Labor Day 2022 – Chewuch River and Goat Peak Lookout

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For the longer weekends, we try to head further to discover and enjoy areas new to us. We had plans to backpack up the Chewuch River in October, so we decided to do some exploring of this less-used and comparatively remote area well north of Winthrop, Washington.

Our plans were to relax as much as possible. Before the trip, I studied the forest roads and satellite images above the Chewuch area and identified a few candidate spots to scout out and claim for the long weekend. We were heading out on Friday afternoon, so with limited daylight, it was helpful to have a good idea of some spots to make a beeline to and not spend too long wandering around.

We were surprised there were so few people once we got about 10 miles north of Winthrop. We passed several areas already teeming with campers and families. Fortunately, they thinned out dramatically as we headed further north. Within a decade-old burn area, we spied an abandoned forest road that meandered through the open undergrowth and ended in a perfect spot just above the river. We set up our big tent, tables, hammocks, and were elated that we scored such an excellent spot with sandy beachfront access to the winding Chewuch.

2022 was drier-than-normal for most of Washington, and all campfires had been banned since early in the summer and the ban justifiably had not been rescinded by Labor Day. No matter, it was quite warm even in the shade by the river, so we were content not to have one.

Not much else to say other than we had a perfect time, alternating between time spent in the creek and in our hammocks above the river. We had many spells throwing the disc on the river for Baker, who tirelessly chased it down as it floated away, though one time it did get away from him and we all frantically tried to navigate the slippery river stones to get to it. Becka made the best effort toward it, but only until we were able to get Baker into position to see it were we able to save it from being lost. I know, super stressful time, eh?

Once familiar with the social trails around camp, Boomer was able to navigate between the hammocks, camp, and the river.

We took some time to explore the area the other spots I researched, because they were further north and closer to the trailhead for our trip in October. We also ran into town to refresh the ice and grab some ice cream.

On our way out of the area, we headed up the long, long forest road to tag Goat Peak Lookout. It’s a short but steep, rugged, trail, and difficult for Boomer to navigate, but he was able to do most of it on his own, though Becka carried him on the way down as it’s far more dangerous for him heading down with his lack of decent eyesight. The lookout is usually manned, private, and inaccessible, though we didn’t see anyone up there.

Goat Peak Lookout

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