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Last week the dogs and I joined Lindsey and two of her dogs for a hike from her place in Smith Canyon up to Lookout Mountain. Before we left her husband asked if we were going straight up and she said no. That’s a good thing.

She said the whole hike should take about five hours. It is four miles and nearly 3000 feet elevation gain. It took us 5 hours and 45 minutes. I am slow. There is an easier way to get to Lookout Mountain. You can drive most of the way to a trailhead and then walk maybe a mile on a steep trail but we wanted to do the whole thing and I’m glad we did.

Smith Canyon is an oasis of green right now with lots of spring growth. At the bottom, balsamroot is in full bloom. In the canyon, maples and serviceberry and other shrubs are abundant under big pines and douglas fir trees. At the top of the canyon we reached Alder Pass and the road to the trailhead. Lindsey told me that this route is the OLD Twisp Carlton Road, before there was a bridge at Carlton. People would drive up Libby Creek to Smith Canyon and then to Alder Pass and down Alder Creek to get between Carlton and Twisp. What a difference from today’s Twisp Carlton Road that follows the meandering Methow River.

We walked about a mile on the dirt road to the trailhead and then the last stretch to the mountain top. It was a rewarding hike with great views of much of the Methow Valley. It would have been an interesting spot to watch last summer’s fires unfold. Unfortunately the sky was a hazy white that only got worse with a prescribed burn near Mazama.

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