It was time to return to Loowit. With summer getting into full swing, I was anxious to explore Windy Ridge Rd, which I had worked my way up to the end of on my last hike, where I explored the Pumice Plain and Sasquatch Steps, having ascended the toe of Windy Ridge along the access road/trail to a height where I thought the winds might very well blow me off the mountain.
The weather was as bluebird on this day as it was grey that day. Windy Ridge Road was still closed, the USFS in no hurry to open it up while they rebuild the scientists' access road to Spirit Lake. They tell you the road is slumping in places, and dangerous. I argue otherwise, but am thankful for opportunities to bicycle closed mountain roads.
I parked at the Bear Meadows lot, and biked my way in to the Windy Ridge viewpoint, and beyond, to where I encountered the road-builders scraping a new roadbed out of the pumice and creating a massive plume of dust. I enjoyed watching the road-grader at work, while a ranger in a FS truck drove forwards and backwards across the worksite. I think he just liked the sound of his back-up alarm. He was accomplishing nothing but raising dust.
Along the way, I explored the Miner's Car and Meta Lake, biked up to the Norway Pass trail head (where I encountered a trail crew setting out, causing me to change my original plans of a Norway Pass hike), and all the little pullouts along the road. On the way back, I hiked down to Spirit Lake along the Harmony Falls trail. This is the only access to Spirit Lake for anyone but scientists and engineers. The Harmony Falls trail is rather boring until you get down to the bottom, but what a place it takes you!
I struggled with a leaking tire the whole way, but it never did go completely flat, and I had an exhilarating time in any case.
31.5 miles biked and hiked, with 3885′ elev. gain over 5:15 hrs.
Images taken July 24, 2017 along Windy Ridge Road, Windy Ridge Viewpoint Trail and Harmony Falls Trail, MSHNVM.