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Duchess

Marblemount

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Has anyone spent much time living/working in the Marblemount/Newhalem area? How is the outlook for skiing in this area? How about mtn biking? Any opinions about the area at all? Thanks for anything!

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I spent one season living in Concrete. Since WA 20 closes in the winter, Marblemount is very very quiet in the winter.

 

If you want lift-served skiing you have to head back out to I-5 and up to Mt Baker. If you want backcountry, the outlook is very good if you are willing to suck up and do approaches from the valley bottoms in winter.

 

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It would be a great place if you like rain.

 

Great access to Cascade River Road and WA Pass and the Methow in the summer.

 

Epic skiing if you're prepared for the approaches.

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I spent two summers in Marblemount/Newhalem while my wife worked for NOCA. My perspective is obviously skewed since winter in Marblemount is much different than summer. In the summer you have all of the seasonal park employees, most of whom are there to enjoy the mountains and rivers. Almost everyone in Marblemount and Newhalem works for the Park or for Seattle City Light (operating the dams). Apparently there has been a history of tension between the dam and park workers but supposedly this is on the decline. If you enjoy socializing you do not have many options. The people who work for the park are great but for many their employment is seasonal (as is their residence). Aside from the park employees you can also head into "downtown" Marblemount and join the ongoing discussion about taxes and why Seattle sucks. If downtown isn't your scene try heading up some of the spur roads off of Cascade River Road and check out the meth community. They're mostly into postmodern literary criticism.

 

All kidding aside, I loved spending the summers up there. The "Skag" is a beautiful river valley with an obscene amount of recreational opportunities. The North Cascades are literally your back yard. I'm not into mountain biking but I can imagine you would have plenty of opportunities. There is an active skiing community for those who live there year-round, but I can't speak to any specifics.

 

Concrete (~20 minutes from Marblemount) has a small library and the closest thing that resembles a grocery store (Red Apple). Beyond that you have to drive to Sedro-Wolley or Burlington (45 minutes to an hour from Marblemount). If you have school-age children Concrete has the only school. Cascadia Farms, just west of Marblemount, has decent espresso. If you are a coffee snob (like me) then go to Late Da in Sedro or Grand Prix in Burlington (free wireless!).

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Jopa,

Enchanting commentary; I'm so glad to hear that the past 35 years haven't 'spoiled' the area other than the meth heads. Always liked it up there; I'm in SoCal now :-(. Since the Apocalypse is just around the corner I might just fire up the Gran Torino and head for Marblemount; could probably get 20 acres up there for what my garage will go for here. Sounds like I'd better throw an espresso machine in the Torino's back seat though.

 

Reilly

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Typically, this time of year the Cascade River Road may be plowed to the 'Cascade River Park' development at about the four mile point. Not certain if anyone lives (at least on a permanent basis) further up the road than this. The road up to the North Cascade Park boundry (approx. 18 mile point) is maintained by Skagit County.

 

Some years the road is fairly passible to the NOCA NPS road gate (at about the twenty mile point) located at the gravel pit parking area adjacent to the start of the path between Roush and Eldorado Creeks which leads up towards Eldorado and environs. I bet right now it's not very driveable even with 4WD. Bring skis.

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I worked for Baker River IHC for several seasons. There is a guard station that is inhabited year round, its a bit shy of Baker Lake, but I know its drivable in all but the worst (or best!) of conditions.

 

There are private residences almost to the county line (Skagit/Whatcom) and I know a few of the locals push out the road a bit with blades attached to their pickups.

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