, clawing my way up, puffing, panting, and pouring sweat like a fat kid on the first day of summer camp. Nothing like a crazy steep slope to bring a kid out of hibernation. And I’m pretty sure J is at least half mountain goat.

steep slopes of McClure Methow Valley WA

J taking his time, slowing meandering along, enjoying the lovely day...

climbing uphill on McClure Twisp WA

...and here's me, huffing and puffing, trying to keep up, hoping I don't pass out from exhaustion and fall back down to the bottom...it was SO much steeper than this picture looks

The ground finally leveled out a bit as we found another bench. Oddly enough, we also found a second cabin. We wonder if maybe they were prospectors, hoping for gold. Alder Creek is just on the other side of McClure, where they had a nice size strike and built the Alder Creek Mine. Maybe I should move up here and be a gold miner….

falling down cabin McClure WA

melting back into nature

One last push and we found the road. There are several communications towers on the peak and this is the access road. No more bush-whacking, which my feet and legs were very glad for. And we’re high enough now for the views to be pretty incredible. We’ve gained massive elevation super quick.

Methow Valley from above McClure WA


Then we get to this clear open meadow and I see it: our house!

down the valley Methow River from McClure WA

the red circle - I CAN SEE MY HOUSE FROM HERE!

The breeze is getting chilly, I find a few pathetic patches of snow, and I finally get what I’m after: I reach the peak. I have finally stood on top of Mount McClure and looked out over the Methow Valley. Despite staring at McClure daily, I forget the obvious – there’s a whole mountain range right on the other side. J can even identify most of them for me and point out where I’ve already been. This is my freaking backyard.

view of Methow Valley from McClure, WA

I made it! This is looking north, with the Methow Valley in the bottom, the Pasayten straight back, and the Chelan-Sawtooths to the left. Holy mountains, Batman!

Chelan-Sawtooths, Pasayten and Methow Valley from McClure WA

Show me something better than this.

birds eye view Twisp WA

Tucked down in the very bottom - that's Twisp!

The walk down was a new brand of brutal. Some issues with my feet caused quite a bit of swelling and pain. Thankfully, we took the road the whole way down instead of bombing straight downhill. I could just plod along and enjoy the gorgeous scenery.

road sun and hill side of McClure WA

cruising on down

There you have it – I climbed a mountain, bottom to top and back again!  J estimated that we covered approximately 6 miles round trip. No, that’s not that far, until you consider that we went straight up for an elevation gain of about 3000ft. It took us 3.5 hours to make it to the summit and another 2.5 hours to walk in our back door. Such an amazing mountain that so few get to see like this. What a great kick-in-the-pants hike to start the season out right!

And this is just the kind of heart-to-heart McClure and I needed. I have a new perspective and a new respect for the old hunk of rock, and hopefully he knows I mean business and won’t put up with his attitude.

Oh, and then I went from mountain to hot date in 40 minutes flat – including a shower! J took me to dinner where we also caught a little live music. We’ll just pretend I didn’t sleep the whole 20 minute ride home…





Give it to me straight -

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