Monday, August 8 – Tuesday, August 9, 2022
I lucked into beautiful weather when staying at the North Mountain Lookout near Darrington, Washington.
Back in 2015 I heard about a group who was restoring the North Mountain Lookout. They were accepting donations through Paypal so I made a donation. A few months later in March 2016 I learned they were doing an Indiegogo fundraiser so I donated to that too. The following month the fundraising campaign ended and I got an email stating that they didn’t raise as much as they hoped, but at least it was something.
Then I didn’t hear anything more after that. No updates were sent to the Indiegogo donors on the progress of the restoration. At some point I stumbled on the Friends of North Mountain Facebook page, and I was able to keep up with their progress.
When the lookout became a rental in 2021 it was listed on Airbnb instead of Recreation.gov. Summer 2022 dates opened up in back in February and the weekends were snapped up very fast, but I managed to snag a Monday night in August. After fees and taxes it came out to $247/night. Definitely a splurge for me!
I picked up the key at Moe’s in Darrington then drove up the mountain. The total drive to the top is 13.2 miles, and there’s a gate at 11.9 miles, which I opened with the key, then drove on through:
There’s a picnic table behind the tower with a view of Mt. Baker:
Lots of people hike or bike up to see the lookout so they provide a sign for renters to use:
The interior looks fantastic. The volunteers did such a good job restoring this place. There is a bed, table and chairs, and a counter/cabinet full of supplies that I didn’t use. They also provide a camping cookstove:
Almost as soon as I arrived I realized I would not get to enjoy a peaceful afternoon. Military planes on training flights flew close by – and sometimes directly over – the lookout. The noise was absolutely deafening:
I was lucky to have a clear sunny day with fantastic views. Mt. Baker:
Snowy Mt. Shuksan behind and Sauk Mountain in front:
The jagged peaks of the North Cascades:
Illabot Peaks at center and Eldorado Peak at far right:
White Chuck Mountain, Mt. Pugh, and Sloan Peak:
Jumbo Mountain is the prominent peak at far right:
Southern view with Jumbo Mountain at center and Whitehorse Mountain at far right:
In-between the loud flyovers I enjoyed a leisurely afternoon reading my book. I made dinner, drank some wine, and watched the sun disappear to the west:
Jumbo Mountain and Whitehorse Mountain:
I got up very early the next morning after the moon had set to check out the stars. This area is not without light pollution, but the star show was still amazing:
I accidentally slept through sunrise, dang it! This was taken a little after:
Tuesday morning was much cloudier than the previous day, although I could still see most of the mountains:
I spent the morning drinking tea, admiring the view, and reading my book before packing up and heading into Darrington to return the key. Beautiful spot up here! I’m glad I had the opportunity to stay here.