The Winchester Mountain Fire Lookout is one of the few remaining lookouts in the North Cascades. It is maintained by the Mount Baker Club. It is open to anyone, to visit or spend the night.
The plan was to head up to the Lookout early (its first come first serve, for the night!) and await the night sky. Last night was the New Moon and its prime time for seeing the Milky Way.
The late morning sky was clear, and the air crisp. Despite being late august there are still an impressive display of wildflowers on the way up. 2 miles and 1,300 feet get you to the Winchester Mountain Fire Lookout.
Clear skies are forecast and as the day rolls on only a few small clouds scuttle across the sky. This makes for a rather uneventful sunset, but as the twilight settles we know the skies will be perfect. Somehow we managed to nap for a bit and headed out around 11:30.
Having done this sort of thing before, I brought along a cool flash light that I could leave on the floor of the lookout. To the naked eye it only cast a faint light, but during a 30 second exposure, the inside was lit wonderfully.
The stars blazed above, the strip of the Milky Way rising almost straight above the Lookout. We oohed and awed while we got a few images, then moved to the other side for a different angle. Now I was pointing the camera in the general direction of NNE, towards the lookout.
To my eye, there was absolutely NO color on the horizon. It was just a dark sky. So, it was quite a surprise when this image popped up!
Sunrise brought a fresh new look to everything…
What a wonderful place, I can’t wait to return!
Here is information about Night Sky Photo Tours.