Alpine Pursuit                                        

A few years ago, I started reading The Alpine Mystery series by a local Seattle author, Mary Daheim.  Her stories, set in the mythical town of Alpine, Washington have kept me in touch with God's Country.  About a year ago, I became interested when Mary Daheim mentioned in one of her books that there really was an Alpine, Washington.  Here is her description of Alpine: Alpine is a small logging community off Highway 2, eight miles west of Stevens Pass in the Cascades.  It is also a mile from the highway, which means the only access is by train or, for the very hardy, hiking a mile uphill, usually in snow.  The town is on the old Great Northern train route (now the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe) and there are still two cornerstones from old buildings.  The only buildings in Alpine at the turn of the century were the mill and the social hall.  Houses weren't much more than shacks.

My brother Bill and I decided to try and find Alpine and the pot of gold that is surely buried at one of the old cornerstones.  We thought we might start our search in the community of Skykomish, Washington which is about 20 miles from the Stevens Summit.  Ginny Mitchell boldly accompanied us on our search.

       
We started our journey at the bowling alley with a huge breakfast.  Ginny and Bill appear to be satiated.

 

        
        

I love the drive on Highway 2 from Everett to Stevens Pass.  It is a scenic drive with lots of farms and small towns (like Startup, Gold Bar, and Index).  The Cascades are an enigma that beckon to us through the windshield. And there's always a river to cross..................

        
The Skykomish River is a great place to loiter.  If you look real hard near the end of the guard rail, you will see a guy who was loitering with us.  Ginny posed in front of an old hotel that is being refurbished in Skykomish.

        
Ginny attracts animals and insects of all kinds - Way to go Ginny!  It was Ginny's idea to stop at the Cascadia Inn where we met a young man who became interested in our quest.  He went up to his room and got an old book on the history of Great Northern Railway where he found some interesting references to Alpine.  He sent us down to the Whistling Post to talk with one of the "old timers".  We talked with a little old lady at the Whistling Post who pulled a Skykomish history book out of thin air and found a map of Alpine..........we're getting close now.

     
On the way out of Skykomish, we couldn't resist playing on the choo choo train.

 

        
These pictures are for my good friend, Marsha Pennington, who has read every Alpine mystery book Daheim has written.  She, too, has become interested in finding the mythical town of Alpine.  So, Marsha, these pictures are for you.  They were taken at the turn off (first right) past the Deception Falls parking area.  From the map we saw at the Whistling Post, we discerned that we could hike the tracks for about 3 miles to get to Alpine.  Apparently, the Great Northern runs through the middle of the town.  Discretion being the better part of valor, we decided to see if there might be a more direct (and safer) route.  Marsha, if you visit the Ranger Station just east of Skykomish, you might be able to get a topographic map and directions for hiking up to Alpine.
        
The pictures above were all taken near the turn off at Deception Falls.  I'm not sure, but the river might be the Tye which flows into the Skykomish and is mentioned often in Daheim's books.

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