11 May Mt Erie, Anacortes, Washington
Mt Erie may often go overlooked as a destination to seek out when there are so many options to be found in this part of northwest Washington. Nearby is Deception Pass, probably one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Washington and of course the San Juan Islands beckon from the ferry just up the road. But if you are looking for a good day hike from the bottom to the top or just want to take the convenient road to the summit what you will find is a view that will surprise you. The panorama thats stretches out before your eyes will momentarily evoke a double take because of how much your brain must process. It almost feels like you are in a tower the drop is so steep looking out over the view towards Mt Rainer to the south. I had a preconceived notion before the day began regarding this trip. I had read the literature and that had piqued my curiosity but frankly I wasn’t expecting much. But I am happy to say this trip is totally worth the time and effort.
At 1,273 ft Mt Erie is the highest point on Fidalgo Island which is also home to the port city of Anacortes. When you arrive at the top after a surprisingly long climb on this twisting ascent you are much higher up than what you were expecting. Much higher and this is accentuated by the step drop on all sides.
The view to the west is the white capped Olympic Range feeling ever so much closer at this altitude. And to the south the sound and far off i the distance Mt Rainier. To the east the Cascade range and most assuredly Mt Baker sparkles in the afternoon sun. On this spring day the generous parking lot at the summit was near overflowing and people were scattered about at the various overlooks and trails. Mt Erie is also a popular destination for rock climbers, from beginning top rope routes to multi-pitch sport routes. The American Alpine Institute regularly uses the area to teach all of their introductory rock programs here. We found group of climbers eating a leisurely lunch and enjoying a friendly camaraderie and I couldn’t help but admire them for their courage and of course all their esoteric fascinating gear. So do bring a lunch as this is a fabulous place for a picnic and sit and enjoy the sun and an unparalleled Birdseye view that is hypnotic and almost impossible to tear your eyes from.