Helping reduce the isolation of Darrington following the tragic slide on SR 530 east of Oso, the road out to Granite Falls via Barlow Pass and down to Silverton was repaired and plowed this week. It provides a slow, rough, alternative route not suitable for freight or large vehicles. Prior to that the only access into and out of the town was east on SR 20 through Skagit County to Rockport, then south on 530.

As most of us well know, driving the unpaved one lane with turnouts portion of the Mountain Loop between the Whitechuck River and Barlow Pass requires headlights, slow speed, and close attention to poor sight lines. We heard one Seattle radio reporter refer to it as “scary.” So, be aware that some drivers will be experiencing unfamiliar conditions as well as a new route.

Winter road damage has been minor, save for repairs to the clay slump just north of Bedal close to the intersection with Forest Service Road #49 up the North Fork Sauk River. Be alert to clay spots, tumbling debris, and rough, muddy sections, especially as we still are in the very early spring rainy season. Snowy periods are possible for the next month as well, often in the steep last mile from the Mowich bridge to Barlow Pass. Barlow ‘s elevation is 2360’.

No time frame has been given for the reopening of SR 530 through the slide area. Given its scope, depth, and recovery issues, it may not be soon.

Our thoughts, best wishes, and support go out to all those involved with the disaster. It has been a hard time.